Ben Folds: Live in South Bend (Concert Review)

By: Jen “Coble” Hopper

Saturday night, Ben Folds joined the South Bend Symphony Orchestra in celebrating the City’s 150th anniversary with a concert well-suited to fans of both classical and pop music.

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Kaiser Chiefs: Live at Chicago House of Blues, 4/19/12

Guest Post By: Marisa Ruiz & Tracy Graham of Lost in Concert

Pair song after song of crowd-rousing rock with the flabbergasting antics of Ricky Wilson and you’ve got a one-two punk-infused theoretical punch that you won’t soon forget. Kaiser Chiefs is a band that can boost you right out of your seat and deliver you to the doorstep of live music rapture from the very first song. This is a band that needed no time to warm up the crowd for what was a highly entertaining set at the House of Blues Chicago.

The five English lads took a bite out of 1980’s pop culture when they walked out on stage to a reworked sample from the Dire Straits hit song, “Money for Nothing.” The lyrics “I want my…” were stretched out and repeated before taking full shape into “I want my MTV” as the band casually rolled on stage and took their instruments. I pretended for a moment that the crowd would change the chant into “I want my Kaiser Chiefs” but there was no time for that, as the band had already jumped straight away into playful track “Na Na Na Na Naa.” Frontman Wilson commenced his energetic shimmy across the stage, tambourine in hand, eccentric moxie at full force.

I may actually have pages of notes strictly about what the man did with his mic stand throughout the set. Simply put, Wilson straight up made that mic stand his bitch. In fact, he did so many things I’d never seen done with a mic stand before that he inspired me to name some of his moves. First was “The Scarface”: He tossed and twirled it in the air like a baton, caught it and pretended it was a machine gun – all within four seconds flat – before slamming it back in place. “The Rocky Balboa”: Perhaps channeling a boxing legend, he threw jabs at the mic stand with hunched posture and great concentration. And lastly, “The Missy Elliot” wherein Wilson laid it down, flipped it and reversed it. Yup. All that.

Really, though, the kooky mic stand spectacle was just the co-star to the real thing on spotlight: the music. “Ruby,” “I Predict A Riot,” “Every Day I Love You Less,” “Oh My God,” “The Angry Mob.” It was like a playlist of one sing-along worthy song after another; and the crowd was fully enthralled from the very first one. In a display of very high crowd interaction for a weeknight show, there was chanting, clapping and hopping around for every track. The gents of Kaiser Chiefs also played songs from their new album, Start the Revolution Without Me, including popular single “On The Run.” For the duration of one song, the pace shifted from high energy anthems to a slower, more poignant groove. The lights dimmed as a purple hue was cast on the stage and Wilson delivered the words from new track “Starts With Nothing.” With reflective lyrics such as “You start with nothing and you leave with nothing,” the song helps mark the evolution of a band that formed nearly a decade ago. Not every song needs to start a riot – and it was cool to see they can flip that switch off and back on.

The biggest draw, however, to the appeal of seeing this band live is the frontman’s spontaneity. Sure, you could rock Kaiser Chiefs tunes on your iPod any day, but how often will you have the chance to see Wilson mount a giant speaker and remark that the “bass is doing amazing things to [his] testicles”? Right – never. Unless you go their live show, of course. He also somehow managed to climb off the stage, over more giant speakers with his microphone, and launch himself onto the side bar counter where he then chugged a beer produced by the bartender upon his unexpected arrival. Always a jokester, he spoke into his mic with his unmistakable British accent. “Sorry to those of you in the balcony who can’t see me, but I’m fully naked right now – and I’m told it’s a glorious sight!” Hit songs, assaults on mic stands AND laughs? Talk about getting your money’s worth.

Toward the end of the set, Wilson let out an excited yell and shouted, “Chicago! You’re my kind of town!” We feel the same about you, Ricky Wilson. You and your mad talented band mates are always welcome in our city. We might even have some extra mic stands on hand for you next time.

Buy Kaiser Chiefs Music @ Amazon

Kaiser Chiefs Official Site

All Photographs ©2012 Tracy Graham

Patrick Stump: Live at The Metro, Chicago, 11/11/11

Muruch’s Mid-West reviewer/photographer Jen “Coble” Hopper joined the crowd at Chicago’s Metro theater on November 11th for a solo set by Fall Out Boy singer, Patrick Stump. You can see Coble’s photographs and read her take on the concert below…

What do you get when you combine punk attitude, soul stylings, pop hooks, a can of redbull and a band of super-talented, crazy-faced musicians? Patrick Stump’s solo project on tour.

Patrick Stump released his aptly-named solo debut, Soul Punk, just a month ago and has been touring with Panic! at the Disco over the fall. He plays every instrument on the self-financed album, and he’s put together an excellent live band that share his spirit: guitarist Michael Day, keyboardist/saxophonist Casey Benjamin (who has performed with Mos Def and Q-Tip), drummer Skoota Warner (formerly of Ra), and Taking Back Sunday bassist Matt Rubano.

Though he’s played Chicago’s Metro a number of times as part of Fall Out Boy, Patrick thanked the audience: Performing a solo show at Chicago’s legendary venue The Metro has been a dream for him. He and the rest of his band looked quite dapper in their mix of suits (turquoise, plaid and otherwise) to celebrate the occasion and his appreciation was evident in his high-energy prance, bright smile and occasional glance into the packed-to-the-gills VIP area.

Patrick covered Bowie, performed a medley, belted out a ballad, picked up the drumsticks to accompany his band on the snare drum, played a tiny trumpet… All within the first three songs. And he really never stopped moving, prancing, spinning and gesturing passionately throughout the sadly brief sixty-minute set.

In interviews, Stump has spoken fondly about learning music with his father when he was growing up. Friday, he shared with the crowd that he knows “The ‘I’ in Lie” might sound a lot like Prince, but it’s actually the kind of song his dad would write. Before disappearing for the encore, Patrick covered Phil Collins “In The Air Tonight” and went so far as to sing it from the drum kit while he played. Other highlights of the well-attended set included “Run Dry” and “Bad Side of 25,” which most the audience sang back with great enthusiasm.

For any who were unsure how he would fair in the transition from Fall Out Boy, rest assured that Patrick Stump shines as a solo artist. He’s a flurry of energy and his vocal delivery is as flawless live as on the record. Stump’s musicianship was evident throughout the night and the closing singles, “Explode” and “This City,” left the crowd aching for more.

Buy Soul Punk @ Amazon

Patrick Stump Official Site