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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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Give Back

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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