This past Thursday night, The Wombats closed out the first day of Lollapalooza 2018 with a sold out aftershow at Lincoln Hall
As the clock struck midnight, hoards of music fans had piled into Lincoln Hall to celebrate the end of the first day of Lollapalooza with The Wombats. Although they had just performed out in Tinley Park with The Pixies last month and at Lollapalooza earlier that day, the last time The Wombats had performed as a headliner in Chicago was more that two years ago, when they played The Metro in support of their album Glitterbug. Despite the late start time of the aftershow, old and new fans of the band buzzed with anticipation during the moments leading up The Wombats’ entrance to the small stage, everyone anxious to hear some of their old favorites as well as the freshest material from this year’s Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life.
The set began with the new; The group opened with “Cheetah Tongue,” the first track off their fourth studio album, but from there on, the setlist took twists and turns through The Wombats’ extensive catalog of material. Following “Give Me a Try” from Glitterbug, the band threw it back to 2011 and 2007 with “1996” and “Kill The Director.” While The Wombats did a great job at compiling a setlist of songs that highlighted each of their album eras, one of the best experiences of the show was looking around and seeing fans scream the lyrics along with lead singer Matthew Murphy and dance throughout the night with unwavering gusto, during every single song. Murphy and bandmates Dan Haggis and Tord Øverland have continuously mastered creating music that blends clever and sharp narratives with danceable melodies and grooving bass lines, allowing for fans to connect with the lyrics while dancing it out.
Live, the trio translates their records to life with a keen stage presence and unmatched chemistry, which stems from their years and years of playing music together. Despite their grueling tour and travel schedule as of late and the fact that they had played Lollapalooza earlier that afternoon, The Wombats never skimped on the energy during their show at Lincoln Hall; Øverland still delivered his signature kicks and jumps as he played bass and Murphy often paraded around the stage with his guitar. The entire room was already beaming from ear to ear as the set came to a close, but the band still had one more surprise up their sleeves. During iconic tune “Let’s Dance To Joy Division,” three people dressed up head-to-toe in wombat suits rushed the crowd and stage to close out the night, and everyone (even the wombats) clapped along to the athemic bridge of the song.
Following the humorous guest appearance, The Wombats (the band) returned for an encore, bringing along the costumed wombats again. The three song encore consisted of one of their recent singles, “Turn,” “Tokyo-Vampires & Wolves” from their earlier days, and “Greek Tragedy” from their third album, once again equally representing all of their eras. No matter what year your favorite song from The Wombats comes from though, there’s no denying their music and their live show has a timeless quality to it; it will always be a challenge to find anyone having a bad time at a Wombats show.
Check out photos from the show below, and see where you can catch The Wombats next here.
2018 has already been a whirlwind for the Seattle trio Naked Giants; Between releasing their debut album, touring Europe with Car Seat Headrest, and playing new cities for the first time, it’s certainly been a year of career landmarks, and things aren’t slowing down for the band any time soon.
Back in May, the group played Chicago for the first time, packing Schubas Tavern on a Saturday night. Just as the audience warmly welcomed Naked Giants to their city, the band made sure everyone in the crowd had a great time by periodically checking in to make sure everyone felt comfortable, promoting a completely safe space at their show.
Before the show began that night, I had a chat with the band, talking everything from movie soundtracks, their bucket lists, starting a New West Records super group, and their proactive songwriting habits. For all that and more, get to know Naked Giants now.
THEIR FIRST MUSICAL MEMORIES HEAVILY INVOLVE MOVIE SOUNDTRACKS
The three members of Naked Giants all remember getting into music at different ages, but there’s a common thread in all of their introductions to music. Gianni Aiello says he remembers laying in his dad’s bed with a green iPod listening to “Human” by The Killers, but adds “Before that I really liked the SpongeBob Movie soundtrack. That had some tunes on it. When I look back on it, it’s like Flaming Lips, Ween, Avril Lavigne, Wilco… It’s a pretty cool soundtrack.”
Drummer Henry LaVallee also had early memories of movie scores. “I remember this movie called Bedknobs and Broomsticks, with Angela Lansbury,” LaVallee says, animatedly describing the film. “It’s like an old Disney movie from the 70’s, it took place in Britain during World War II. It was like a musical, but it was one of those trippy ones where the first act is all humans, and then at the start of the second act, they go into a cartoon world. So these humans are interacting with—it’s like Roger Rabbit. Then they get out of this cartoon world, but it follows this Medieval story book and it’s a really good movie honestly. These kids are orphaned from the war and then Angela Lansbury is like a witch and she takes them in.” Aiello interjects at one point to ask if it’s like Nanny McPhee, and LaVallee continues, “Little bit, little bit. Then the kids don’t believe in magic and they think Angela sucks, but then she’s actually badass. They also all sing together. And Angela doesn’t like the kids either, she’s forced to have them, but then they’re all really chummy by the end of it and they fight off the Nazis with magic at the very end and it’s really cool. But the music in that [inspired me]. So we used to watch that, it was a great summertime movie. Or Meatballs with Bill Murray and the songs in that!”
As for guitarist Grant Mullen’s first musical memories, he recalls having a tiny Casio keyboard. “They’re really small and they sound really weird. I just remember playing really scary music, cause you know it’s really easy to play music like that when you have no idea what you’re doing. I was probably 4 or 5 when my parents got me that.”
THEY’VE PLAYED SXSW THE LAST THREE YEARS
SXSW usually does quite the number on bands with schedules involving multiple shows a day all around town, but Naked Giants hasn’t let that madness deter them from returning to Austin for the last three years in March. However, they all agree that this year had been the best by far, confirming that the third time really is a charm. “It was better in every way. We played better shows on average, there were people at the shows. We got to stay with our friends Ron Gallo. We had some good connections. We made some friends…The Do512 people who are all super nice. We’re actually gonna see one of them in New York cause their other coworkers [DoNYC] are there. Just in general it was a good vibe. Just like the flow and all of that,” Aiello said.
Mullen mentions that the group got to see their label-mate Caroline Rose for the first time at this past SXSW. “Meeting her was kind of like meeting a cousin. It was like oh, we’re probably gonna get along. You know? It weirdly reminded me of that. And we totally did, I thought,” LaVallee added.
THEY WANT TO START A NEW WEST RECORDS SUPER GROUP
Speaking of New West Records label-mates, if you’ve ever seen some of the label’s artists like Naked Giants, Caroline Rose, and Ron Gallo perform live, you might have realized that they all have an unforgettable stage presence. Well, Naked Giants has also recognized that trait about themselves and their extended record label family too. “I realized after seeing Caroline, and after touring with Ron, that New West Records–what they really love is gimmicks. We have the whole smorgasbord of everything we do on stage. Ron’s got the whole trumpet thing and playing a guitar with a skateboard or whatever. Caroline and her band have the outfits and the end of her show where she pulls out the recorder. So New West wants something that people will remember,” Aiello says. Mullen interjects to say, “People that don’t take themselves too seriously.” Aiello continues, “Exactly, that. So I had this dream of forming a super group of all 3 of our bands. I don’t know what the music would sound like…”
While they may have no idea what it will sound like, they do have some idea of the band name, and how it could work. “What if the name was Mick and the Gimme Gimmes?” LaVallee suggests. “That’s good, gimme more! There’s this band called Superorganism and they’re like a collective thing, but they would send music across different countries. Like one of them lived in England and one of them lived in Greenland, I don’t know if anyone lives in Greenland… But I would imagine it would be something like that [where we send music to each other],” Aiello ponders about the structure of the group.
THEIR FAVORITE PERFORMERS RANGE FROM THE LEMON TWIGS TO FREDDIE MERCURY
Speaking of memorable stage presence, the members of Naked Giants always seem to give 200 percent of their energy whenever they perform. So whose stage presence do they admire the most? “Freddie Mercury,” LaVallee says, adding that he tries his best to be the “Freddie Mercury of the drum kit.”
“I was just talking to somebody yesterday about The Lemon Twigs,” Aiello says. “I haven’t seen them live yet, but I’ve seen videos and that one kid’s got some really good kicks. So I started doing kicks after I saw that.”
Mullen adds, “I don’t think I’ve ever admitted this, but now that I think about it, early White Stripes, Jack White stage presence. Cause he just you know, looked so almost like, he had mixed emotions while he was playing. He didn’t want the crowd to even look at him. Cause he didn’t like being there, but he really wanted to tell them something really important. Which was I’m a white guy singing the blues. Something about that, like he has this weird vibe that I remember thinking was really cool when I would watch them play. Now when I watch modern Jack White, I still like him, but it comes off as a little pretentious doing it twenty years.”
Aiello also mentions that the group caught [Thee] Oh Sees’ set at Sasquatch festival and realized that’s where Grant gets all his stuff. “[John Dwyer] looks like a lizard man too, but he surprisingly doesn’t move that much. He just does weird little gimmicks, like spits in the air and catches it in his mouth. Something I also steal from him is the mouth around the microphone. He really throats that thing,” Mullen says. If you still have yet to see Naked Giants live, you can get a glimpse of their energetic stage presence from the photos below of their Schubas show.
THEY’RE NOT PROCRASTINATORS WHEN IT COMES TO ALBUM WRITING
Naked Giants’ debut album just came out in March this year, but despite their busy touring schedule, the band has already started working on new material. Rewinding back to the release of the first album, Mullen says, “It’s just good to get it out. So people can listen to twelve of our songs in a row now…. If they want to. They all sound pretty similar production wise…They’re all one package that you can experience our songs. Before everyone was like who is this band? Like I’ve heard of them, but they just have six songs on an EP, what’s the deal? And now we have an album.”
“The best response was a review on some online magazine, and it was a really nice review. They were like we really like this album, love all the tracks, and then they called the album Slush instead of Sluff,” Aiello chimes in. While the group were happy to finally get out a cohesive catalog of their music that’s been well received, rather than relishing in the debut, they’re eager to get out even more material. “We actually just recorded nine demos in the week and a half we had off between tours. One actual song that’s gonna hopefully be a single in the fall or something like that,” Aiello continues, highlighting the group’s work ethic.
Despite their eagerness to release new material, don’t get too excited for their sophomore album just yet; Mullen disclaimed they potentially have sixteen months of promoting and touring backing their first record. “It’s never a bad idea to just have the next one done,” Aiello says about their sophomore effort, mentioning that they’re only that proactive when it comes to making music. “In all other areas of life we are [procrastinators]. We like to make albums.”
THEIR MUSIC CONTAINS EASTER EGGS
The trio has even gone as far as constructing a loose common theme throughout the new material. “It’s secret though,” Mullen says, but Aiello hints that their might be some clues in the last song of the first album. Going back to their love of film, the band admits they’re fans of putting easter eggs in their work, which is a common factor in movie and tv series. “Once all the albums are out, if you really like our band, you’ll be able to find all these things and nerd out about [the Easter eggs],” Mullen reveals. At this point, LaVallee pointed to an Alfred Hitchcock book under the green room coffee table, saying the book was a good hint to their future work without using any words. Elaborating on the connection of film and their music, Mullen adds, “I feel like a lot of times I get inspired by the feeling I get from watching a movie. If it’s very dark, I might be in that place for a while. I don’t do it consciously.”
The group also says they’ve tossed around the idea of a TV show for the band. “Like a Naked Giants TV show, we’re always thinking how to make that work. We might have to start it as a web series. Then for one of the future albums we have planned, we’re hoping to do a visual album.”
THEY PERFORM DOUBLE DUTY WITH CAR SEAT HEADREST
This year, Naked Giants got the opportunity to not only open for Car Seat Headrest, but to join Will Toledo’s live lineup during Car Seat’s set on the tour. The gig has certainly added to the band’s workload on tour, but it’s also given them the opportunity to cross a lot of places and goals off their bucket list. This year, Naked Giants has already toured Europe and performed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and they’ll be continuing on another double duty tour this fall in The States.
While the band is grateful for all the career-highlight opportunities they’ve had with Car Seat Headrest, they remain ambitious to achieve the same feats as Naked Giants too. This fall, they’ll be playing their first major conventional festival when they return to Austin for Austin City Limits. “We’re doing this whole thing with Car Seat Headrest, going to Europe….but ACL is the kind of first big step that’s just Naked Giants. I mean of course we’ve done SX and that kind of stuff, but there’s a huge difference when you start doing the festival circuits. Then that gives me hope for next year, maybe in the summer, we’ll start doing Coachella, Lollapalooza, etc…” Aiello says. They’re also keen to cross off all of the Seattle staples from their list, naming The Neptune and The Paramount Theatre as the ultimate goals.
Check out Naked Giants’ upcoming tour dates here (Chicago, they’ll be at The Riviera on September 7th), and order your own copy of Sluff here.
Cut Worms and King Tuff kicked off Memorial Day weekend with an incredible show at Lincoln Hall.
The dynamic show began right at 9PM, with singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Sasami performing solo on a dimly lit stage. As she sang through her stripped back, personal narratives, Sasami told hilarious anecdotes between songs, warming the early crowd up for the rest of the show. Sasami would return later in the night to play in King Tuff’s band, but first the Brooklyn based project of Max Clarke, Cut Worms, took the stage for a homecoming of sorts, as Clarke had previously lived in Chicago for several years. After a successful debut EP, Clarke released his debut full length album Hollow Ground earlier this month, and his 45 minute set consisted of the majority of the album. Clarke and his band members had the crowd eagerly soaking up the twang soaked mix of alt-country and indie rock tunes, which pull in just a pinch of psychedelic and folk rock influences. Clarke’s refreshing spin on timeless roots had the audience dancing along to his more upbeat songs like “Don’t Want To Say Good-bye,” but he also kept the set versatile by slowing things down to perform a song sans band towards the end of the show.
Eventually everyone had trickled into the concert hall, the stage had been set, and King Tuff and his band graced the stage for the final act of the night. The setlist started with the hypnotizing title and opening track of King Tuff’s latest album, The Other, which just came out in April. With the crowd hooked after that slightly slower tempo track, the energy ramped right back up with trippier “Raindrop Blue,” laden with shredding guitar riffs. King Tuff and his band added an edge of flare to their show with flashy outfits, but they kept the focus on their musicianship by not adding in any intricate stage production. The carefully plotted setlist weaved in some older favorites between songs from the new record, like “Unusual World” from the 2012 self-titled record and “Freak Me When I’m Dead” from 2008’s Was Dead record. King Tuff kept the setlist completely refreshed by even throwing in a brand new track. “They’re all new, but this one is even newer,” King Tuff said before playing “Portrait of God.” No matter what era of King Tuff discography any of the songs came from though, each tune had the crowd grooving and moving along, which nods to the versatile and universal quality of these albums and songs.
If you missed out on the show, check out our photo gallery of the evening below.
Grab your copy of The Other via the online store here, or come into the shop to snag it!
“This is the first time we sold out Chicago,” Hinds tells the packed house at Lincoln Hall on Tuesday night. On the Madrid quartet’s current tour, sold out shows are no rare occurrence; they’ve had a recent streak of shows that have been overflowing with eager fans. Although this last show might have been Hinds’ first official sold out show here, they’ve also had no shortage of rowdy moments in the city in the last year. Last May, they played a free show at The Empty Bottle, which had fans lined up around the block to attend, and they played Lincoln Hall earlier this year as part of the annual Tomorrow Never Knows Festival.
Back in January, Hinds had recently announced the release date of their sophomore album I Don’t Run, and dropped their first single “New For You.” While they teased the new material at that show, performing the new single, their show last week was the first time many of the songs in their set had been played in Chicago. During their 75 minute set, the band performed the majority of their second album, opening up with “The Club.” Whether they were playing the new material or old favorites like “Easy” or “Garden,” the audience remained keen to have a great time; dancing, moshing, and even crowd surfing throughout the night. Despite their intense and grueling tour schedule, accompanied with a busy press schedule, the members of Hinds burst onto stage with a surge of energy, boasting infectious smiles, and the positive vibes remained present the whole show. Whether they were dancing together or telling funny anecdotes between songs, the members of Hinds always kept the mood lighthearted.
Towards the end of the show, the momentum of the evening peaked (pun intended) when members of Twin Peaks and Goodbye Honolulu crashed the stage to give Hinds a hand in performing “Davey Crockett” from their EP The Very Best of Hinds So Far. The unruly guest appearance featured Carlotta Cosials getting on Cadien James of Twin Peaks’ shoulders, stage diving from Twin Peaks’ Clay Frankel and Jack Dolan, and some champagne popping; making for an unforgettable moment in an already unforgettable show.
During the show, Carlotta had mentioned that Chicago is the closest city in America that they have to their hometown of Madrid, and another wildly successful show here proved that the city feels just as fondly about Hinds.
If you missed out on getting tickets to this show, check out photos from the evening with Bunny and Goodbye Honolulu, and see the rest of Hinds’ tour dates here.
Order your own copy of I Don’t Run on the web store here, or come grab it in the shop!
This past Thursday night, Unknown Mortal Orchestra returned to Chicago for the first time since 2016, touring in support of their latest record Sex & Food, out April 6th via Jagjaguwar Records.
The 90 minute set started off heavy with songs from Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s early catalog, easing the crowd into their new material. The night kicked off with”Ffunny Ffrends,” a track from the band’s debut, self-titled record, which was followed by “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)” from their second album. As the setlist weaved through the band’s diverse discography, frontman Ruban Nielson and the rest of the band maintained an incredibly tight sound throughout the entire show. While the performance remained incredibly sharp, the band also had a relaxed and infectious energy about them, often extending out their tracks with instrumental breaks that added depth to the live experience of their records.
Early on in the evening, during “From The Sun,” Nielson actually jumped into the crowd with his guitar and played his way through the entire room, even making it up to the balcony. From that moment on, the crowd’s eyes clung to the stage, the audience eager to soak up the showmanship and musicianship that Unknown Mortal Orchestra has expertly honed in on over their years together. While the band exuded an incredible stage presence, an intricate lighting show backed them, adding another facet to their live production. Between the production quality, the setlist selection, and the chemistry of the band members, Unknown Mortal Orchestra put on the perfect show.
If you get the chance, do not miss Unknown Mortal Orchestra on this tour–see the remaining dates here.
Photos of Unknown Mortal Orchestra at The Vic, May 3rd, 2018
You can grab your copy of Sex & Food at the shop or on the web store here, and keep up with UMO on Instagram and Facebook.