Alex Winston Taking Over Schuba’s

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From the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan Alex Winston is a talented woman who started chasing her passion for music at the young age of 7. Back then, she was given a guitar and started to teach herself several songs. From there she was then trained in Opera, believe it or not. As we chatted on the phone she explained that she was always constantly singing and then her mother decided to enroll her in singing classes.

Since her childhood days she has come a long way in her music career. Releasing single after single, her most recent album is called Careless is a huge step for her. Alex explains that she was going through a few big changes in her life and that’s why her music took leaps and bounds from her previous material.

Winston constantly writes new songs, constantly tours, and if that’s not busy enough she makes time to play benefit shows like the upcoming Stars and Stripes show in Massachusetts. She will be playing along side artists like Walk the Moon and ASTR. (Fun Fact: July 4th is Alex’s favorite holiday; what’s not to love about food and fireworks?)

Alex just got off touring with Neon Trees and she had the time of her life. Having the chance to not only play out West and down South, but also play for a new audience was what she loved the most.

So what are you to expect from Alex’s show? Well she told us was she loved about live shows and what she wants people to do at shows.

“It’s a very high energy show; I love being on stage! I want people to forget all the other shit out there and just have a good time.”

“Really grateful for people for sticking around with me” Winston says to all her current fans and any newcomers. I personally can not wait to get off work to check her out live!

After attending her show at Schuba’s, I saw how Alex kept her word. I went to the show with a cluttered mind and while enjoying her performance, I forgot about everything else and was captured by her performance. She danced on stage, laid across the floor,  banged on the bass drum, and jumped into the crowd of fans to dance alongside them. Several time during her set she would have a bright smile on her that truly showed how much she loved what she was doing. I highly recommend checking her out next time she is around; be sure to check out her album Careless as well!

Full Gallery Here!

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If You Feel Too Much

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It was just this past Monday where our DJ Kris Fuentes Cortes traveled to Naperville’s Hollywood Palms to meet with Jamie Tworkowski. Jamie is the founder of the non-profit organization To Write Love On Her Arms, an organization that aims to help prevent suicide, self harm, addiction, and depression. There they talked about Jamie’s new book If You Feel Too Much, a collection of 44 stories from Jamie’s life. Check out our video below and leave your comments for us!

Hesitant Alien Finally Arrives

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Let’s start off this show review with just the solid fact that I was beyond thrilled when I got confirmed to photograph and review this show. Why? Well for those of you that don’t know who Gerard Way is, he was the lead vocalist for a band called My Chemical Romance. And if you don’t know who is he musically, maybe his comic books like The Umbrella Academy or Killjoys rings a bell. This man has so many talents and different sides, but for this particular review we are focused on his solo music career. It was last year when Gerard Way released his album Hesitant Alien. Since then, UIC Radio has had the chance to see his CMJ show in New York City; it was amazing. But now he finally made his way (no pun intended) to Chicago, so it’s no surprised that it was a sold out show.

As I arrived to the Vic Theatre here in Chicago was I greeted by the friendly staff and made my way inside the venue. A glance at the crowd was overwhelming as people flooded the venue and there were fans of all ages. Some wore Gerard’s merchandise, while others were dressed as Killjoys (read the comic), and finally some were wearing My Chemical Romance shirts. I was rather impressed though, because I was a fan of all of Gerard’s projects over the years so it was pretty awesome to see all kinds of fans in one room.

As the lights dimmed for the opening band, I was curious to know what they would sound like. The only thing I knew was that their name was Nuns and they were from Tulsa.

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Nuns is a band made of four individuals whose music is what I would call indie-rock. I swear their music is something I would hear in a 70’s or 80’s movie; it’s groovy. What really stood out to me was Hank Hanewinkel III’s voice and how melodic it is and how it flows well with their music. Hank also gets really into this guitar parts as he swung his guitar around and moved around the stage. That’s a really good thing though to see musicians really enjoy themselves. For instance I caught both Chris Davis (bassist) and Christian Sanchez(guitar) smiling throughout their set. Did I mention that they have a super talented female drummer (Christy Hanewinkel)? Yeah, she’s rocking it. Nuns had me hooked and after I left the pit and joined the crowd, they had them hooked too. The crowd cheered them on and was really having a good time. Even as their set ended and fans awaited Gerard’s arrival, I saw fans starting to Google Nuns and pulling up their Facebook page. Their debut album “Opportunities” is out now on iTunes be sure to check them out. I hope they come back to Chicago soon.

Ahh yes, the moment had finally come. I was going to see Gerard Way perform and I was beyond excited to get some good shots of him. As I entered the pit, I could feel the fans’ energy intensify. As backdrop of Gerard’s set dropped and his band took the stage, the beginning of “The Bureau” filled the venue. Fans cheered and the fans in front stretched their arms towards the stage as soon as Gerard came on. The crowd went wild as they sang along lucky security was able to grab this young girl out of the front and sit with them so she wasn’t alone or squished with everyone else (Vic Theatre’s staff and security; you da real MVP).

After I left the pit Gerard began to sing a song that pretty much summed up the good show etiquette. Help someone up if they fall, don’t be mean, and have fun. Gerard is a great performer but what makes him stand out and earn the respect of so many is how he handles shows. For instance, Gerard took the time between every few songs to talk about deep topics like respecting the transgender community, being kind to one another, talking about depression, and being true to yourself. These are things that not every artist openly talks about, especially at a show. Fans showed their appreciation when they started to pass up gifts to him, it rained gifts when Gerard told fans to just go ahead and pass up their gifts. He took the time to check out a few and thank the crowd.

Gerard Way continued his set playing songs like “Millions” and “Action Cat”. Fan danced and cheered as they snag along and enjoyed the moment. When Gerard got called back for an encore he came out with his hands making a heart and saying, “I adore you”. He finished up by performing “No Shows” and hopping into the crowd before closing out his sold out show. Gerard adores us and we adore you Gerard.

Be sure to check out our full gallery here!

Matt Hires Arrives

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Photos & Interview: Kris Fuentes Cortes
IG: krislorifuentescortes
Full Gallery Here


On a rainy evening in the city of Chicago, I made my way to Chicago’s own GMan Tavern up in Wrigleyville. There in the backroom I met with Matt Hires as he was setting up his merchandise (which I forgot to buy, I missed out). We decided to conduct the interview after his performance, so my friends and I sat back and enjoyed his performance.

Matt Hires is native to Tampa, Florida and recently made the move to Tennessee. With songs that are based on creative stories, love, and some songs for causes; the man never stops writing music. His creativity continuously runs and the freedom to do what he wants has led him to leave the label he was once signed too. That doesn’t stop Hires, the tour he is doing is solely on his own. As he tours, he grows with new knowledge, new skills, and meeting new fans.

Matt has a unique approach to his show. Of course he starts out with his set list of songs to perform, however he doesn’t always stick to it. He asks the audience to shout out what songs they want to hear. Fans call out songs from all his past works of EP’s and albums. Of course he played my favorite ‘Restless Heart’ and along with many others like ‘Heartache Machine’ and ‘Red Eye’ too.; great songs! He unplugged from this equipment, something I rarely see, and had the crowd see along as he moved to the middle of the room.

Matt took the time to meet all his fans and chat to them; which is always so great to see musicians do. I feel like that always shows how grateful musicians are for their fans and appreciate them coming out. Matt and I made our way outside in the rain to conduct our interview. Fun fact: I made him hold the umbrella. Check out the interview above.

Due to water damage to the memory card on my video camera, the visual is not available. DARN YOU RAIN!

Make sure you check out his EP ‘Red Eye’ and see if he is coming to your town. Thank you again Matt for taking the time to chat with us. We hope you stop by UIC Radio next time you’re around Chicago!

Brainwashed – While She Sleeps [Album Review]

While She Sleeps – Brainwashed

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Fans of Metal, listen up! Readers in general, turn your attention to the UK band that is bringing the intensity in their second album ‘Brainwashed’. They go by the name of White She Sleeps and they are part of the Razor and Tie family. I had the chance to grab hold of their album last week, which was released TODAY, for a review. Let’s start!

Well at first I was a little confused by the first track ‘The Divide’, as it serves as just a quick intro to their song “New World Torture”. Their entire album a well put together with its mix that shows the heavy and lighter side to While She Sleeps. While you headbang to songs like “Life In Tension” or “Method In Madness” throughout the album, there are songs that you can take a step back from rockin’ out for a minute. Songs like “We Are Alive At Night” really makes me see the band in a different light with it’s beginning guitar intro before it jumps into the rest of the song.

As I was listening to this album I was reading up on the band and really was amazed with what I found out. I think we can all agree that singing takes talent, screaming takes it to a whole new level of talent. So when I read that Lawrence “Loz” Taylor (vocals) had surgery on his vocal chords…I was at a lost for words. His voice is powerful and strong that I never would have guessed he went under the knife. I do really enjoy when Sean Long and Mat Welsh join Loz, really bring a solid sound to each song.

This album is great and I’m not surprised because the UK has been presenting some really awesome bands lately. While She Sleeps will be on tour this summer on Vans Warped Tour, so that will be my deciding factor on how I feel about the band. The album is good and I just hope their live show is great as well. Be sure to check out their album and get ready because While She Sleep will be here sooner than you think.

Favorites: The Legacy & Trophies of Violence

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Twin Shadow in Crash

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It was Friday morning April 17th when Twin Shadow’s tour bus hit a tractor-trailer on Interstate 70 in Aurora, Colorado. Of course we are all asking the same questions. WHAT HAPPENED!? WHAT CAUSED IT?! Well it’s currently under investigation into what occurred.

There were 12 individuals on the tour bus which was the band and crew. Everyone was taken to two local hospitals (name of hospitals not known). At this time the driver John Crawford and Twin Shadow’s drummer Andy Bauer remain hospitalized, in serious condition. George Lewis Jr. AKA Twin Shadow will be undergoing reconstructive hand surgery this week.

Due to this unfortunate incident Twin Shadow are postponing tour dates that were scheduled for April 21- May 22nd.

The band and crew send a big thanks to everyone in Colorado and beyond who have helped through this difficult time.

Stay tuned at UIC Radio as we keep you updated on the latest developments of this incident. We hope the band and crew a speedy recovery and that they are doing well.

It’s More Than An Anniversary

Hello readers!

Kris here from UIC Radio’s show Beyond the Barrier, here to tell you about my lovely Sunday at Chicago’s own Bottom Lounge; it was a throwback for sure. I had the chance of photographing and reviewing Cartel’s tour that marks the 10 year anniversary of their album Chroma. This was surreal to me that it’s been ten years already since this album came out. They are joined with bands likes Driver Friendly, TEAM, and Hit the Lights on this nationwide tour (which many dates are sold out, just a heads up).

I made my way over to the Bottom Lounge and saw a large amount of people already there, so I quickly made my way up to the front. The first band I checked out was a band I actually have heard of and played a bit of their music on my radio show earlier that day. Driver Friendly is a band from Austin, Texas that consists of five guys who definitely like to have fun on stage. When I arrived they were nearing the end of their stage time (bummer for me), but I felt like I was at Warped Tour. They are a band that has energy (lots of it), you can see their passion, they have some pretty rocking music, and I just really liked them. You can expect me to play more of their music on Beyond the Barrier.

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The next band I have actually heard of and had met them at CMJ this past year.  It was at Big Picture Media’s showcase when I was told that I should stick around to see them; glad I did. Their album Good Morning Bad Day has been on my show’s playlist for quite some time and it never gets old; their name is TEAM. As they took the stage, it was really great to see the front man Caleb conversing with some fans in the front of the stage. Of course they needed to set up but it always warms my heart to see bands take that quick minute to do stuff like that.  Their set began and I could see that they were winning over the crowd. I eavesdrop at shows, but only to hear people’s thoughts on bands, then I tune out. Nevertheless I could hear some people talking and starting to note down their name.

Two things happened during their set that really blew the crowd’s mind. First, Caleb mentioned how he was in Forever the Sickest Kids, which had everyone googling (really funny to see). And two, Will Pugh (Cartel) came to the stage to sing alongside the band. The guys put on a great set and I can’t wait to see them come by Chicago again.

Oh Hit the Lights, it seems like almost a lifetime ago since I last saw them live. I also kind of forgot how energetic their fans can be, which is great just not so much for my camera (my own fault). As they came on stage the crowd started cheering and something in the air told “brace you”.

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Summer Bones is the name of their latest album; it’s pretty darn awesome as they opened up with their single off that album “Fucked Up Kids”.  It wasn’t along until fans were jumped, dancing, and all sorts of craziness occurred; but they are that kind of band that gets you going. Fans were singing along and making their way to the front of the stage, the intensity grew. Their entire set was like that which was amazing to see a band keep that up.  Their set ended with them playing a song that I remember hearing the last time I saw them live… “body bag”. How can you not get amped up during that song? Hit the Lights will make their way around the country again (not Chicago, sorry y’all) with Chunk No Captain Chunk, so catch them while you can.

Oh the moment the crowd has been waiting for was approaching. Cartel was up next and their fans were more than excited to finally see them.

“Since 7th grade, I’ve been listening to them and hearing them now brings me back” said Hayley Younce a 20 year old who traveled from Michigan to see the show. She said if the band was to see this article she would want to them to know this. “It was a great opportunity to see them in the past and now the present.  Of course, I still love their music.”

Other fans had things to chime in as well, like Catherine Hoffman a 25 year old who was enjoying the show as a birthday gift from one of her best friends.

“They have good lyrics and music, that’s rare in music.” Her words to the band if they saw this article: “Thank you for getting me through high school!”

As the band took the stage, their fans roared and screamed for them, I looked over and saw Catherine embrace her best friend as they both soaked in the moment.  Cartel began their set and wow it was kickass! Their show’s production added to the energy of the crowd, who waited so patiently for them to take the stage. Fans sang their lungs out to each and every song. The band interacted so well with the crowd; you could see the appreciation they had for having such fans. Cartel’s show was truly something special because it meant so much. It wasn’t just an anniversary of an album but the symbol of how music can leave such a lasting impact… an impact that can last years.

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Be sure to check out our gallery of photos from the show here!

Photo Credit & Story : Kris Fuentes Cortes
IG: krislorifuentescortes

From One Lake to Another

From One Lake to Another

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Picture this: A rather warm room, getting warmer by the second, as a band performs in front of a sold out show. Fans are clapping and sing along to practically every other song. You look amongst the crowd of fans there are those covered in tattoos, a man in a suit (random), and fans young and old(er).

Well this is precisely the scene straight from Beat Kitchen not too long ago when From Indian Lakes paid Chicago a visit. From Indian Lakes is a band from California that released their full album Absent Sounds last year; they are currently signed with Triple Crowd Records.

I got the chance to check them out at Riot Fest this past year in Chicago and I was rather impressed with their performance; prior to that I had never heard of them. I’m really glad I checked them out that day, I even chatted with front man Joey Vannucchi about the band’s origin. After hearing about their story, travels, and more; I knew I had to keep them on my radar. So you can imagine my excitement as they announced their headlining tour.

Keep in mind the show wasn’t sold out before and as I instagrammed a photo from their set circa Riot Fest, I got messages about what time the show was and where it was. I didn’t know that there were so many fans coming out.

Beat Kitchen played host to their tour and the first band I had the chance to check out opening for them was the Soil and the Sun. A band that had me intrigued as all seven of them took on this small venue’s stage. This band roots were started in Grand Rapids, Michigan and have led them to this national tour. Their set of guitars, a violin, pianos, and even an violin had me craving more of their unique sound. I’m sucker when it comes to uncommon instruments brought onto a set. If you haven’t heard of them, please go to their Facebook page and check out their album Meridian; you can thank me later.

By the time their set ended, I looked behind me and saw that the room had filled up as there were people standing all the way in the back by the merch tables. This had to be a sold out show now, a worker at Beat Kitchen (great staff there) confirmed that for me.  I stood close to the stage and heard the chatter among them of how excited they were to be there to see From Indian Lakes.

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As they took the stage, I was so grateful for their lighting setup (thank you), and they began an amazing set.  Fans cheered at practically every first few chords of every song they performed that night. Songs like Runner, Ghost, and Breathe Desperately; really had the crowd going. At times Joey would play alongside their drummer Tohm Ifergan, really enjoyable to see. Their fans all looked so happy to be there and they were putting in as much energy as the bands was. As their set came down to a close their fans cried out “one more song!” I ended up joining them in yelling for an encore, what can I say? I really was having fun at their show.  From Indian Lakes came back on stage to close out with a few more songs, one of which was Breaking My Bones, a song which I recognized from when they played Riot Fest.

Overall the show was amazing and I look forward to covering their next Chicago show. If you are going to a show of theirs be sure to snag their album Absent Sounds on vinyl, its limited edition (clear vinyl) and it’s pretty awesome.

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Be sure to check out our gallery of the entire show here!

Story & Photos: Kris Fuentes Cortes
IG: @krislorifuentescortes

Have Mercy at Chicago’s Beat Kitchen

UIC Radio’s Kris Fuentes Cortes from Beyond the Barrier got the chance to meet up with Have Mercy. The Baltimore based band was on there headlining tour and played a sold out show here in Chicago. Watch as they talk about music, beer, video games, and see who comes to crash their interview not once but twice!