K. Flay’s Triumphant Homecoming, Exploring Subterranean’s Brothel Backstory

k. flay chicago

k. flay chicago

During this episode of Live Fix Radio, we explore the music of rapper, singer-songwriter and Chicago-native Katherine Flaherty (aka K.Flay). We first discovered K. Flay’s cunning blend of hip hop, pop, rock and humorous rhymes back in March at SXSW. We caught up with Flaherty before her show at Subterranean to talk about her Black Friday guilt, the emotional connection with her fans, what she’s learned since SXSW and the silly things she says while onstage.

During the show we also share how we discovered the curious backstory of Subterranean, the venue where K.Flay played. It’s a show packed with tons of great stuff like live post-show fan interviews and news about free live downloads and more as you’ll see in the show notes and links below.

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Show Notes:

Music from the podcast

News and links

Step Up To The Mic

What do you think about K.Flay’s mad rhymes and crazy songwriting skills? Got a question about Subt’s shady history? Want to know more about something we talked about during the show?

We invite you to share your concert experiences and thoughts about this podcast in the comments below, so they can be included in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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It’s All Connected: Mavis Staples’ Throne, The Beatles in 1965 and Canon Logic




During this episode of Live Fix Radio we’ll tell you a story about how a well-traveled and concert-loving quarter from 1965 inspired us to continue our Concert Genealogy Experiment.

And speaking of Concert Genealogy, we’ll tell you how we discovered that a Mavis Staples throne at The Hideout Block Party, a Beatles concert in 1965 and our chat with Brooklyn-based rock quintet The Canon Logic are more connected than we realized.


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Show Notes:

Music from the podcast

“Sirens” and “Rapid Empire (Am I M_I_A)” – The Canon Logic Rapid Empire – EP (iTunes)

News and links from the podcast

How Are You Connected?

Were you at the The Hideout Block Party? How about that classic 1965 Beatles show in Chicago? What’s your most treasured concert memento?

Drop a comment below and let us know how you’ve connected all the concerts in your life to the bigger picture of live music history, and we’ll share your story during a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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Why Do These Kids Rock, Jam and Amaze Us So Much?


During this episode of Live Fix Radio, we explore the topic of teenage performers and how the live music experience impacts their creativity, inspiration and psychological development.

We’re excited to dive into this topic and share with you the music of 14 year-old singer-songwriter Kate Diaz and soul-blues-jazz-hip hop octet Kids These Days.


Ever since we first saw Kate amaze us at the Metro we knew she was well beyond her years. And we had the chance talk with her before a recent show at the Abbey Pub and ask her about her favorite live performers and how she got started as a musician.

Even though they’re all under the age of twenty, Kids These Days is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in Chicago. And it was a blast talking to them at Lollapalooza about why they embrace making mistakes during their live show and how the WWF and James Brown influence what they do on stage. You’ll here why their debut EP Hard Times is one of my favorite of 2011. Note: A couple f-bombs do get dropped during the interview, but it’s for a good cause. It’s nothing to fear. I just wanted to let you know ahead of time, okay? 

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Show Notes:

Music from the podcast

DJ Mehdi – “I am Somebody”   (A musical tribute to the late French DJ who died last week and a continuation of our RIP grief experiment.)

Kate Diaz – “Kill the Question Mark”

Kids These Days – “Hard Times”

Links and info mentioned during show: 

Concert News and Experiments:

Step Up To The Mic

What do you think about teenage performers? Got a question about a topic we talked about during the show? We invite you to share your concert experiences and thoughts about this podcast in the comments below, so they can be included in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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Concert Preview: The Mesmerizing Polymedia Mythology of NewVillager



Editorial note: Earlier this week our friend and Live Fix contributor Moira McCormick caught up with NewVillager before their gig in New York to talk about the story behind the band’s ambitiously esoteric and wonder-filled mythological live show — and what awaits Chicago fans tonight at the Empty Bottle


“What makes it exciting,” says Ross Simonini of his deliriously uncategorizable polymedia band NewVillager, “is that it’s pop music and esoteric ideas traveling together. Pop can hold esoteric ideas, and we like both – why can’t they be married?”

Simonini and musical partner/fellow visual and conceptual artist Ben Bromley, whose self-titled debut album arrived last month on the IAMSOUND label, are shortly appearing at downtown Manhattan’s snug, multicolored performance space Santos Party House, not quite a month into their North American tour – which brings them to the Empty Bottle tonight.

The Brooklyn-by-way-of-San Francisco duo, augmented live by drummer Collin Palmer and human sculpture Eric Lister, melds art (the visual and performance kind) with their rapturous pop-soul music, on scintillating display in the 10 tracks of NewVillager – easily one of the most jolt-you-out-of-your-complacency releases of this or any year.

Their press kit boasts as many features published in art publications as in music mags, and their performances are apt to take place in galleries – many of which involve actual art installations, such as the recently concluded “Temporary Culture” at Los Angeles’ Human Resources Gallery.

The 10-day exhibit centered on the band’s construction of a “shantytown” in which NewVillager lived, eating and sleeping and all; they ultimately performed in ten different constructed rooms, each room symbolizing a song from the 10-track album. The number ten figures prominently in NewVillager’s self-created mythology, a complex entity that, like Hindu, Greek, or any other cultural mythos, “can’t be summarized in two sentences,” as Simonini puts it: “Our mythology is not really a narrative. NewVillager’s mythology should be understood like art” – in that intuitive, gut-level, gestalt way that art is digested.

At the same time, Simonini acknowledges that serious art talk in the music world is often regarded as pretentious. And he notes with a laugh, “When people hear our ideas first, before our music, they think we must be a noise band, very abstract.”

Instead, NewVillager sculpts widescreen, kaleidoscopic, soul-infused pop – and if you listen to their album without knowing anything about them first, you’d swear you’re hearing a multi-vocalist, multi-instrument, multiracial ensemble. ‘We tried to make the album sound that way,” Simonini says modestly.

When you find out NewVillager is just two guys – two white guys – you’re impressed, if not incredulous. And you figure they must hire a phalanx of singers and musicians to recreate that sound in concert – or at least incorporate a whole lotta recorded tracks.

“No tracks,” says Simonini.

He does add that they’d like to tour with a populous ensemble some day, but that “financially and logistically” it’s not possible. Hiring drummer Palmer, however, made a significant difference in NewVillager’s live sound – and appearance.

“It used to be unruly,” says Simonini, “with just me and a guitar and a foot pedal, and Ben and keyboards and bass and a foot pedal.”

As for the aforementioned human sculpture, that would be one Eric Lister, a friend of Simonini’s since his San Francisco childhood, who’s previously taken part in NewVillager’s art-music happenings. In their current show, Simonini describes, “Eric’s in the center [of the audience], in his ‘Cocoon House’ state” – “Cocoon House” being the leadoff track on NewVillager, whose physical imagery is meant to suggest the gestational phase of an idea.

In fact, as NewVillager’s set begins in the Day-Glo-daubed, patchouli-scented, and cheerfully diminutive music room of Santos Party House, Lister has encased himself in a womblike fabric contraption – “a quilt made of our childhood clothing,” according to Simonini.

When the human sculpture emerges later in NewVillager’s set, those concertgoers who are in the know, but who aren’t in the cocoon’s immediate area, can only imagine the give-and-take that’s surely taking place. Before the show, Simonini said that the addition of Eric the human sculpture gave audience members a chance to interact with “the art aspects of the show;” though the interaction isn’t visible to whole swathes of people.

But if some of NewVillager’s visual-art components worked better in theory than in concert – at least in a bite-sized venue like this – the band pulled off something even more rewarding: just these two guys (plus drummer) recreated every delicious texture and nuance of their sheerly edible album. Simonini and Bromley’s vocals particularly amazed, especially the latter’s supple swoops from baritone rumble to soul-sweet falsetto, as in the stop-start strut of “Rich Doors” – and their harmonies struck a rich and satisfying vein, time and time again.

The end came too soon, literally; New Villager were a few songs short of performing their whole album, ending with an encore rendition of the exhortatory “Lighthouse” – with a genius snippet of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” tossed in.

“We’re always trying new stuff out,” Simonini had said before the show, referring in particular to their live set, and for NewVillager, that includes delving deeper into ways of bringing their audience into the experience.

He noted that concertgoers have lately been showing up at their gigs dressed as characters from NewVillager’s wildly artful videos (viewable at newvillager.com.) At their Philadelphia gig earlier this month, Simonini says they asked the costumed fans to interact with Eric – which they did, leading the human sculpture out of his cocoon.

This got Simonini and Bromley thinking that the myth-clad devotees might be willing to arrange with the band, in advance of a particular concert, to wear certain costumes and perform certain actions in the audience, perhaps cued by verbal or visual signals from the band – so that a continuous action would flow around the room. And all of this would be coordinated by a website Simonini envisions them setting up.
After all, he says, why go to a pop concert – indeed, why listen to pop music at all – “and not want to go deeper?”

Were You There?

Were you at the NewVillager show in NYC? Have you experienced the wonder and pleasure of their live show before? Let us know what you think and we’ll share your story during a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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How Do Women Experience Live Music?

Massive Scar Era

Massive Scar Era


During this episode of Live Fix Radio, we explore how the female brain, body and emotions are impacted by the live music experience. We also spoke with Egyptian hardcore band Massive Scar Era. And after seeing the female-fronted quartet perform live at Obbityfest 2011, Sherine (vocals/guitar) and Nancy (violin) told us about how the revolution in Cairo impacts their music and live show, what lead them to start the band in spite of cultural adversity, and what family struggles they had to overcome to play live and tour.

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Show Notes:

Music from the podcast

“God’s Country” – Ani DiFranco live at Carnegie Hall 4.6.02 (iTunes)

“Nothing” – Massive Scar Era

“Tribute” – Massive Scar Era

Live Music News

During the live music news segment, we talked about U2 and the Blind Guitarist Fan, rap concert riot at NYC, death at Rosklide Festival, hash candy at Electric Forest Festival and more. Read more about these stories in live concert news.

Websites, Articles and Books

During the show, we explored NIDA.com, On the Issues article: Female Music Critics Transcend Fan Culture and Louann Brizendine’s book The Female Brain(Barnes & Noble).

Step Up To The Mic

What do you think about women and live music? Got a question about a topic we talked about during the show? We invite you to share your concert experiences and thoughts about this podcast in the comments below, so they can be included in a future episode of Live Fix Radio.

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Adventures and Discoveries at MOBfest 2011

california wives

california wives

Say hello to Chicago-based bands Makeshift Prodigy and California Wives live from MOBfest 2011!

During this episode of Live Fix Radio, we explore the details about each band’s favorite artists and most memorable concerts experiences, what role fans play during their live show, the transcendence of live concert art, and what an emerging band can learn from SXSW 2011.

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makeshift prodigy

Show Notes:

Music from the podcast (in order of appearance)

“Alive” – Makeshift Prodigy

“Wakeup and Smile” – Makeshift Prodigy Live at MOBfest 2011

“Tokyo” – California Wives Live at MOBfest 2011

“Blood Red Youth” – California Wives

Music News:


Were You There…?

We invite you to share your MOBfest 2011 Chicago concert stories so we can feature them on a future episode of Live Fix Radio. Drop ’em in the comments below!

See more MOBfest 2011 photos by Colleen Catania

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Explore The Wonderful World Of Obbityville

Obbityfest 2011

Obbityfest 2011

On this episode of Live Fix Radio, we explore the live music laboratory of Chicago-based experimental rock band The Earth Program as they give us an exclusive tour of their Spook House practice studio. The ambitious quartet also shares the inside scoop on ObbityFest 2011, a 21-band music and art festival going on in Chicago this weekend.

As we told you in our initial Obbityfest preview we have a lot in common with the festival’s experimental side. And musically it features DIY, punk / rock / psychedelic music and art from as far away as Egypt. And during this special bonus podcast interview, all four members of the band take us on a wild ride through the curiously awesome world of Obbityville, a parallel universe of artistic inspiration, musical community and creative resistance. Fun!

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Show Notes:

Music from the podcast (all tunes by The Earth Program)

“Le Gloom” – (Live at the Spook House)

“Eat Your Makeup” – (INVADE!)

Check out the Obbityfest 2011 free mixtape sampler download.

UPDATE 7/5/11:

Lots of fun was had at Obbityfest! Here’s a video and Colleen’s Flicker set of photos capturing our favorite moments seeing The Earth Program and “a music fan’s best friend” rock the stage at the New Rock Theater.

ObbityFestival Dates and Lineup

Friday – 7/01/11
12:00 The Clams
11:00 The (Glorious) Tea Party
10:00 Swimsuit Addition
9:00 Rodeo
8:15 Bad Bad Meow
7:30 Sense-A
6:45 Brad Brubaker and The Crowd Goes Wild

Saturday – 7/02/11
12:30 Hospice
11:30 Woo-Man and The Banana
10:30 The Earth Program
9:30 Massive Scar Era (all the way from Egypt!)
8:45 The Hate Maxes
8:00 Donoma
7:15 Tell Your Friends
6:30 James Manno

Sunday – 07/03/11
12:00 Fun Club
11:00 The Maybenauts
10:00 Bill Tucker and Friends
9:00 Bushoong
8:00 She Speaks in Tongues
7:15 Moon Furies
6:30 The Lone Gun Society


Gallery featuring Artwork by:

John Airo
Erica Farrel
Joey Alan Salamon
Christopher “ILTH” Erickson
Kyle Van Heck
Cj Hungerman


The New Rock Theatre
3931 N. Elston Ave
Chicago, IL


$5 – per day
$10 – 3 day pass
Tickets can be purchased at door day of event.

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Who Really Wins The Battle of the Bands: Fans, Bands or Brands?


Battle of the Bands contests have been going on for decades. Hundreds take place every year. But who wins, and who loses? The bands, the fans, or the brands who sponsor them? In this latest episode of Live Fix Radio we continue our exploration of this ever evolving culture of artist competition, brand promotion and fan discovery.

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100 Bands in 100 Days: Reconnecting With Live Music One Show At A Time


In our SXSW preview, we told you about an intriguing fan-made movie called 100 Bands in 100 Days. I saw the film while we were in Austin during its world debut and it made me laugh, nearly moved me to tears and inspired me to look at live music in a new way.

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Concert Preview: An Interview with Poi Dog Pondering’s Frank Orrall


Poi Dog Pondering

Continuing our exploration into house concerts, The Little Things and other nuances and exciting elements of live concert culture, here’s an exclusive interview with Frank Orrall of Poi Dog Pondering as he leads the band to return to the Vic Theatre for two WXRT shows this weekend in Chicago. Continue reading

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Livestream Event: Diane Birch Live Acoustic Set, Interactive Fan Chat


Continuing our series on virtual concert experiences, we’re pleased to bring you another Livestream event today including a live interactive fan chat with Diane Birch.

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