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rock photography

The War On Drugs by Mara Robinson

Live Rock Action: The War on Drugs @ Grog Shop Cleveland Hts.

  How, exactly, did Philadelphia band, The War on Drugs manage to sell out the Grog Shop on Saturday night? Many were curious, especially those who either had to scramble down their contact list to get in or were turned away at the door before show time. Sure, the abstract Americana of Adam Granduciel and hs mates has been highly rated by the influential website, Pitchfork, for a couple years now, and that helps. But a...READ MORE
The Men by Mara Robinson

Live Rock Action: The Men @ The Happy Dog Cleveland

  To judge by appearance, the Brooklyn five-piece band, The Men, aren't very distinctive men. If pressed, the man standing in the middle of the stage could have been an extra in the '90s movie Singles. He had the slight frame and stringy hair to fit in. But put them in a corner bar and put jerseys on them and they could be sports fans. Put them in button down shirts, and they could be your co-workers. It's only when they ...READ MORE
The Replacements at Riot Fest Chicago 2013 by Mara Robinson

Riot Fest Sunday Night: The Replacements

The abridged history of The Replacements goes something like this: Beloved underground rockers from Minneapolis have a real shot at greatness, but whether it was the booze, discomfort with high expectations, or just bad luck, they never fully delivered on their potential. One night they could be brilliant. Paul Westerberg's tales of longing and disillusionment set to rowdy, blues-based bar rock and ragged punk stuck to the hea...READ MORE
Bob Mould and Jon Wurster at Riot Fest 2013 Chicago by Mara Robinson

Riot Fest Sunday: Not the Replacements

I'm sorry, Bob. I'm sorry, Laura Jane Grace. I'm sorry, Rocket From the Crypt. I don't know your names, but your matching mariachi outfits were sweet. I'm sorry Frank, and I'm sorry, replacement Kim Deal. Sunday night at Riot Fest was always going to be about the Replacements. Don't get me wrong. Against Me! and Laura Jane Grace have a captivating back story. Since announcing to the world that she was no longer Tom Gabel in ...READ MORE
Blondie @ Riot Fest Chicago 2013

Riot Fest Saturday Night: Blondie, Rancid, and Violent Femmes

First off, I haven't a clue what Debbie Harry was wearing when she took the Roots Stage on Saturday night. It looked like a graduation gown. She also had on a large, conical hat. Was this some sort of secret Catholic sect? At Riot Fest? Now, putting aside Harry's sartorial choices, Blondie's performance exceeded all expectations. The fear of going to a festival like Riot Fest, one so heavy on legacy acts, is that some o...READ MORE
GBV @ Riot Fest Chicago 2013

Riot Fest Saturday: Dinosaur, Jr, Guided by Voices, and FLAG

Coming into Riot Fest Chicago, I had planted all of these clever alternate festival names in my mind, like Who Let the Olds Out, Moms-And-Dads-in-Bands-a-Palooza, and The Bands That Time Forgot. But my favorite was, Our Band Could Have Been Your Life, LIKE 20 YEARS AGO, a play on Michael Azzerad's quintessential retelling of the early days of indie rock in the 1980s, Our Band Could Be Your Life.  My itinerary for my two days in ...READ MORE
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2013 Pitchfork Music Festival: M.I.A.

There were times during M.I.A.'s Sunday evening set at the Pitchfork Music Festival, where she appeared to be every bit the headliner as the night's official closing act, R. Kelly. The stage was decorated with six large, white wheels, each which lit up in carnival colors. A large, rectangular pattern, near the rear of the stage, lit up like a technicolor Persian rug. The bass was crisp. The beats were sharp. Dressed in a long, go...READ MORE
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2013: Pichfork Music Festival: Waxahatchee

Dressed in a patchwork patterned, brown sun dress and over-sized brown shades, Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee greeted the gathering crowd at Sunday's side stage at the Pitchfork Music Festival with a simple,"Hello. Thank you for coming. We're Waxahatchee from Philadelphia." Looking at the slight woman, and gauging her size, the greeting seemed just about right. Oh, but when the music started, Crutchfield had a much bigger, h...READ MORE
Pissed Jeans

Saturday at the 2013 Pitchfork Music Festival

I saw Belle and Sebastian last night, but I don't really have much to say about them. The band, all twelve of them on guitar, bass, drums, strings, horns, and whatever other things, sounded clear and precise. Lead man, Stuart Murdoch, was polite, like an English soccer, ahem, football announcer during a 90-minute nil-nil draw between two mid-table Premier League sides. Even if they aren't my thing and I personally blame them for ...READ MORE
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2013 Pitchfork Music Festival: The Breeders Play Last Splash

The difference between the Breeders today, on Saturday's main stage of the Pitchfork Music Festival, and the Breeders of, let's say just three years ago, extended beyond the line-up. Sure, surrounding Kim Deal on stage was her sister Kelly, Josephine Wiggs on bass, and Jim McPherson on drums, basically everyone responsible for their 1993 breakthrough album, Last Splash. But there was a bigger difference between The Breeders then ...READ MORE