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Saba Performs His First Chicago Show of 2018 at Pitchfork

Since the release of his latest EP, “Care For Me”, back in April Saba has been touring the country making yesterday’s performance at Pitchfork his first Chicago show of 2018. He started it off by vowing to make it a special show and he certainly did. The first half of the set featured songs from “Care For Me” which are emotional for Saba to perform and helped him to connect with the massive crowd.

As the set built to his older material the energy level of crowd built and clearly feed Saba's energy level. By the time he got to “Church/Liquor Store”, from his 2017 "Bucket List EP", the crowd was bouncing and Saba was going wild on stage. Chicago hip hop was done proud today, and folks all around the fest were left buzzing about Saba.

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Melkbelly Brings The Force To Pitchfork

It is the contrast of loud and quiet that some band’s use show dynamics, but for Melkbelly that is only found in their stage banter. For Miranda Winter’s that contrast is sharp as she shyly announces that they are Melkbelly and they are from Chicago. The four-piece then launches into an explosive song and you see a whole new side the remarkable lead singer. There is an angry energy that bleeds through as screams and snarls through a fast paced set in front of an ever growing crowd.

Rain continued to fall, but Miranda told the crowd “Welcome to the Midwest” as chants of “No Coast” rolled through the crowd. The band blazed through the highlights of 2017 album No Valley with forcefulness that could not be captured by even the best engineer. What shown through the strongest in this set is the powerful drumming of James Wetzel. His steady but driving backbone was like a helping hand through the chaos that Winters' create. This is a band that needs be seen live and what better a place than Pitchfork Music Festival.

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The Curls Play Through The Tidal Wave

Day One opening act is never easy, but for The Curls it was complicated even more with moments of heavy rain. The local group with a core of five members expanded to 11 at times as they quickly got the growing crowd moving. It was fun to Maria Jacobson of Fran join the band on stage to sing backing vocals and dance. Every one on stage wore shirts support the local non-profit No Cop Academy and their message was well received by the crowd.

As they hit the first few cords of their latest single, “Tidal Wave”, the dark gray clouds opened up. Despite the rain and their instruments getting wetter and wetter they played on.

The entire band played with extreme energy, but Jenny Marshall really stood out as she played synth, trumpet, sax, and rarely stopped dancing.

Their set included “Slice of Life”, “Prickly Feelings”, “Do It Right” and more, but closed perfectly with chants of “fame, fame, fame”. The Curls definitely gained hundreds of more fans today.

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Same Girls catch lightning in a bottle with instant-hit "Domino," play Café de Nord (7.21)

“You’re just my type, everything’s so nice,” drawls the melodic first line of “Domino” (streaming below), the newest single by Bay Area moody indie rock outfit Same Girls. The rest of the track follows in the same carefree, fuzz-filled style, relying on the punchy guitar riff to build into an explosive chorus. It’s obvious from the first few seconds that Same Girls have ensnared a bolt of lightning in a bottle here, and made an instant hit. If this is any indication of what's to come on their forthcoming album Young Minded, then prepare to add a new favorite album to your list. See them live at Café du Nord on July 21, and then again at the Throwin’ Bo’s showcase at the Elbo Room on August 2. - Lilly Milman, photo by Amy Lombard





A Q&A With Justine Bowe of Photocomfort, playing Music Hall Loft (7.28) & Great Scott (8.16)

After spending a few years touring with the indie-pop darlings Magic Man, Boston-based Justine Bowe decided it was time to take a step back and focus on herself — a decision that manifests itself most clearly in her solo project Photocomfort. Although she’s been working on music under the moniker for years, she only recently released her official debut EP, a triumphant five-track project called Understudy. Not only does this release showcase Bowe’s skills as a lyricist, producer, and vocalist, but it is also provides a nuanced portrait of the artist as a young woman. It’s thought-provoking, dynamic, and vulnerable — and yet, it’s light and easy to listen to. All in all, Understudy is required listening for anyone who has dealt with imposter syndrome, struggled to find a voice for themselves, or even just had a really bad day. Justine Bowe has finally taken center-stage, and it’s exhilarating to watch. - by Lilly Milman, photo by Andrew Janjigian

You can catch Photocomfort playing live at Music Hall Loft in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on July 28, as well as at her record release show at Great Scott on August 16.

Read a Q&A with Justine of Photocomfort and stream Understudy here.

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