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LIVE: Illinois, The Heavy

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“Remember, remember the 5th of November.” Who said that? V for Vendetta? No, no, that was just the movie based on Guy Fawkes! For those of you who don’t know, every 5th of November, those across the pond in Britain celebrate bonfire night with fireworks and a great party. Because I aspire to be British and I’m always looking for a great party, I decided to celebrate Guy Fawkes/Bonfire night in my own special way–by seeing a show!

(left: If you’re a girl and you’re nearby, The Heavy’s Kelvin Swaby will serenade you!)

I got there late (not by choice) and missed the first opener Kenan Bell, who everyone was whispering about prior to the show and even throughout the other bands’ sets. He must’ve been amazing to stand out amongst a bill this good; I’m sorry to have missed him.

Up next, and surprisingly on time, were the fantastic Illinois, who I’m not going to say where they’re from, cause that joke’s getting old. Last night’s show at Mercury Lounge was Illinois’s “Chapter 1” release party. You’re asking yourself, what does that mean, “chapter release?” Well, Illinois, the kooky little band that they are, wrote over a hundred songs and decided they were going to sit back and release them all–but you can’t just give out a hundred plus songs all at once! So, what they’ve done is divide up their catalogue into six different releases which are accompanied with a chapter of the movie that lead singer Arch starred in – which, when all put together, will be “The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe.” Phew, all caught up now? As the chapters continually get released, Illinois will play a show for us, which really just means your concert calendar is kind of booked right now!

(right: The band, Illinois.)
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Anyway, back to the show. Illinois do not disappoint. I’m not entirely sure how long they played for, as the adage “time flies when you’re having fun” really is true because before I knew it, their set was finished! Illinois’s (that’s the one time you can pronounce the “s” on Illinois!) songs are fun, catchy, and just plain enjoyable. Arch and the crowd enjoyed some baseball/world’s series banter and the relaxed vibe just carried on throughout the night. Banjos were played, legs were stomped and it was just like a good ole hootenanny, but more indie! While their set just flew by it won’t be long ’til they return, as Chapter 2 is set to be released on December 2nd!

Now, to carry on with my Guy Fawkes inspired evening I made sure there was a British band on the bill, and that slot was filled by The Heavy. The Heavy are like heroin, once you have it you can never live without it (I’m assuming). They’re kind of like hip-hop for white indie kids but more of a dance party.

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(left: Hey indie kids, get ready to dance, here comes The Heavy!)

Lead singer Kelvin Swaby is a born entertainer. Seeing him run around the stage is very reminiscent of the late James Brown–which is a type of showmanship that is hard to find these days. When they play their song “Girl” there is a very high likelihood that Swaby will serenade you if you happen to be a girl anywhere near the front of the stage–not too shabby for a night out if you ask me. Probably their most well known song, “That Kind of Man” is literally a show stopper. Swaby, in his infinite frontman capabilities, actually got the packed Mercury Lounge to properly pogo during this song! They ended their set with one of their more rock-y tunes, with a very sweaty Swaby running through the audience. The only way this Guy Fawkes celebration could have been better was if there were fireworks involved, but to be fair, the night was explosive enough!

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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