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updated: 7/18/2014 11:48 AM

Big music weekend keeps Chicago, suburbs rocking

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  • Born of Osiris, a metal band featuring members from the suburbs, will perform as part of Warped Tour this weekend.

      Born of Osiris, a metal band featuring members from the suburbs, will perform as part of Warped Tour this weekend.
    Courtesy of Sumerian records

  • Twin Peaks, a young garage-punk band from the North Side of Chicago, has been touted as the next hot band to emerge from the city. Fans can see them at Pitchfork this weekend.

      Twin Peaks, a young garage-punk band from the North Side of Chicago, has been touted as the next hot band to emerge from the city. Fans can see them at Pitchfork this weekend.
    Pooneh Ghana/IPC Media/NME

  • Three outdoor music fests will take place in the Chicago area this weekend, giving local music fans plenty of chances to rock out.

      Three outdoor music fests will take place in the Chicago area this weekend, giving local music fans plenty of chances to rock out.
    courtesy of pitch perfect pr

  • Three outdoor music fests will take place in the Chicago area this weekend, giving local music fans plenty of chances to rock out.

      Three outdoor music fests will take place in the Chicago area this weekend, giving local music fans plenty of chances to rock out.
    courtesy of pitch perfect pr

  • Three outdoor music fests will take place in the Chicago area this weekend, giving local music fans plenty of chances to rock out.

      Three outdoor music fests will take place in the Chicago area this weekend, giving local music fans plenty of chances to rock out.
    Photo by Jason Bergman

  • Rockford band The Color Morale will perform this weekend at the Warped Tour in the South suburbs.

      Rockford band The Color Morale will perform this weekend at the Warped Tour in the South suburbs.
    Courtesy of Fearless Records

  • Chicago band Real Friends is part of this year's Warped Tour event in the South suburbs.

      Chicago band Real Friends is part of this year's Warped Tour event in the South suburbs.
    Courtesy of Fearless Records

  • Offbeat indie-pop artist St. Vincent is part of this year's Pitchfork Music Festival lineup.

      Offbeat indie-pop artist St. Vincent is part of this year's Pitchfork Music Festival lineup.
    courtesy of pitch perfect pr

  • Young power trio the Cloud Nothings will perform at the Pitchfork Music Festival.

      Young power trio the Cloud Nothings will perform at the Pitchfork Music Festival.
    courtesy of pitch perfect pr

  • Beck, a key figure of the '90s alternative-rock era who continues to make vital music today, is one of the headliners of the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.

      Beck, a key figure of the '90s alternative-rock era who continues to make vital music today, is one of the headliners of the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.
    courtesy of pitch perfect pr

  • Hip-hop artist Pusha T will perform at this year's Pitchfork Music Festival.

      Hip-hop artist Pusha T will perform at this year's Pitchfork Music Festival.
    courtesy of pitch perfect pr

  • Mayhem Fest includes an appearance by Body Count, the hardcore band led by rapper/TV star Ice-T.

      Mayhem Fest includes an appearance by Body Count, the hardcore band led by rapper/TV star Ice-T.

 
 

The Chicago area will be under siege this weekend -- by rock 'n' roll.

Hordes of bands, armed with guitars, keyboards and drums, will invade the area in what has to be one of the most insanely busy live-music weekends in a long time.

Three major rock events are happening. The Warped Tour, now in its 20th year, takes over the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in the South suburbs on Saturday. The newer Mayhem Festival sets up shop in the same venue on Sunday. And the Pitchfork Music Festival, one of the country's premiere rock fests, opens Friday and runs all weekend in Chicago's Union Park.

All told, that's well over 100 bands in a variety of genres playing who-knows-how-many hours of live music over the course of three days!

Each of the three events has its own vibe. The Warped Tour began as a showcase for punk and ska, but it has evolved over the years. This year's model offers a mix of rock, punk, electronic and hip-hop bands that skews toward younger fans. Bands playing this weekend include Less Than Jake, Survive This! and We The Kings.

Mayhem Fest, as the name might suggest, has a harder, darker feel, focusing on metal and hardcore. Bands appearing this year include Korn, Body Count (the hardcore band led by rapper Ice-T) and Avenged Sevenfold.

Finally, Pitchfork delivers an eclectic mix of veteran and up-and-coming indie, electronic and hip-hop acts. Beck and Neutral Milk Hotel, both of which date back to the alternative 1990s, will be joined by noisy whippersnappers like Cloud Nothings, Speedy Ortiz and St. Vincent.

In honor of this rockin' weekend, the Daily Herald profiles two local bands -- one from the suburbs, the other from the city -- that will be part of the weekend fun. Read about them, and then go listen to some live music!

Pushing boundaries

Talk to guitarist and songwriter Lee McKinney about his metal band, Born of Osiris, and you'll likely hear the word "experiment" quite a bit.

McKinney and the other members of the five-piece band aren't content to stay within the well-established parameters of the heavy-metal genre, he says. McKinney is joined in the band by Ronnie Canizaro on vocals, Joe Buras on keyboards, David DaRocha on bass and Cameron Losch on drums.

"We're always looking for new things to do with the music," McKinney said. "People give us different labels, like 'deathcore' and 'progressive metal.' I like calling us an 'experimental metal' band, because that pretty much sums up our approach."

Born of Osiris, part of this year's Warped Tour, emerged from the small but vital metal scene in the Northwest and West suburbs. McKinney came from Downers Grove and Naperville; other members hail from the Palatine and Barrington areas.

The band has built up a national following, though, via four well-received albums, including last year's "Tomorrow We Die Alive," released on Sumerian Records.

The albums deliver all the goods you expect from a contemporary metal band -- monster guitar riffs, screamed vocals and a thunderous rhythm section. Born of Osiris expands on that basic sonic template by adding keyboards and creating intricate song structures.

McKinney said that Buras' keyboards are a particularly important component of the band's sound.

"When you talk about keyboards a lot of people think you mean just a piano," he said. "But keyboards can bring so many sounds. They can sound like an orchestra, or like a choir, or they can give you that industrial synth sound. The way I see it, you just limit yourself if you don't have them."

In between tours, band members are working on material for a new studio album, one McKinney hopes they can start recording in early 2015.

"We used to all live together in a house in Wheaton, and that made it easier to work on songs together," McKinney said. "Now we live in different places, and since we're on the road almost nine months out of the year, we don't have as much time to record. But I'm not complaining. Things are going great with the band, and we plan to have a blast at Warped!"

'Next Big Thing'

The 20-year-olds in Chicago garage-rock band Twin Peaks were still in their teens when they were being anointed as the city's next breakout group.

The accolades, sparked by the band's 2013 debut album, "Sunken," helped Twin Peaks land a spot in the lineup for Riot Fest Chicago last fall. This weekend, the band will play the Pitchfork Music Festival.

Not bad for four childhood friends who used to play in local basements on the North Side.

"Yeah, the response we got was really cool, but it's not something that went to our heads," frontman Cadien Lake James said. "So many amazing groups have come from here. We're just happy that some people care that we're still playing together."

Twin Peaks' songs are catchy slices of guitar rock that reference a variety of sounds and eras -- classic '60s pop, some New York Dolls-style '70s glam, the sloppy aesthetic of '80s groups like the Replacements.

That range may seem surprising in musicians who are so young, but James said he and his bandmates soak up influences wherever they can.

"I grew up listening to the old soul and blues records my dad had, but then I started reading rock biographies and got obsessed with all this other stuff -- Kurt Cobain and Nirvana, T-Rex, My Bloody Valentine," he said. "It all comes out in what we do, eventually."

Playing Pitchfork is a huge deal for the band, James said, because they all used to attend the show as fans. After Pitchfork, they'll barely be able to catch their collective breath before the band's second album, "Wild Onion," comes out on Aug. 5 on the Grand Jury label.

"It's got twice as many tracks (as the debut), and we explore all kinds of subgenres on it," James said. "I hope people dig it. But even without the new record, playing Pitchfork would make this a pretty amazing summer for us."

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