with HIDE and Thoom and DJs The Pirate Twins
Thalia Hall Chicago
Thursday 1/24/19

Luis Vasquez and his band The Soft Moon entertain the masses from the beautiful Thalia Hall in Chicago.
Touring in support of The Soft Moon’s fourth studio album “Criminal”, released on Sacred Bones back in early 2018, is more gut wrenching and cathartic as ever before, an honest and searing portrayal of Luis going to war with himself and his traumatic childhood.
Confrontations accompanied by heavy beats are front and center throughout the album, especially when they are performed live.
Everything about this touring band, with Matteo Vallicelli on drums and electronic percussion, and Luigi Pianezzola on bass and also synths is full on relishing in the attack and diving into the deep end of the pool from the very first note.
What’s the best description of The Soft Moon? Go see them live the next time they come through your town.
Period. End of Story.
Another cool anecdote: On the Soft Moon’s home page on Facebook, under the title “Influences” , it reads “Anxiety”.
That should tell you a lot about what you’ll encounter in a Soft Moon performance.
Having worked around a dozen or so shows with Luis Vasquez up to the present, it’s not all as bad as it seems.
Luis is rather closely guarded, true, and yet, he’s also very supportive when it comes to my photography, and the overall vibe when he hits Chicago with his band.
Have to say honestly, I want to reciprocate in kind, any which way possible to elevate the stature of his talents and his music.
With me , having been photographing live bands professionally for over 37 years now, it’s always been “Music first- photography second”.
Having said that, countless times I’ve been involved with bands from their inception, and nothing is cooler than watching them grow and gain popularity with a following, creating material to relish in and feel a part of the community with each and every release.
Luis Vasquez and his band The Soft Moon I hold dear to my heart.
Here’s to many more years of sonic beauty and live performance coming our way.
Openers HIDE did not disappoint as well.
The Post Industrial duo consisting of Heather Gabel and Seth Sher sure know how to make a menacing sound that’s equally shocking seeing them perform live, let alone the onslaught of haunting vocals and a wallop of heavy beats, accentuated by blinding floor standing white strobes as the ONLY lighting throughout their performance.
As difficult as this can be for photography, it does enhance the gratification of getting something / anything that is worthwhile as far as image quality goes.
Look at it this way.
If Heather Gabel, vocalist with HIDE was well lit, I’d probably end up with 60 to 70 solid images to work with.
The result of the flashing strobes? I was lucky to leave with 15 to 20, and even half of those were iffy at best.
No matter. That’s the way they present themselves through their music: jarring, confrontational, unpredictable.
Totally fine by me. I’m up for the challenge to document their splendid performance.
As for opener Thoom: Zeynab Ghandour (Thoom) – she has a shape shifting way about her performing live, incorporating electronic trance inducing beats, with a howl out of nowhere that’s cathartic to see live, let alone her seductive dancing that’s riveting to watch in her set.
William Faith and Scary Lady Sarah (aka The Pirate Twins) provided perfect song selections to elevate the mood and vibe before and in between the sets for the evening.
Cheers- Bobby Talamine – Music Photographer

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