A contributor to the Shuga blog, Rachel Zyzda also created ANCHR Magazine, an online music magazine based here in Chicago, focused on new music discovery. She got her start in music journalism as a contributor for Rabbit Hole Magazine. In addition to collecting records and seeing shows, she loves to travel.
Fun Fact: The band played a Halloween show as COPital Soirée this year, and all dressed as cops…and one of them had an unfortunate run in with law enforcement in Tennessee once. Find out more about that here.
Get ready for the show by picking up our Chicago Compilation, featuring both Lucille Furs and The Evening Attraction. Get it in store, or online here. You can also pick up Lucille Furs’ debut album in store or online now!
White Reaper, Post Animal, and Peach Pit brought a night of camaraderie and crowd surfing to a legendary Chicago space, The Metro.
Vancouver’s Peach Pit kicked off the festivities, warming up the Wrigleyville venue as the crowd still slowly trickled into the all ages show. The four piece provided the perfect teaser for the sets that would follow; the early arrivers moshing around to songs like “Tommy’s Party” and “Techo Show” from their debut album, titled Being So Normal. By the end of their 30 minute set, the crowd was buzzing in anticipation for their fellow Chicagoans in Post Animal.
Only a few short days prior to this show, one of Post Animal’s guitarists and vocalists Javi Reyes suffered a stroke onstage during their set supporting White Reaper in New York. While he had to remain in the ICU for a few days following the stroke, Reyes is bouncing back and on the road to full recovery, and he encouraged his bandmates to push through and continue the rest of tour without him. At The Metro on Tuesday night, the remaining four began their 45 minute set with drummer Wes Toledo addressing the crowd about Reyes’ situation, initiating a “Javi!” chant while he held up a cardboard cutout of his bandmate’s head that a friend had made for the show. Although there’s absolutely no replacing the flavor that Reyes adds to each of Post Animal’s performances, the group managed to rally together to reconstruct a very solid performance that absolutely shredded, despite the unfortunate circumstances. The hometown show highlights included the performance of the building and layered track “You Were Not There” from their The Garden Series EP, the psychedelic riffs of “When I Get Home” from the same EP, and their latest single “Special Moment,” which features a killer guitar solo and came along with a trippy and thrilling music video. Their set on Tuesday also included a rare performance of “Lorelei,” which features guitarist Matt Williams taking the lead on vocals and will be included on their upcoming album. While the absence of Reyes stood out to the many friends and fans in attendance, his bandmates gave the show their all and the crowd reciprocated that energy right back, not only moshing, but also kicking off the steady stream of crowd surfing that would continue throughout White Reaper’s set.
Following a thirty minute changeover, the self-proclaimed “World’s Best American Band” stormed the stage with an unwavering enthusiasm that would only support their bold claim. By the time the opening chords of “Wolf Trap Motel” from White Reaper‘s sophomore album, called White Reaper Does It Again, rang out into the venue, the crowd had completely filled in. The Louisville rockers immediately played off of and amplified the infectious positive energy that Post Animal and Peach Pit had generated, with crowd surfers popping up during the early part of the setlist. As the audience thrashed around and lifted one another up to cruise over the crowd, the five piece worked the entire stage and poured every ounce of gusto that they had into the show. Bassist Sam Wilkerson often gained some serious air jumping in place on his side of the stage, while Ryan Hater would hang out at the edge of the stage to hype up the crowd whenever he wasn’t fervently playing the keyboard, and lead singer and guitarist Tony Esposito would drop to his knees to ground his guitar playing.
The hour long set contained a fair bit of White Reaper’s aforementioned sophomore album, but crowd favorites definitely included “The Stack” and “Judy French” from the group’s 2017 album The World’s Best American Band, which has propelled the Kentucky based band into the limelight of the rock scene this year. Before the band’s explosive performance of the latter (“Judy French”), Esposito proposed that the crowd start an all female circle pit during the tune. While the ladies of the pit bopped around, confetti shot out into the crowd to create a rare confetti circle pit. As the set wound down during the last bit of the 9’o clock hour, so much crowd surfing and moshing had occurred, but the band only kept it up themselves. Esposito and Wilkerson challenged each other to their nightly shot and [crowd]surf race, in which they surf over to the venue’s bar, take a shot and then race back to the stage. During the race, Colin Croom and Cadien Lake James of Chicago’s own Twin Peaks joined the remainder of the band onstage to lend a hand to the background music that amped up the anticipation induced by the race. Clay Frankel of Twin Peaks could also be spotted down in the pit, hyping up the audience. By the time the houselights came up after White Reaper’s encore of “Half Bad” and “Another Day,” the Metro had endured one of its rowdiest shows in recent days, featuring some classic Chicago camaraderie.
Check out our gallery of all three bands below to relive the unforgettable experience!
Keep up with each band on social media below, and if you can, please consider donating to Javi Reyes’ recovery fund by clicking here.
Red Bull Sound Select’s 30 Days in Chicago celebrated day 2 of their multi-venue, multi-day festival with Chicago’s own Whitney and NE-HI at The Metro. As guests filed into the city’s legendary venue, the room buzzed with anticipation for the hometown show, which was actually Whitney and NE-HI’s first performance at the Wrigleyville concert hall.
Philadelphia’s up and comers Mt Joy warmed up the stage for both Chicago bands, returning a few months after their Lollapalooza debut this past summer. The band eased the audience into the evening with their blend of indie folk and rock tunes, including their popular tracks “Sheep” and “Astrovan.”
After a quick changeover of sets, NE-HI walked onto stage to a whopping welcome of cheers and applause. The local four piece commanded the audience’s attention immediately with their fervent performance of their fuzzy rock songs. Lead singer Jason Balla’s distinct vocals and the band’s signature guitar styling have given them a unique sound, which has caught the attention of music fans across the country. Just this year, the band have toured nearly nonstop, playing SXSW, Daytrotter Downs, and Pitchfork Festival. Live, the band add another layer of vehemence and eagerness to their music, with Balla thrashing around the stage and guitarist Michael Wells jumping up and down throughout their set. Set highlights included their songs “Stay Young,” “Since I’ve Been Thinking,” and the title track of their 2017 album Offers. By the time NE-HI walked off the stage, the crowd was full warmed up and ready for Whitney’s first performance at Metro.
Just before Whitney took the stage, the front few rows were handed roses as an ode to the album cover of Whitney’s debut record Light Upon The Lake, and to add another special touch to the night. Whitney have turned heads with their layered and cinematic tunes; Their folk rock songs often featuring a horns section accompanying Ehrlich’s telltale falsetto vocals, both of which put a signature stamp on their music. The band also stands out with their unique stage setup, as lead singer Julien Ehrlich also drums during their live performances. Whitney’s hour long set at Metro featured some of their most popular tracks, but early on in the night Erlich told the audience that their set that night would be a little different than most nights. Their performance also featured a few covers of legendary artists, like Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Although the set started off minimal with Erlich performing the first song at the keyboard before moving over to his drum set at center stage, the energy built up as the night went on and the band were joined onstage with a live string section. The addition of the strings added another level of richness and warmth to the show, especially combined with the horns section. Whitney’s stunning and special hometown performance wrapped up past midnight with a three song encore, consisting of “Golden Days,” “Rolling Blackout,” and their most popular track “No Woman.”
The electric energy that filled The Metro at the end of night reflected the captivating quality of the Red Bull Sound Select shows. The shows have brought some of the best bands and musicians around to the city this month, and the lineup at this show particularly appealed to Chicago music fans, most of which felt a burst of pride at seeing the success of their fellow Chicagoans.
Check out our gallery of all three bands to relive the incredible evening, and head here for the scoop on the rest of 30 Days in Chicago.
You can grab Whitney and NE-HI‘s records at the shop, or click on their names to shop the webstore for them!
Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett— and their band of Sea Lice–closed out their three night sold out streak in Chicago at the legendary Empty Bottle. The pair took the stage just around 9:30, forgoing an opener, to perform songs from their recently released collaborative album Lotta Sea Lice. Their stunning performance began with Vile and Barnett’s debut single from the aforementioned album, “Over Everything.”
From the get go, the crowd at the intimate venue radiated their excitement, displaying as much enthusiasm as a crowd of a larger size. Vile and Barnett radiated a similarly infectious energy, and an electric current of chemistry flowed between the duo and their other bandmates, which included Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney. While the pair performed songs from their Lotta Sea Lice album, they also bounced back and fourth between performing their own songs and covers from other artists. Although they both performed songs from their past albums, Barnett and Vile reworked their songs to make them duets, with Barnett taking on parts in Vile’s songs like “Life Like This” and “On Tour.” Vile also contributed to the live performances of Barnett’s songs like “Depreston” and “Dead Fox.” While they performed, the two would often back away from their microphone stands to meet in the middle of the humble stage, facing each other as they strummed their guitars. Whenever they did this, the musical chemistry between them only grew stronger, making the show that much more special.
Other highlights of the set included the performance of Belly’s song “Untogether” and Gillian Welch’s song “Elvis Presley Blues.” The latter opened up the band’s three song encore, and Vile and Barnett performed that cover as a duo without their band. The stripped back performance allowed for the duo’s harmonies and flawless vocals to really shine through. As the night wound down, Barnett mentioned that the Empty Bottle had been where she played her first show in Chicago, so it was great to be back. The set closed out with two more of the pair’s own songs; “Pretty Pimpin'” and “Avant Gardener.”
The pairing of Barnett and Vile on this album and the accompanying tour showcases the magic that can happen when artists come together and instill a sense of community and camaraderie in the music industry. If you missed out on the spectacular evening, check out our photo gallery of the show below.
See the rest of the Courtney and Kurt tour dates here, You can also snag a copy of Barnett and Vile’s collaborative album at the shop, order it from the webstore at any time right here.
This article was originally published via ANCHR Magazine
While most publications are showcasing the fantastic gigs happening at venues like Quenchers, Lincoln Hall, Hideout, and more – I decided to shine the spotlight onKnowhere, a DIY space hosting its2nd Annual Halloween Spookshow. $7 for 7 acts, it’s an underground show full of locals you don’t wanna miss!
I chatted withMy Bad(playing asPixies) andEx Okays (playing asThe Doors) prior to this shindig, which will start at 7:30PM (no punk time!). Find out why they picked those iconic rock bands, a little bit about their originals, and what to look forward to at the show!
My Bad: We chose Pixies cuz we all really like ‘em (except Dez) and thought we could jam on the songs really well.
Ex Okays: There was a lot of back and forth about which band because we all mostly wanted our respective favorite bands (The Smiths,Weezer, Pixies, et cetera). We figured it made sense to choose one that none of us are radically raving about, but is still very groovin’ and has equally cool parts for all the instruments in the group – especially now that we’ve got keyboard and all.
Do you like the tradition of covers only around Halloween? Why or why not?
MB: We do like the tradition of covers (except Dez), but we’ve never done any up until now – mainly because we’ve spent so much time on our original stuff.
EO: Yes, it gives bands a chance to play something different and have a little extra fun during the spirit of the holiday. It also opens up the show to more people.
What do you think was the most difficult instrumentation while learning the tracks forPixies andThe Doors, respectively?
MB: Vocals have definitely been pretty f*ckin’ hard for us because Black Francis’s vocal arrangements are very stylized and he puts things in weird places that took us a little while to figure out.
EO: Learning Doors tunes challenged all of us but especially the organ and vocal parts had to be the most difficult since Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison were such skilled musician.
Are you willing to name a track you’re covering? If so, what is it?
EO: One of our favorites to play is “Roadhouse Blues”. All of us get really into the tune and put on our stank faces throughout the whole song.
How would you describe your original music?
MB: Our original music is a big mix of all of our individual music ideas/tastes/expectations. Our goal has always been to write songs people can jam to and it ends up creating a kind of alternative, classic rock, psych vibe. We’ve always been somewhat reluctant to declare a genre forMy Bad as none of us really know – it’s kind of all over the place. We have songs that are short and fast called f*ck you, psych jams about knights, to a full EP of love songs.
MB: Right now, we just put out ourSpooky Lovin’ EP so we’ll be getting back in the studio to continue working and recording. Hopefully by early next year get out theMy Bad self-titled ep, which we’re really looking forward to.
EO: We’re currently recording some new tunes that we’ve been writing and plan to release an album soon. We’ve got a few singles on deck and have some shows in and out of the city coming up in the next month.
Mark the show in your calendar by RSVP’inghere. See ya there!
Alicia Maciel is a junior at DePaul University studying marketing, music business, public relations, and advertising. Immersing in photography, promotion, interviews, interning at Metro and Notion Presents, managing The Chicago Vibe, curating live music, and plenty more – she hopes to bring innovation to the music scene. “A Chicagoan gal making music personnel personal.”