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Entries in metro chicago (6)


Carly Rae Jepsen @ Metro

Carly Rae Jepsen
Where: Metro
When: March 12th, 2016
Grade: 5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed and Photographed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

In full disclosure, it begs mentioning that I am a HUGE Carly Rae Jepsen fan.  Especially after the earth-shattering album she dropped last year in the form of E•MO•TION, she’d managed to convert even her most passionate detractors into brand spankin’ new superfans.  Sure, I dug “Call Me Maybe” when it came out and I did lose my mind over “Tonight I’m Getting Over You” for a little while, but I never identified as a fan until last year.  E•MO•TION is the quintessential pop ALBUM.  Yes, that was in all caps intentionally because it’s important that everyone recognize what CRJ has accomplished here – she’s unleashed a modern day Bad or CrazySexyCool or Private Dancer or True Blue…you get the point.  The album is more legendary and game-changing than any sales figure or chart performance would ever suggest.  When you pair up the best sounds of the 80s and early 90s courtesy of a stellar production team with some impermeable songwriting, put all of that through the Carly Rae Jepsen hit-machine, and you’re bound to have a future classic on your hands.  While I would love to gush about E•MO•TION, we’re here to talk about her quite sold out Metro show.  But this lot had to be said because in all honesty, Carly could’ve sat on a milk crate and beatboxed her nearly 20 song set and I still would be giving the show a perfect rating coupled with a glowing review.  Judging by the audience’s reaction, though, the 5/5 rating is quite well deserved.

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Pixies @ Metro

Where: Metro
When: June 10th, 2015
Grade: 4 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed and Photographed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

Well, here’s a band to officially cross off the ol’ bucket list.  It may sound snooty, but I’ve held out on seeing the Pixies all these years in hopes that a night like tonight at a venue like the Metro would happen.  When the band comes to town, you can typically catch them at the Riviera or the Aragon…don’t get me wrong, I appreciate these venues.  But who can deny that seeing the Pixies in a Chicago treasure such as the Metro wouldn’t be the ish?  It certainly was quite a treat, but I knew it would be when I was told in my confirmation for our coverage of this show that “for this show, Pixies will pretty much be playing what they want, when they want, so we won’t have an “official” set list at the end of the night.”  That was no joke as the Pixies unleashed a career-spanning massive set of over 25 songs.  One thing is for sure, no one left the Metro unhappy tonight.

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Conor Oberst with Dawes @ Metro

Conor Oberst w/Dawes
Where: Metro
When: May 29th, 2014
Grade: 4.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed and Photographed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

Before I inundate you with my ramblings about how transcendent and amazing Conor Oberst is onstage, I have to get my griping out of the way first. Sure, we were all there to see Conor Oberst, the man himself, but, let's be honest, in most of our minds he is still Bright Eyes. Oberst's music now is a bit stylistically different from his time as Bright Eyes, but when half of his set consists of Bright Eyes songs that fit seamlessly in between his newer "solo" material, it's a little confusing. Just call yourself Bright Eyes, Conor. You were always the nucleus of the project, and you're not distancing yourself very far from your older material anyways. Aside from this slight personal pet peeve of mine, Oberst was absolutely magnetic at the Metro this past Thursday evening. Here's why...

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Failure @ Metro

Where: Metro
When: May 23rd, 2014
Grade: 5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed and photographed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

Failure should’ve become Nirvana big. When they were last active back in the 90s, many thought that was their fate: to become the biggest alternative rock band on the face of the earth. If you listen to their two albums, Magnified and Fantastic Planet, they sound like larger-than-life rock records. Everything about them screamed "big" — their sound is huge, emphasized by thunderous drums and a massive bass guitar attack, and even better…they have hooks. Failure hardly made wallpaper music that fades into the background; these are songs that stuck with generations of real rock music fanatics and that couldn’t be any more apparent than through the enthusiastic crowd that turned up to see the newly reunited alt-rock heroes at the Metro last night.

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Claudio Simonetti's GOBLIN @ Metro

Claudio Simonetti's Goblin performing Suspiria
Where: Metro
When: May 3rd, 2014
Grade: 4.5 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

Seventies Italian horror films are not for everybody — I’ll be the first to admit that. Not to say that those films are for some elite group of horror film buffs (that would be a snotty observation). But films made by the likes of Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci are suited to the tastes of moviegoers who prefer a bit of drama in their horror…and no, not as in romance but in the way the production of the film is executed. The cuts have to be swift, and the lighting has to be bold and significant. We may not set the bar high for acting (we are talking about horror films here, and these aren’t Oscar-winning masterpieces by any stretch of the imagination), but we do like the score of the film to play a major role in setting the atmosphere. Enter Goblin: the Italian progressive rock-ish band who scored such underground classics as Deep Red, Tenebre, the European release of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, and the masterpiece we viewed at the Metro this past Saturday evening with Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin live scoring, Suspiria.

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White Lies
Where: Metro
When: October 7th, 2013
Grade: 1 out of 5 meatballs
Reviewed and Photographed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

You can’t win them all. I’ve always said that the Metro’s stage could bring out the best in bands that might not be meant for a live environment. There’s something magical about the venue and its rich history that makes for the most spectacular and memorable shows one could ever experience in Chicago. Such was not the case with White Lies this past Monday night. Their latest album, Big TV, is a vast improvement from the lackluster Ritual and is a step forward in the right direction from their debut, To Lose My Life. Instead of being content with finding themselves lumped in with the loads of other "post-punk" British rock bands we hear about in NME and the like, they put together an album that really helped them find their own voice. Sadly, the atmosphere they conjure up on the record didn’t translate onstage, and the band seemed to really just be going through the motions.

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