Why Riot Fest Is Still Chicago’s Best Music Festival

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It was touch and go there for a while, but Riot Fest did return this year, and it was another great one.

The daily schedules were not announced until about a week before the fest was to start due to a number of factors, including Blink 182’s late cancellation.

About a year ago, I posted here that Riot Fest is Chicago’s best music festival, and it remains so. 

My reasons for asserting that is basically the music is just better. Riot Fest highlights actual musicians playing and singing music that they have written, unlike some of the other fests in town.

This year was no different, with great sets from Elvis Costello, Blondie, and Johnny Marr, and a bucket list appearance (at least for me) by Mr. Jerry Lee Lewis, still tickling the ivories with the best of them.

The location at Douglas Park is a perfect setting. Plus, Riot Fest is a bargain.  You could buy a three-day ticket this year for less than $100. I am already looking forward to next year.

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Artist On the Rise: Carlie Hanson

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photo taken by myself

This past weekend I had the honor of seeing up-and-coming pop star, Carlie Hanson, perform live at Chop Shop.

Hanson definitely won over some new fans Friday night in Chicago, myself included, with her energized performance and clean vocals.

Currently opening for Jeremy Zucker on her first tour, the Wisconsin native has come a long way from working at a McDonalds drive thru.

The 18-year-old played a 30 minute set including her hit singles, Only One, and, Us, — and even gave us a glimpse at new music.

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PopTara’s Artist To Know: Allie X

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Hey sisters,

I’ve recently pushed myself out of the comfort of hiding behind a blog and onto the air! Live! Every Wednesday I’ll be hosting my own music show, PopTara from 8:30pm-10:30pm.

I’ll be playing new pop tracks and showcasing underrated pop talent. PopTara was born to say, “hey world, pop music is good, and we all know it.”

Half way through my show I’ll be serving tea on the Tea Time with Tara segment about a pop artist who I think is super sick and everyone else should as well.

I’ll still be blogging every Thursday, so for those of you who weirdly like to read, don’t worry, I’ll still be here in written form.  : – )

Last week was my first show! It was a fun experience and I want to thank everyone who was listening along, I appreciate you sisters. < 3

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The Tea Time with Tara artist from last week’s show was miss Allie X. Allie X is a dark electro pop artist who could also pass as the gothic version of Ellie Goulding. She was recently featured on the Netflix original, Sierra Burgess is a Loser, soundtrack, with numbers such as Kid Wonder and Sunflower. The Canadian singer / songwriter has written for other artists such as Troye Sivan and Lea Michele. Allie X currently has two full length albums out, and has a third being released in October titled, Super Sunset. Her sound is often airy yet edgy and knows how to put on  highly unique performances. Be sure to check her out!

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The Release of Bloom and How Troye Sivan Impacted My Youth

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With heart filled synths and a story of newly found confidence and love, Troye Sivan breaks his way into the world of mainstream pop with his sophomore album, Bloom.  

The lustfully melodic album — which was heavily influenced by his boyfriend — is an ethereally storybook that feels so personal to Sivan, while also feeling relatable to his fans.

The ten track album brings much needed queer representation into the music scene with hits such as “Seventeen,” which tells his story about a relationship with an older man, and the album titled track, “Bloom,” which is literally about gay sex.

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Pride Month – Queer Artist Spotlight

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Olly Alexander of Years & Years

I’ve always thought that lists or profiles of anything queer or LGTBQ+ related in the month of June, which is Pride month, were super corny. Themed content can come off as pandering or as trying to profit from the exposure of a particular group. However, I’ve come around, in a sense, because representation and visibility are important. This rings especially true for marginalized communities

But for me what’s important is accurate representation. I want to profile artists  from all of the LGBTQ+ spectrum that use their respective voices. But I don’t want this to be me exploiting gender identity and sexual orientation. My goal is to profile artists who aren’t defined by identity but incorporate it in their music and represent it realistically and don’t stick to stereotypes or fetishize anything.

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Sneaking Brockhampton Into Jaden Smith’s Show And Drinking $50 Water

 

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photos taken by myself

Third eye: Opened. Chakras: Aligned. Just: Water. After waiting for this day to happen since Never Say Never, I finally got to see Jaden Smith perform live.

I took a lyft to Lincoln Hall around 11 a.m. , made small talk with the driver:

Who are you seeing tonight?”

“Jaden Smith.”

“The karate kid??”

“….Yeah…”

“Strange…”

“…Yeah.”

“So .. uhhh what are you going to watch him do exactly????”

“… um .. perform his music, he raps…lol.”

“The karate kid raps??….I don’t like it.”

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Ariana Grande Releases First Single Since Manchester Tragedy — No Tears Left to Cry

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After the bombing that took the lives of 22 people at Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman concert in Manchester, one can imagine the amount of tears and pain that has come from Grande and her team. Now almost a year later, Grande is back with rainbow prisms, upside down aesthetics, and the liberation of moving forward with No Tears Left To Cry (NTLTC), her first single since the tragedy.

Fans were speculating to hear a mournful ballad after listening to the teaser of NTLTC that was posted onto Grande’s social media before its release. However, after hearing the full track, it is clear that Grande is over the tears and is moving on to a state of optimism and happiness. “Ain’t got no tears left to cry / so I’m pickin’ it up, pickin’ it up / I’m lovin’, I’m livin’, I’m pickin’ it up” the 24-year-old sings.

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Event Review: GAS at the Art Institute

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Live ambient music has a tendency to come off as underwhelming. I’ve always found watching a producer manipulate tracks on their laptop insufficient to warrant the title of “live” performance. However, every once in a blue moon I’ll see an ambient performance that proves all of my assumptions wrong. Last week’s performance by producer Wolfgang Voigt’s GAS alias was one of them.

I’d like to make note of the way his performance highlighted the importance of setting when viewing live electronic music. GAS’s music at home is primarily a headphone listen, where you are completely sucked in to the music’s world. In order to replicate this feeling live, it needed to be experienced in “wide-screen” so to speak, and this is exactly we got. The months leading up to the show, I worried we would be stuck seeing GAS perform on a make-shift sound system, forced to stand for 90 minutes in a tiny room shoulder to shoulder with fellow techno nerds. Luckily we got the opposite, as the Rubloff Auditorium at the Art Institute proved to be the ideal venue for Voigt’s soundscapes. The audience was able to sit down while taking in both a massive video projection and immaculate sound thanks to the theater’s excellent PA and acoustics.

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In Defense Of Pop Music — Pop Music Isn’t Boring, You Are

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You can learn a lot about a person from their favorite music. For example, if you look through my March ‘18 Spotify playlist, you can learn that I’ve been repressing my latest existential crisis with excessive partying. Shuffling through Marina and the Diamonds, Are You Satisfied? to Tyler, The Creators, I Ain’t Got Time! to Lorde’s, Liability, and back around to Charli XCX’s I Got It, clearly I’ve been on a rollercoaster of highs and lows this month.

A lot of that stems back to being in a creative rut. The hard part about being a visionary with absolutely no talent is feeling the need to create and put out into the universe, but not feeling confident enough to actually put out the work. It’s a cycle of feeling frustrated that I’m not expressing my creative needs, creating something to express it, hating it, throwing it out, and then going back to phase one of frustration. And instead of sitting myself down and forcing myself out of this rut, I’ve just been becoming bff’s with four lokos.

luv feeling like im 16 again < 3

But my current love-hate relationship with creating music isn’t the point of this post. Going back to my first statement, you can learn a lot about a person from their favorite music.

Over the past weekend I hung out with a new group of people, just to find out that they all completely despise any form of pop music. Including Lorde and Charli XCX. tragic.

I love pop music. Pop girls especially. A pop girl could breathe and I’d be like ‘okay, wig

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Troye Sivan Releases An Apologetic Lullaby – The Good Side

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A week ago I posted an article on Troye Sivan’s first single, My My My! from his upcoming Sophomore album.  Today, Troye released another new song  (co-written by Leland, Bram Inscore, Allie X, and Ariel Rechtshaid   ) and this time, it hurts in the most bittersweet way.

The new single, The Good Side, shows the most tender side of Troye that we have been able to see throughout his music career so far. The acoustic song plays out the apologetic side of growing out of a relationship, and falling in love with someone new. Serving us a much more organic production and honest intimacy within the lyrics, it’s almost impossible to not fall into your feelings while listening to this one. 

Troye offers up a lullaby of an apology to his ex-boyfriend with lines such as, Found arms to fall right into, I know how it looked, it wasn’t the plan, and some day I hope that you’ll understand that I sympathize, and I recognize, and baby, I apologize that I got the good side, the good side of things,” and the most heart-wrenching part, “I’m sure we’ll meet in the spring and catch up on everything, I’ll say I’m proud of all that you’ve done ,you taught me the ropes, and you taught me to love.

This gentle syrupy song was a side of Troye that I was not expecting to hear, but I am so here for it. With the whimsical acoustic guitar chords and the soft vocals, The Good Side, is reinvigorating to breakup anthems everywhere. While most breakup songs stand bitter and angsty, this one reaches for closure, growth, and healing.   

Again I say, I will always be inspired and awed by Troye’s talent. I can’t wait to sob all night with The Good Side on repeat. 

You can watch Troye perform his new singles live this Saturday on SNL.

 

My name is Tara and I put out articles for UIC Radio every Thursday. I’m a communication and professional writing major at the University of Illinois at Chicago. If you want to keep up with my saucy life you can follow me here:

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