Last October, I stumbled upon free tickets to a studio taping for Biffy Clyro at JBTV Studios here in Chicago. I wasn't sure what a "live studio taping" was exactly, but I had heard a few Biffy songs and thought I would check them out.
According to (ahem) Wikipedia, JBTV is a nationally broadcast, weekly music television show that features "live in-studio performances, music videos, and music-related interviews from emerging and established musicians". It started up in 1984 so it's been around for awhile. Actually, if you've ever randomly stumbled across PBS and tuned in to the show Austin City Limits (no, it's not the festival) - the idea is the same, just on a much smaller scale. So it turns out that I was going to a super intimate, approximately 30 minute long show, for an incredibly popular band over in the UK that not many Americans have heard of (yet).
Located at 318 W Grand in the River North area of Chicago, the studio itself is decorated the same way that I dream of decorating a room in my own place one day - walls are completely covered with signed posters and memorabilia from some of the biggest acts out there. While you wait to get let into the actual recording space, you are just surrounded by these huge name artists who have been to the studio and it is pretty fucking sweet. (Weirdly enough, I haven't been able to find the show on TV though.)
So a few weeks ago, I did a free RSVP to this super new artist from Sweden - Tove Lo. Tove has had a career as a songwriter working with Max Martin (ohh thank you for your 90's pop contributions!), penning hits for Icona Pop, Victoria Justice, Lea Michele, and Cher Lloyd, to name a few. But now she's making waves as a solo artist. I came across her song "Stay High - Habits Remix" and really like her EP Truth Serum that's out right now on Spotify. Reminds me a tiny bit of Ellie Goulding (my favorite) in the sense that her songs would sound great in a nightclub or blasted really loud in a car. Unfortunately, since she does only have an EP out (5 songs), Tove Lo didn't have a very long set at JBTV - maybe 15-20 minutes. But she was still amazing! She played "Habits", "Out Of Mind", "Not On Drugs" and "Over". If you think her songs are overproduced and that she's just another Ke$ha, you're sorely mistaken. Her voice is actually very strong and has a cool texture to it - very Sia-esque. Tove is just beginning on her solo artist career - she played her first US show in March and made her TV debut on Late Night with Seth Meyers in June - but I'm very much looking forward to a full-length album. And I'm pretty confident that I will be able to say that I saw Tove right before she made it big.
- Check out the video below and then head to my YouTube channel to see some clips from the JBTV session -
Side note:: If you live in Chicagoland, I'd suggest signing up for emails from Do312 - it's a really easy way to find out what's going on in the city, whether it's music, bar/club events, festivals, etc. They often partner up with JBTV Studios and raffle off free RSVPs to these tapings!