The Faim at Chop Shop in Chicago

On October 6th, I had the opportunity to see and photograph an up-and-coming band out of Perth, Australia, The Faim, at Chop Shop in Chicago. The band is currently touring their debut album, State of Mind. From the start of the show, it was evident that the band was going to have quite a stage presence. With their booming punk-alternative sound, the room was filled with music and the crowd was invested. It was the type of show where you could rock out even if you didn’t know a single word to any song.

With the amount of crowd surfers and people singing along, you could tell that every person in the crowd had been looking forward to that show, and rightfully so. The Faim had a way of bringing everyone in the crowd together for a truly unique experience that night. If you’d like to check out their sound for yourself, they released their debut album ‘State of Mind’ earlier this year, and if you ask me, it is worth the listen.

‘Real’ By Dezirae Schalice Review

I’ve been gushing over Real by indie-pop singer-songwriter Dezirae Schalice for weeks now. Since its release on September 16th, I’ve been captivated by Dezirae’s work during my walks on campus and in the studio. Dezirae remarkably infuses electronic keys, distorted guitars, and honest, metaphorical lyrics in her songs about topics such as gaining independence, confronting demons, and questioning what is “real.” There was a lot of excitement and anticipation over this album after Dezirae’s 2018 single “Beautiful People,” and several others came out and left many craving a full release. Real was undoubtedly worth the wait! Below are my thoughts on 5 tunes off of Real:

Loosen Up My Tongue 

Kicking off the album with “Loosen Up My Tongue” was a smart move. The atmospheric guitars at the beginning draw the listener in. This song has a sense of psychedelia and contains cool musical elements that give it its trip. The use of the bells is highly mind-bending. “Loosen Up My Tongue” invites us into Dezirae’s world and captivates listeners right off the bat. 

My Demons 

The vulnerability it takes to write a song like “My Demons” is incredible. The lyrics are truly heartbreaking and honest. Many can relate to being at war with themselves and feeling hopeless. One can hear the raw emotion in Dezirae’s voice, and the harmonies are stunning and add to the power behind this enchanting song. “My Demons” confronts internal struggles that resonate with many. 

My Fault 

Twisted and sexy are two words I would use to describe “My Fault.” The line “Maybe I took the apple just to bite it/And maybe I liked it,” is possibly the favorite line of mine off the album. “My Fault” has a sultry and mischievous tone. The drums stick out to me with how they build up to the chorus and the neat fills tucked in throughout the tune. Also, I love myself a good horn section. The effects on the vocals and the call-and-response technique frequently used are unique aspects of the “My Fault.” 

Not This Time 

“Not This Time” is the boost of empowerment I’ve been longing for in a song! Lyrics like “This is my own damn story/This is my own damn song,” and “I’m granting myself grace/Excuse me for the lack of shame,” are ones that are likely to be shouted in the shower. “Not This Time” is about taking charge of your life and not being so hard on yourself. Whether you’ve recently quit a job that didn’t serve you well, or left a partner that hindered your confidence, this song will leave you feeling strong and loving your new-found independence. “Not This Time” is an example of the many positive messages that that you can find in Dezirae’s work. 

Real 

The beautiful piano ballad that is “Real” shook me to the core. It makes sense why this is the title track, with its gripping lyrics and the power behind Dezirae’s voice shining through. The line “Slowly how you crept it/ stealing drops of serotonin/making me see what you want and leaving me distraught,” is an example of how transparent “Real” is. The song presented itself to me as being about how despite the fact manipulation can distort one’s perception, one can become “free” and overcome with a new sense of self. Dezirae’s vocals and words leave a lasting impact in “Real,” and I can only imagine how intimate this song is performed live. Dezirae sings every word with raw emotion, and it’s truly captivating, and the song gave me major goosebumps. 

I urge you to listen to “Real” in its entirety. Dezirae Schalice is one to look out for in the Chicago-land music scene! Her uniqueness, creativity, and talent make her the star that she is! Make sure to follow her on Instagram and Facebook! She’ll also be joining me in-studio for Local Chaos on October 6th for a live performance and interview! Don’t miss it!  

Local Chaos at Empire Open Mic Night

Meeting and listening to musicians from all over the Chicagoland area was an awesome way to flip around my long, tired Tuesday. I’m a regular at Empire Burger and Brew’s weekly open mic night, but I’ve never seen the place as crowded as it was this last time around. It was my first-time as the open mic’s host, and I had a wild time! There was a great mix of fresh faces who’ve never hit Empire’s stage before, and folks that are constantly coming back for another Tuesday night jam. There’s a great variety of people and music every Tuesday night, and it’s a positive and friendly environment, as well as a fantastic way to connect with local musicians.

I had the pleasure of watching rising pop-singer and songwriter Ava Morse, a Naperville native, who impressed the audience with her strong vocals. This was my second time seeing her perform at Empire, and I can see how much growth she’s had in the last couple of months. She belted her newest single, “I Should Be Leaving,” and left the crowd wanting more! Check her out on Instagram (@avamorseofficial) and Facebook to keep up with her upcoming releases!

Another artist that I was stoked to see back at Empire was Derek Vaden. Derek brought the house down with his explosive energy and incredible guitar riffs. The first time I saw him play live, my jaw dropped to the floor; this time around was no different. When he got on his knees and soloed in his tune, “Novel America,” he left the crowd shook. Derek’s stage presence is uber exciting and makes it very difficult for one to look away. Alongside Derek was Mike Dooley on the drums and Antony Picardi playing bass. Before their set, Derek announced that Mike came out all the way from Colorado to partake in the local music celebration. If you’re interested in keeping up with these guys, go give Derek Vaden a follow on Instagram (@thegroovefreak) and check out his videos on Youtube!

There were many more musicians that blew me away the other day at Empire. I had a lovely time with 89.1 FM music director, Tyler Mason. It’s always a great time to discover new music that can one day be played on our station! Live music is always great to witness but it is even better when you get to support your local music community! If you’re interested in getting to hear up-and-coming musicians from your backyard, get down to Empire every Tuesday night for their rockin’ open mic. It’s totally free to attend and participate, and sign-ups to perform are at 8:30 with performances starting at 9:00. Listen to Local Chaos every Sunday from 8 to 10pm to hear about more chances to get involved in and support the Chicago local music scene!

Frank Iero and the Future Violents at The Social in Orland, FL – 6/14/19

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing Frank Iero and the Future Violents in concert at a small venue called The Social in Orlando, Florida. Following the May 31st release of their new album, Barriers, Frank Iero and the Future Violents played a set consisting of a nice mix of old and new songs. They opened the show with “Moto-pop,” the eighth track off their new fourteen-track record. With the heavy guitar riffs accompanied by a blast of confetti into the crowd, it made for an exciting, energizing start to the show that got the crowd fired up.

Something sentimental Frank Iero does at all his shows is plays a song called “B.F.F.” – a song Frank always makes sure to mention was written by his daughter, Lily, to her twin sister, Cherry. I asked Frank before the show if his daughters know he plays their song, and he assured me that they know and love that people all around the world sing along every night.

Frank Iero and the Future Violents closed their set with a song called “Great Party” featuring Kayleigh Goldsworthy on the keyboard. They followed this with an encore of two songs from their 2016 album, Parachutes, ending the show with a crowd favorite, “Oceans.” Overall, the energy of the show remained high, and it was easy to see the passion on these musicians faces as they played a killer set. It was the type of show you never want to see end because the music was phenomenal, the whole venue was riding on positive vibes, and everyone in the room was having a great time. If you’d like to share in that type of experience, you can check out Frank Iero and the Future Violents when they come to Riot Fest in September, and check out their new album, Barriers, now. I also had a chance to talk with Frank Iero, which you can listen to below.

– Bender –