Wednesday, December 18, 2013

France Camp Album Release Show @ 7th Street Entry

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Check out some photos I shot at the France Camp Album Release Show @ 7th Street Entry, on Flickr. I recently got my first "real" camera, a Nikon D3200, so I had fun taking some amateur shots of the show. Supporting France Camp were Frankie Teardrop, Hollow Boys, and Teenage Moods! To read my review for Radio K click here.

Until next time,

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Chance the Rapper @ The Riviera Theatre November 29th, 2013

I cannot even remember the last time I went to an "all ages" show. I suppose Lollapalooza is technically all ages, but music festivals are very different from evening shows in Chicago. To my surprise, the youngsters were on their best behavior for Chance the Rapper at one of his last performances on his Social Experiment Tour. I even saw someone who looked to be well over 21 years old pass out behind me. In short, never judge a show by its type of age restriction. This show was also an opportunity in which I had the honor of taking my younger cousin to. It was his very first show, and for just fifteen years old, he is very mature for his age. I hope, for him, this show was the first of many to come.

Chance demonstrated his unique style of rapping and performed many songs off of his latest mix tape, Acid Rap, which he digitally released on for free this past April. Typically, I get quite bored at rap shows because of the usual lack of live music. However, the addition of a full backing band enhanced the performance tremendously. The horn section blew me away (no pun intended), and the music, as a whole, felt so much more three dimensional than a prerecorded track in the background. His family was seated in the right side balcony, and seemed to be proudly enjoying the second homecoming show.

If anyone had, in fact, taken some acid for this show, they would probably have been absolutely stunned by the graphics on the screen behind the stage. From psychedelic, rainbow fractals to hilarious Internet memes of Bill Cosby, the imagery was incredibly entertaining. The visual stimulation was not just limited to the screen, however. Multi-colored streamers, jets of smoke, and strobe lights added to the experience, or should I say experiment, at the Riviera that night. My only complaint of the night was the poor visibility of the stage. I found it very difficult to get a view of the performers because of the sheer amount of people at the show, which was completely sold out.

Chance the Rapper and his band were paired with visual graphics and effects.

Chance's gratefulness for his support and his fantastic start to a career was completely genuine, as he thanked everyone at the end of his set. After all, he was in his hometown, performing for a crowd who likely supports him the most. It was a night that was truly special to have been a part of.

Until next time,

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Interview with France Camp for Radio K

Last week, I interviewed local Minneapolis band, France Camp. I met up with the four at The Belmore / New Skyway Lounge as they sound checked for their gig for an art showcase later that night. We talked about some exclusive new projects on the way, dropping laptops in the toilet, and the Scandinavian psychedelic rock scene.

Photo courtesy of Bridget Bennett

It was just a day before their appearance for their record label's (Forged Artifacts, Minneapolis) showcase, which took place on November 23rd, 2013. I conducted this interview for Radio K (KUOM), my college's radio station, which I volunteer for. I collaborated with my colleagues, Bridget Bennett, who took some whimsical photos of the band, and Jerod Greenisen, who edited my interview. You can click here to view it on Radio K's website:!

Review for Radio K on the Forged Artifacts Showcase

Click here for the review I wrote on the Forged Artifacts Showcase! It is now up on!

Jared Carrigan of Holographic Sands surfs the crowd as France Camp plays their set later in the evening!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Interview with Holographic Sands for Radio K

About a week ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing local Minneapolis band, Holographic Sands. I met up with them in the basement of, guitarist, Tyler Losinski's parents' house for a practice. They had found themselves between practice spaces, but did not let it get in the way of perfecting their set for their upcoming show. We had some fun playing around with some household objects and talking about new merch ideas.

Photo courtesy of Bridget Bennett

It was just a few days before their appearance for their record label's (Forged Artifacts, Minneapolis) showcase, which took place on November 23rd, 2013. I conducted this interview for Radio K (KUOM), my college's radio station, which I volunteer for. I collaborated with my colleagues, Bridget Bennett, who took some whimsical photos of the band, and Jerod Greenisen, who edited my interview. You can click here to view it on Radio K's website:!

Coming up soon: You can expect to see an interview I had with fellow Forged Artifacts band, France Camp, and also a review of the Forged Artifacts showcase!

Until next time,

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mazzy Star @ Mills City Nights November, 12th 2013


"Who even is Mazzy Star?" most young people would ask, today. To answer this question: Mazzy Star is an alternative rock band with shoegaze and psychedelic influences whose popularity peaked around the late 1980s and 1990s. Their time in the spotlight was far before the existence of any current 20-something. With that said, I felt like a six year old in the audience, whose average age must have been somewhere between thirty and forty. I had known about the group for quite awhile. Tracks like, "Fade Into You" and "Into Dust" off of their 1993 sophomore album, So Tonight That I Might See, were more than familiar to me. The two tracks have often been used in movies and television, so if someone who had never previously heard of the band were to listen to one of these songs, they would probably recognize them.

 Stage Set up and Crowd for Mazzy Star @ Mill City Nights

My decision to attend the event was a bit last minute; my roommate gave me the two tickets after telling me that a promoter had given them to her free of charge while she was at work in a local coffee shop. I unfortunately missed the openers, DJ Jake Rudh and Psychic Ills, however, I can attest that Psychic Ills, a very experimental psychedelic rock band, would have complemented Mazzy Star quite nicely.

The group played material from their newest album, Seasons of Your Day, but did not hesitate to dive back into older material from their previous three albums. The crowd cheered happily for fan favorites, "Fade Into You" and "Into Dust'. Hope Sandoval, lead vocalist of the group, had one of the most ethereal voices I had ever heard. Her gorgeous croons were breathy, yet very controlled. Having a history of not interacting much with the audience, it was not surprising that she only said a few soft "thank you"s after select songs. She seemed to be either queueing up sounds or performing some other kind of operation on a digital tablet set up in front of her.

There was a sign on the venue that asked for no photography. This made sense as the stage was very darkly lit, evoking a dreamy, chill mood recycled from the nineties. A projector played an eriee, psychedelic stream of images throughout the show onto a white backdrop. Some of the moving images were colorful, and some seemed to be mimicking vintage photography, both of which suited the mood.

Dimly Lit Stage for Mazzy Star @ Mill City Nights

There were five to six performers total that night, and they all rotated in and out of the mix depending on which songs they played. The guitarist, David Roback, who was part of the original Mazzy Star duo with Sandoval, played beautiful acoustic melodies and steel guitar licks. The other members, many of whom seemed to be multi-instrumentalists, played bass, drums, keyboard, violin, and pedal steel guitar. They rotated their instruments often between songs, while music with strange, simple melodies and odd sound effects filled these gaps.

They returned to play a few songs for an encore at the end of the night. By the end of the performance I felt calm and very much at ease. The soothing waves of music washed away any bit of anxiety I had earlier in the night. I feel lucky to have seen this group; it was almost like taking a time machine back to 1993, before I was even born, and hearing alternative music at its finest.

I probably would have seen many of the older fans in that crowd in back in time. Now that I think about it, I have been finding myself in this older crowd more and more frequently. I experienced a similar age gap when I saw Black Rebel Motorcycle Club last spring at First Avenue. I suppose that if I continue to explore older music, I will undoubtedly find myself amongst original fans at performances. I guess I'm just an old soul.

Until next time,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fun Fun Fun Fest (Friday)

It think it would be fair to say that I have been to a wide variety of music festivals. As a Chicago native, I've frequented Lollapalooza throughout the years, as well as Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park. I've made the long journey down to Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. Yes, I've even wandered my way through electronic and rap oriented fests like Ultra Music Festival in Miami and North Coast Music Festival, also in Chicago. With that said, I have observed quite a few trends amongst these modern music festivals:
  1. There are always the very drunk under aged kids who don't quite understand common decency and find it acceptable to be intoxicated beyond control at a show. 
  2. There are the bigger-than-anything festival elites that seem to surf along the headliner spots from festival to festival all summer long.
  3. There is the merch and below average food, all laughably overpriced.
The list goes on...

However, I attended Friday of Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013, and I can confidently say that this festival defied all these stereotypes. Located at Auditorium Shores in Austin, Texas, Fun Fun Fun Fest was one of the most progressive music festivals I have ever attended. The typical crazy, drug-riddled teens were replaced with very chill, behaved, and less scantily clad music fans. The line-up was very unique and versatile, featuring artists across genres from rap and electronic to indie and metal. The festival also had comedians, a small skate park, and even a food truck area (which had a pretty good line-up itself). Overall, I actually found myself enjoying being in the presence of others while watching some of my favorite artists.

Johnny Marr @ Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013 (Friday)

Johnny Marr took the stage a bit after four o'clock on Friday. He was a bit late starting the set if I remember correctly. Being an influential leader of The Smiths and also having worked with many other bands, such as Modest Mouse, Marr impressed many. The set consisted of many songs off his new album, The Messenger, along with a few covers. A highlight was Marr's "cover" of "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" by The Smiths (which he co-wrote with Morrissey). The guitars were groovy, and the covers quite nostalgic. If there is one real rock star left in the world, it would definitely be Johnny.

Kurt Vile and the Violators @ Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013 (Friday)

Kurt Vile and the Violators were next up on the Orange Stage, that Friday. Kurt Vile, also someone with a history of involvement in a few different bands, began the set as the sky began to darken. The darker skies complimented the mellow sounds and introspective lyrics of the songs off of their new album, Wakin On A Pretty Daze. Vile's relaxed singing and intricate guitar melodies proved to be very lovely on stage.

Thee Oh Sees @ Fun Fun Fun Fest 2013 (Friday)

Another favorite of the day were the San Franciscan garage rockers, Thee Oh Sees. Their set began a bit after Kurt Vile's on the black stage, this time. Thee Oh Sees consist of a creative mix of garage, psychedelic, and punk rock influences. Their energetic set sent the crowd wild, as many fans were seen crowd surfing in the front. Even Mac DeMarco, who played the fest earlier that day, stage dove into the sea of fans according to the festival's twitter account:

Photo: Mac DeMarco stage diving during Thee Oh Sees' set. Photo by @PoonehGhana — funfunfunfest (@funfunfunfest) November 9, 2013

Fun Fun Fun Fest, please continue your valiant efforts towards curating great festivals. Hopefully, in the future I'll be able to attend all four days and some of the fun "Nites," which were the fest's sponsored after shows with free admission for those with festival passes. 

Until next time,