Andrew McMahon

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Last November, the good people of UW-Madison put on another edition of Madison Pop Festival with the likes of Bon Iver, Malajube and Murder By Death. I was there as a student and organizer, enjoying everything that I thought the Madison music scene could offer. Well, post-graduation we figured there had to be a way to get more involved...
Everyone who has ever played a song on the guitar has probably played a Weezer song at some point in their life. With their easy to learn power chords and sing along choruses, there is not much stopping one from the tempting power of captivating the entire room with a break out session of "Say It Ain't So." Some...
With the abundance of larger festivals, one of the overlooked niches of the scene these days are the abundance of city street festivals. So far this summer, one of the best of these fests is San Diego's Street Scene. In its 24th year, Street Scene pulls in some serious heavy hitters that are not gracing the stages of Bonnaroo,...
While we just posted the recently released schedule for Lollapalooza, there is more news coming out of Perry Farrell's office. I can just see him now -- writing emails, looking at balance sheets, calling meetings in the boardroom all while wearing a very tight, sequined suit. All kidding aside, the festival has announced some officially supported late night shows. The...
Posting a Bonnaroo preview is a daunting task. Six years ago when I attended it was arduous to see all the bands I was sweet on and now there are triple the number of acts. I can't imagine trying to see anywhere near half of the bands listed on the line-up, but for those of you who are going,...
A few days back Sam wrote up a post on the pro's -- and some con's -- of living in NYC during the summer. The highlight obviously was the abundance of free concerts throughout the lazy days of June, July and August. Though Chicago is known more for its abundance of neighborhood festivals than free concert series, Pitchfork and...
The remix, break-beat rock 'n roll masters Ratatat announced a small summer tour in support of their new album LP3, which is set to release July 8th through XL Recordings. I've always really dug the band's ability to reinvent their sound in small ways from one album to the next, and this seems to be the case with LP3....
Two Friday's ago, Pnuma Trio played The Lakeshore Theater here in Chicago and the superb Eliot Lipp opened the show for the Memphis based trio. The show was really, really solid with an awesome opening set from the down tempo/hip-hop guru Eliot Lipp. This was my first time seeing Pnuma so I won't make any claims on the quality...
Though less than half of the year has passed, I can say that The Helio Sequence's Keep Your Eyes Ahead will most likely be one of my favorite albums of the year. I wasn't too familiar with the band prior to this LP but this record definitely made me take notice of the band as a really strong rock...
Rarely do you get to see an artist who is perched on the brink of stardom. Two Fridays ago, I think I caught M.I.A. at this point of her career. All of the "cool" high-schoolers were dolled up and ready to go, and there were a lot of them (as there were plenty of us old folks, or at...
After dropping their third LP, Made in the Dark, this past February, putting out two of the best videos I've seen in years ("Ready for the Floor" & "One Pure Thought") and cruising through a sold out U.S. tour, Hot Chip is coming back state-side this fall for another round of dates. All I can say is...oh yeah! Unfortunately, I...
Last Wednesday night the Abbey Pub packed the house with eager and energetic fans ready for one thing and one thing only: a dance party. While I cannot be absolutely sure, the crowd was there heavily to see Cut Copy though I am sure now I was in this crowd to see Cut Copy. The new album, In Ghost...
A week ago Monday, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jared Bell of Lymbyc Systym before their show at the Empty Bottle here in Chicago. Jared is the keyboardist in the Austin/Phoenix duo that is breaking molds of what an instrumental pair can do both in the studio and on stage. His ability to fill the room...
The Black Keys are stopping in on the 9:30 Club tonight in Washington, DC and luckily for all of us we can enjoy the show with those who are actually there. NPR Music will be broadcasting the show will the help of Bob Boilen and All Song's Considered. If you check in with the site around 10pm EST the...
Back a few months, LMB went to the Chicago Music Commision's meeting to discover whether or not this city is a music city. The study found that Chicago is a music city in hiding and that no one is really championing the music scene besides those directly involved. I left the meeting enthusiastic about the grass roots movement that...
Poster by Nemo Design I was a bit skeptical heading into the Metro last night to see Tokyo Police Club. The show wasn't sold out, so I didn't think the room would be full. The band has toured consistently since forming in 2005 with a few breaks to record a couple of EP's and their debut LP, so I thought...
One the most ineffable characters in music just announced a short summer tour with a "press conference" that is actually quite funny and was probably not attended by Fox News. According to the Anti-Records website, "Tom has just one word for you to know about his upcoming Glitter and Doom summer tour: PEHDTSCHJMBA." Check the video out below and...
Last Tuesday, backpack hip-hop duo Atmosphere kicked off their tour in support of When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint that Shit Gold. The album dropped the same day that producer Anthony "Ant" Davis and MC Sean "Slug" Daley rolled into Chicago. An apt city for the group to start a tour, the Midwest seems to plays a huge...
As a DC native it's always nice to see bands from the nation's capital making news. The internationally renowned Thievery Corporation is the musical venture of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, born out of the creative incubator that is the Eighteenth Street Lounge (my all-time favorite bar). The Thievery Corporation will set out on a six-date tour this summer, hitting...
Photo by Simon Tacchi A few years back, I was lucky to have been present more than a handful of times at the Cantab Lounge's Bluegrass Pickin' Party in Cambridge, MA. The weekly jam session featured some really solid musicians from the Berklee School of Music, one of which was my good friend Chris Pandolfi. Chris now holds down the...
The other weekend was definitely a "Georgia" themed few days; I watched almost the entirety of the Masters and caught the final night of Widespread Panic's three night run at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago. The only things missing were my crokies, short khaki shorts and a college hat. All kidding aside, I was pleasantly surprised by a band...
MMJ is returning to the Red Rocks Amphitheater this summer and they're bringing The Black Keys with them in what should be an amazing experience. I saw them open for Dylan at Red Rocks the last time they ran through Colorado, and even though they were limited to the 35 or so minutes that opening for Dylan affords you,...
In a piece we posted last week about the live music community's activism and charity, we mentioned the non-partisan not-for-profit, HeadCount, that works to register new voters and educate live music fans about the importance of voting. The organization, in collaboration with Concerts4Charity, Inc., has released a documentary on iClips framing HeadCount's rise out of the live music scene...
For many of the touring bands that we cover here at Live Music Blog, the fan base is more of a community of people rather than a collection of individuals simply having an interest in common. It was extremely evident this weekend when we posted a commemoration of Phish’s Island Tour. Communities celebrate together; they also lend hands to...
Dirty Projectors When a band can leave all of its pretentiousness aside and play a really humble show, it pulls down a wall between the crowd and the band. When two bands do it in the same night, you know you've seen a really good concert. I was lucky to see this happen from both The Dirty Projectors and the...
Known to throw together a festival and/or tour with the Disco Biscuits, Umphrey's McGee is joining another heavy hitter this summer on a dual bill. STS9 will be teaming up with Chicago's prog-rock jamband for 16 dates in the midwest and along the east coast throughout the month of July. The bands will be trading headlining duties in...
Team Band - Team Band Anthem (Live) Seeing a Team Band show is a participatory experience that is both a pep rally and a book club discussion. It’s as if Team Band is the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew, forever trapped in the blogosphere and doomed to watch YouTube clips of emerging artists in the blog-rock scene while...
I am always hesitant to venture out to those medium-size concert venues with a bar in the back -- like Metro, Aragon, Riv, Vic, etc. -- while in Chicago, if only because it seems like a production to me. There are always too many lights, too many drunken yuppies and never enough love circulating. I like getting my ears...
The Baltimore-based Starscape Festival has announced its preliminary list of artists for the annual all-night dance party, set for June 7th. As they did last year, the Disco Biscuits will be headlining the festival. After last year's throwdown, I think it's a very solid choice. Starscape is unlike most festivals for a number of reasons. The event breaks its stages...
In my mind, one of the best things about a live concert is the connection between the musicians and the fans that occurs through this medium. The crowd becomes a part of the equation by adding their own energy and anticipation to the music. This relationship can elevate the atmosphere to a level that, I feel, cannot be reached...
After a bit of a touring hiatus, the New Deal made their return to Chicago last Friday night. It had been almost two years since they played Chicago’s Logan Square Auditorium and the last time was a throw-down, from what I’ve heard. The last time I saw the New Deal was nearly three years ago at the Middle East...
Last night, My Morning Jacket opened up the Evil Urges vault on the lucky fans in Houston, playing the title track and "Aluminum Park" from their much-anticipated new album (Evil Urges - on ATO). It seems as though after a brief absence, the best live band on Earth(?) is returning with a full head of steam. In other MMJ news,...
Pitchfork Media announced the first round of artists for its Chicago-based music festival that takes place July 18th - 20th. Dubbed as an "annual right of indie passage," the Pitchfork Music Festival always brings some very solid independent music acts to the streets of Chicago. This year is no different with the festival serving up the Animal Collective, !!!...
Though all of us are not attending (myself included) said "indie-rocker wet dream of a music festival" some, all, or most of us here at LMB are going to let you know about some bands that are must sees, showcases to get yourself to, and pretty much how not blow the entire weekend in a sensory overload. I will do...
Two relatively new and definitely up-and-coming bands played Chicago’s Abbey Pub last Wednesday night to a raucous crowd. I was one of the lucky souls to have attended the musical mayhem that ranged from unrelenting noise-rock to poppy house. Los Angeles’ HEALTH worked the crowd first and was followed by the Toronto duo, Crystal Castles. The Abbey could...
I heard the Mannequin Men were a very drunk and very loud band that liked to drink and play their instruments loud. I also heard the band’s live show described as drunk and loud. For everyone who is as bored as I am with the obvious adjectives, here’s a new one: dynamic. The Mannequin Men are definitely brash and...
The rumors started flying a few weeks ago that Radiohead would be headlining Goldenvoice festival taking place right outside Manhattan. The tips turned out to be extremely true; Radiohead plans on turning the lights off for the All Points West Music & Arts Festival on both Friday and Saturday nights. After today's initial artist announcement, Jack Johnson will headline...
As with most of the music community, we here at LMB are anxiously waiting for the remainder of Radiohead's tour to be scheduled. Our own Whitperson showed that there are still a number of wonderful US cities that are still without confirmed dates, including Chicago (ahem, cough, cough...Lollapalooza). In order to hold you over until that day arrives, I...
STS9 blew into Chicago last Friday night on the tail of the city's biggest storm of the winter and at the end of their own tour that crossed northwestern two thirds of the country. Chicago was definitely the biggest media market hit on a two-month tour that was accompanied by some really nice opening acts and heavy late night...
Last Friday night I took a short walk down the street from my apartment to the cozy Lakeshore Theater so as to pay homage to one of the most amazing figures of my generation. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger raised me up from a young pup. A boy not aware of things like time-traveling robots, lethal game shows, or, as Jimmy...
The three Chicagoans that make up Dianogah were joined onstage by their wives for the opening song, making up a brass and woodwinds section and exemplifying both Dianogah’s new approach at the studio and their direction as a band. Working with John McEntire at Soma allowed the band to bring in many textures, get it all on tape, and then...
On Thursday night I found myself sitting in the Harris Theater for Dance and Music at Millennium Park contemplating the report on the music industry in Chicago, prepared by The Cultural Policy Center at The University of Chicago. You can get the entire report sent to you in an email as well as a digested synopsis on their website,...
Movies and Rock & Roll have always been partners in crime, soliciting promiscuity and danger while keeping every American slightly interested in this non-sense world. Both James Dean and Jim Morrison garner the same idolatry, the same cool, but in their own distinctive way given their respective mediums. So it makes sense to me to create a column celebrating...