Before anyone gets to who they are as a person or artist they must go through a transformation. It may be uncomfortable or even painful and other times you encounter no resistance at all. What that maybe for Nando in his latest work AGAINST THE GRAIN is up for discussion! In this 10 piece project Nando goes through some what of a transformation from start to finish. With the help of Little Lion, Kaneo Blak and Syl Messi, Nando gets his word out.
Starting off meloncholic in with SCARS and DISGUISE, Nando expresses grieve, discomfort and a need for change. He appears doubtful and confused, but he lets his mind free with ROSES and in THORNS he finds focus with his growth. It will ultimately be his growth to be known not his struggles, “they never see the thorns, because they just start at the rose“. Nando continues to carry himself confidently more and more as you move to the next track; he even gets bilingual speaking in Spanish tongue. Getting more smoother, quick witted and self aware as he goes one can assume that is where next releases will lead to; so add Nando to your playlist and follow!
Grassroots Chicago has a new home at 1430 W Chicago Ave inside the Movement Gallery in collaboration with MADE. Over the past month Grassroots curated a surprise DJ GRIZ visit, a grand store reopening utilizing the emcee talents of iiimpulsiveee and Wilhelm Duke and various graffiti art from Don Mega, Ekon, Fals, Haku, Jeesh, Kabz, Nerd, Urbl, Seoh, and ShokOne. Coming up on the 27th of September Grassroots Chicago will have their doors open from 5-10PM for the WEST TOWN ART WALK. They will be showcasing music from ROZAR, Glitch Gatsby, Bucknasty and Dub Repvblik with a “secret” special guest with MADE.
It is exciting to see this shop and lifestyle brand now operating in an even more central location. Even more so to witness the growth and adaptation of Grassroots Chicago. The surprise visit and show from GRIZ was a hit! There was quite the line out of the door and more than a hundred people waiting to see him. With his like-able personality coupled with the new shop and its ambiance the shadow meet and greet was a success! The GRAFFROOTS reopening show featuring two rappers, a plethora of graffiti art, wine and beer sponsored by Noble Grape and pizza from Dimo’s was quite the intimate soiree of an experience. Gallery type shows are rare and interactive and the new location is great to cater to that style of event!
Much of the success of Grassroots Chicago on the ground must be credited to Nicole Graham. She has been the manager of the shop for the last two years, so next time you are there give her some recognition! With the street fest coming up on September 27th I highly recommend any reader who is also a fan of some of the most exquisite street clothes ever seen to make it over to West Town for the WEST TOWN ART WALK and stop into Grassroots Chicago. They will have their doors open from 5-10PM. You will not regret spending the time and energy to give their unique pieces a chance!
The sixties was a remarkable decade both in music and politics. It was the combination of the two that sparked the counter culture movement of that era. The youth took over the mainstream culture and no longer looked to their parents and older generation for dependence. They had a voice and they wanted to use it against the establishment, sparking many riots over social and political issues from the Vietnam War and its draft, to civil and human rights issues.
Things got particularly heated in Chicago during the August 1968 Democratic National Convention. Protests were taking place primarily against PresidentLyndon Johnson‘s policies for the Vietnam War. The city denied most permits for rallies and marches except one in Grant Park where the Police enforced an 11:00 pm curfew. Confrontations ensued as Police attempted to clear streets and marches towards the International Amphitheatre.
The Grant Park rally was attended by about 15,000 protesters. A few thousand attempted to march toward the International Amphitheatre but were stopped in front of Conrad Hilton Hotel where the presidential candidates were stationed. Using tear gas, mace, verbal and physical force and batons, protesters fought back with bottles and rocks for all the media to see. While dozens of protesters and journalists involved were injured and their equipment smashed, police continued to make numerous arrests over the next few nights. This event was later characterized as Police Riots.
September 8th 1968, following the convention, grand juries assembled to determine criminal charges. Eight defendants were charged under the anti riot provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Sixteen alleged co-conspirators avoided prosecution. The original 8 indicted were Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale.
The trials begain on September 24, 1968 and in the beginning of the trial Judge Hoffman clarifies “He is not my son“, to which Abbie Hoffman replies “Dad, dad, Have you forsaken me?“. Later in the trial Bobby Seale began disrupting the trial with loud outburst after being denied his request to bring in his own lawyer. He argued that the judges actions were not only illegal, but racist. October 29, Judge Hoffman ordered Seale to be bound gagged and chained to a chair and for several days. Eventually the contempt charges against Seale was overturned due to the Judges unconstitutional actions.
The trials became widely publicized and gave fuel to a growing number of protesters. The remaining seven defendants, mainly Hoffman and Rubin, continued to mock the courtroom and Judge Hoffman in particular yelling to his face, “you are a shande fur de Goyim (A disgrace in front of the gentiles)… You would have served Hitler better“. They are also cited yelling “Your idea of justice is the only obscenity in this room… This court is bullshit!“.
One day Hoffman and Rubin appeared in courtroom in judges robes. When ordered to take them off they complied, only to reveal police uniforms underneath and they blew kisses to the jury. They created a circus of the courtroom, using the media attention to attack Nixon, the war, racism and oppression. The trials got big enough to even garner the support of celebrity artists and activists like Allens Ginsburg, Timothy Leary, Rev. Jesse Jackson. Singer Phil Ochs who was involved in planning for the demonstrations obtained a pig he presented to the court to nominate as a presidential candidate.
The judge cited all the defendants with numerous contempts of court, ranging from a couple months to four years. On February 18, 1970 the seven defendants were acquitted of conspiracy but five were convicted of crossing state lines to incite a riot. They were fined $5,000 each and slapped with 5 years on February 20th. However On November 21, 1972 all of the convictions were reversed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit due to the judge being biased in his refusal to permit defense attorneys to screen prospective jurors for cultural and racial bias.
On August 5th 1966 Martin Luther King Jr., during the fair housing protests in Marquette Park, is met with 700 angry white protesters and gets struck by a brick.
MLK was in Chicago that day advocating with his demonstrators that this leasing office on 63rd Street in the South Side sell properties on a non-discriminatory basis in the mostly white Chicago Lawn neighborhood. Bricks and bottles thrown, racial slurs hurled, pushing, shoving, cops in-between King, his demonstrators and the large white crowd from Chicago’s local south side. At least 30 people were injured and 40 were arrested. Apparently after this whole ordeal King was unafraid and un-shaken stating, “All in a day’s work“.
Post 1964 America with the signing of the Civil Rights Act was hopeful for the future of its minority citizens. However the ghettoes in northern cities were still quite affected and mandated by Jim Crow laws. King even promoted this issue by moving into a Chicago apartment in 1966 infested with rats and roaches. This was ideally to expose the segregated housing and redlining issues that were designed against blacks and minorities largely prevalent in major American cities, especially Chicago.
Segregated cities are still an issue today, albeit laws and ordinances against such civil illnesses. Today let us remember that MLK Jr. was working tirelessly to improve the equity and lifestyles of black Americans and all those that shared in his vision of peace and unity.
Chicago has long been well known for its stunning skylines and innovative take on architecture. However what few people know is that Chicago is actually the birthplace of the modern day skyscraper.
Designed by architect William Le BaronJenney in 1884, The Home Insurance Building opened its doors a year later at the intersection of LaSalle and Adams. Consisting of 10 stories and standing at 138 feet in height, The Home Insurance Building has come to be known as the world’s first skyscraper. It was the first building of its kind whose frame held structural steel, though the majority of it consisted of wrought iron and cast.
Historians attribute the construction of The Home Insurance Building to the architectural boom that took place in Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871. As a result of the aforementioned fire, 3.3 square miles of the cityscape was left destroyed, and since the majority of its buildings back then were made of wood, nearly all of them burned down in the flames. With the majority of the city rotting in rubble, Chicago underwent one of the most famous architectural booms in history; one that would spur its economy as well as reshape the cities’ architectural outlook.
Replacing the wood structures that stood on Chicago’s grounds before the fire, the newer buildings were made out of stone, steel and iron. Building in this manner was considered to be ahead of its time and The Home Insurance Building served as a prime example of this new style of architecture. The Home Insurance Building became one of Jenney’s crowning architectural achievements, and it also spawned an entire generation of architects and engineers dubbed as “The Chicago School.”
This generation, which consisted of famous architects such as Daniel Burnham, continued to lay the groundwork for what the modern day skyscraper would eventually become. Though New York City eventually surpassed Chicago as the hub of architectural innovation, Chicago remains as the city that laid the groundwork for any and all innovation that followed. Chicago will forever remain the birthplace of the modern day skyscraper. Sadly, The Home Insurance Building was demolished in 1931 and the LaSalle Bank Building now stands in its place.
Chicago is full of talented artist in every direction in every genre. One of Chicago’s most celebrated genres of course is house music; this city is its birthplace after all. It has come a long way since its start and today’s artist of the week Ayoo is a testament to that! Working heavily with bass house production, it is a more intense evolution from Chicago house and Detroit techno music, but the roots are all there and grounded. The two brothers popped into the scene a few years back and it has been non stop hard work, good music and memorable events; the Chicago electronic music duo plans to be on the radar for a while.
Not only some artists on the rise Ayoo also represent a whole bigger collective as well. Founded by Niick Niice the Be Nice Collective is a commnity of electronic house music DJ’s that has a good hold on the Chicago nightlife. Holding residencies at night clubs and bars like El Hefe, Soundbar, Tobacco Road Tap Room, Bottled Blonde and more, they present opportunities for locals to work, collaborate or just enjoy a night out. Ayoo’s ambitions alone backed with Be Nice network holds unlimited potential!
Aside from rockin’ Chicago’s night life dancer floors with their weekly residencies they duo have build a resume up on festivals and special guest events with popular artists. Notable shows include opening for artists like Taiki Nulight, Dogma, Dr. Fresch and Malaa; Tonight Ayoo adds Delta Heavy to the list opening at Chop Shop in Wicker Park. The duo also hit Spring Awakening Music Festival back to back the last couple years and for good reason! They guys not only have the network but they have the sound.
Coming up on more an more recognition as time goes on Ayoo hit yet another milestone this week after officially releasing their hit summer single TIMELINE, featuring RhymSter, under Artist Intelligence Agency. This again presents more opportunities for the duo as their music has the potential to reach more audiences and even more interested labels. Packing with a growing list of bass house originals the duo also make some bold remixes, improving on some timeless tracks like DOO WOP by Lauryn Hill, and LOW LIFE by Future and the Weeknd.
Debuting with their single ORIJINAL last summer they have come along way in their production, their latest release shows the most improvement in quality in their music thus far. This time picking out G4NJ4 by Groove Delight it sounds like Ayoo is really getting comfortable with where they are headed with their music. Time can only tell where these two are headed with their sound and collective. They has brought upon themselves really significant opportunities and They and hit a lot of milestones in a short period of time. I would recommend keeping an eye on this local titans!
After spending the previous seven years of his life focusing on his film career Elvis Presley made a triumphant return to live musical performance. In June of 1968 he bagan the taping of his revolutionary NBC special, Elvis. What was originally branded as a Christmas special the producers decided to market the event as a re-branding of Presley’s musical career. They aimed to gear the special towards a younger audience. However, what they did not know at the time was that it would become much more than that.
The special saw Presley in a couple of different performance settings. He performed two cuts standing up, which featured an epic instrumental section and more boisterous vocal performances from the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll himself. Another set featured Presley in a more intimate setting, sitting down in a circle with a live band. The atmosphere was more raw and stripped back as Presley communicated directly with the audience in between songs.
This notion of interactivity between the artist and their fan base was revolutionary for this time period. The intimate setting that Presley was cast in for this special laid the groundwork for future programs such as MTV’s Unplugged as well as NPR’s Tiny Desk series, both of which have become staples in the history of music programming. The special was an instant hit when it came out as well.
Airing on December 3, 1968, “Elvis” topped the Nielsen Television Ratings Chart for that week, became the most watched show of that season and garnered Presley a ton of critical acclaim in the process. Not to mention it also gave Presley’s music career a second wind. The very next month, January of 1969, Presley was already back in the studio working on his next full-length album. He teamed up with a house band called The Memphis Boys to record From Elvis in Memphis, which went on to become one of the biggest albums of his career.
From Elvis in Memphis peaked at number 13 on the Billboard top 200 and its lead single In The Ghetto reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles list. The album received universal acclaim from critics as well. Aside from being well-received at the time it came out From Elvis in Memphis has also stood the test of time. Numerous music writers have cited this album as being essential to Presley’s discography and Rolling Stone even rated it 190 on their list of the 500 greatest albums of all time back in 2003.
Elvis Presley is seen as a groundbreaking figure in the history of music for many reasons. He is widely dubbed as the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. He was also a pioneer for being a musician of his stature playing such a huge role in film and soundtrack recording. However there are more subtle reasons as well. Presley also ushered in a new era of music programming that thrived on an atmosphere of intimacy and a personal sense of interaction between artist and fan. He paved the way for the future of music programming, leaving a legacy that is being felt more than ever 40-plus years after his death. These are the reasons why the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is more than deserving of this week’s Throwback Thursday segment.
Powerful: The word that comes to mind most often when thinking about Gaby Rose, her debut single OPEN LETTER and the launch of her music career. Introduced to Gaby Rose while at one of Ever Evolved Midnight Marauders Open Mics hosted at InnJoy in Wicker Park, she signed up and went on towards the latter end of the night. Her voice is soothing, sultry, low-alto with a whispered intonation. Her sense of rhythm and lyrical acumen is impeccable. Every single line flows well with the instrumentation and every lyric hits you emotionally to the core.
Her songwriting paints a story overall but you have to listen through to the end to make sense of it. Only available to hear her music outside her live performance, until now, her one song set was remarkable to say the least. Her singing had people cheering, clapping and getting up out of their seats. Upon finally hearing her debut single on record, it was just as impactful.
Gaby Rose came through to another Ever Evolved event, Delirium IX, this past Monday hosted at Subterranean in Wicker Park. Not only is she an incredible songwriter, vocalist, and performer but she is also a down to earth person that comes out to support local music! She might be newer to the scene, but her talent and character is undeniable. Highly recommend you all to go bump Gaby Rose’s debut song OPEN LETTER. Without going into detail on much of the content on her single, know it represents selflessness, maternity, womanhood and yes, even manhood.
Chicago is a dynamic city filled with all kinds of draw ins from its history, architecture and especially music. Birthplace of house music, countless talented artists and jive with a bustling blues culture here in particular, it welcomes quite a variety of icons and artists to the city for its inspiring quality and treasure troves of figure heads to work. This weeks Throwback Thursday for June we remember the Rolling Stones passing through Chicago to leave their mark in music history!
When Starting their first tour in the United States the Rolling Stones first arrive in New York, June 1st, 1964;just a few months after the Beatles make their US debut. Following a few radio and television appearances and live performances the Stones note the absolute highlight of their trip: Recording at Chess Records on Michigan Ave. Owned by two Polish brothers Leonard and Phil Chess, it is home to many legendary blues artists such as Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry, Buddy Guy, Bo Diddley, and most notably Muddy Waters. These Chicago Blues artists have been the driving force in the creation of the Rolling Stones. It is there they recorded some of their first hit singles to top American charts, already being popular in England.
June 10th, 1964 the Rolling Stones land in Chicago to record in the US for the first time at Chess Records Studio, the leading Blues recording label in the 50’s and 60’s. Legend has it that Muddy Waters was there himself to help the artists unpack. “2120 South Michigan Ave was hallowed ground. We got there on a last-minute arrangement by Andrew Oldham (manager)”, Keith Richards wrote in Life Magazine. “There in the perfect sound studio, in the room where everything we listened to was made, perhaps out of relief or just the fact that people like Buddy Guy, Chuck Berry and Willie Dixon were wandering in and out, we recorded 14 tracks in two days“. The studio would be later immortalized by the dedicated song 2120 South Michigan Ave.
It was in these two days their EP Five by Five and much of their second studio album 12×5, that both featured the address title track, were recorded. Keith Richards was quoted saying, “Everyone in England at the time was incapable… No one could get a really good funky American sound which is what WE were after. The best move we could possibly do was get to America as quickly as possible and record there”. Coming out of the sessions also is their hit single Its All Over Now that claimed their name to fame in the US. Other notable songs would include Time Is on My Side, Look What You Done and Down the Road Apiece. They would later return to Chess months later in November 1964, during their second US tour, where Kieth Richards lays down the riff to the legendary (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.
Between sessions the Rolling Stones hold a press conference June 11 on Michigan Ave in front of the Tribune building. Mick Jagger was noted stating, “We have changed a bit since we got famous. I mean, how would you like to sing the same seven numbers every night? I may not be much of a singer but there is no artistry in that. Still, we do have fun as well“. Police later arrived to break up the press conference but not before jeering, “Get outta here or I’ll lock up the whole goddamned bunch“. The Rolling Stones never returned to Chess Record but held a big roll in bringing the Chicago Blues sound to mainstream audiences.
In the vast ocean that is Chicago’s contemporary music scene, standing out is much easier said than done. However jazz vocalist MorganPirtle has managed to do just that, which is why she is this week’s Woman Crush Wednesday honoree.
Pirtle is a storyteller through song. Her lyrics are conceptual and introspective, with each song of hers serving as a tightly-woven meditation on a certain aspect of herself. As a vocalist she does an outstanding job of assuming the role of lead character on whatever story she is trying to communicate. Her vocal performances are believable and convincing, packed with emotion and vibrancy.
Pirtle is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC), where she graduated in 2018 with a degree in jazz studies. There she blossomed under the direction of vocal professor Cheryl Wilson, following in the footsteps of one of the best in the business. Aside from Cheryl Wilson, Pirtle has also worked with jazz legends such as bassist RufusReid and vocalist DeeAlexander, among other greats. Having the chance to collaborate with modern jazz giants has no doubt left a huge impact on Pirtle’s artistic maturation.
Pirtle has performed at many prominent Chicago venues over the course of her young music career. She has graced the stage at numerous local spots such as Sofar Chicago, Schubas, Emporium, The Chicago Jazz Showcase and even the Shedd Aquarium as a part of their Jazzin’ at the Shedd series. Perhaps, however, her biggest performance yet came back in 2018 when she performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival with her band, Morgan Pirtle + 5.
Pirtle has ventured her way into recording as well. She recently put out her debut EP Muse, which dropped back on April 18. Packed with soaring musicality, virtuosic live instrumentation and introspective songwriting, Muse serves as a brilliant, cohesive example of taking older elements from genres. Taking jazz, r&b and indie and fusing it all together to give it a sound that is modern and lively. Sounding more musically mature than her age would imply, Muse really is a stunning debut and has helped Pirtle stake her claim as one of the leaders of the new school when it comes to Chicago’s jazz and contemporary music scenes.
Pirtle has seen avid success as a performer as well. In 2018 Pirtle was named as a Luminarts fellow in the jazz category, also winning the people’s choice award in jazz. In the same year, she was named Outstanding Undergraduate Vocalist at the 2018 Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards. Possessing the maturity of a musician beyond her years, the conceptuality and hardware to prove it, Morgan Pirtle is a name you will definitely want to familiarize yourself with if you are involved with the local music scene. She is already making moves, but with many more years ahead of her she can only go up from here.