Live Recap: Post Animal Plays a Rowdy Record Release Show to a Packed Lincoln Hall

At almost every concert you go to, there’s a sort of unspoken bond amongst audience members; a mutual love of music and an interest in the particular band performing that can take strangers, put them into a cramped room, and turn them into friends by the end of the night. At Post Animal’s album release show on Friday night, the room buzzed with an electrifying sense of camaraderie from the second the doors to Lincoln Hall opened. For many in the audience, they had already formed friendships with one another, due to the supportive nature of the Chicago music scene, and the show that would follow would only bring that community even closer.

Like most Chicago bands that have begun to garner attention nationally, and even internationally, during the last couple of years, Post Animal got their start playing DIY shows in basements and gritty locations around the city before eventually working their way up to headlining slots at the likes of The Hideout, The Empty Bottle, and The Subterranean. Headlining a sold out show at Lincoln Hall sits towards the top of many bands’ bucket lists in the city, so when Post Animal made their way up to checking this feat off their list, they made sure to put together a special show for the 500 lucky audience members that scored tickets to the gig.

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First, they had some of the freshest local (and soon-to-be local) talent warm up the stage for them, with Rookie kicking off the night. Although they’re a new project and just released a debut single last week, Chicago music scene veterans Joe Bordenaro and Max Loebman act as the group’s leaders, working together on new music and revamping music from their past projects. Their experience of playing music for years in other projects gives them a commanding stage presence and sense of chemistry as bandmates that you rarely see in a new band. By the time Rookie’s set had finished, most of the room had already filled in, and anyone who had started the night unaware of Rookie had quickly been converted to a new fan after witnessing their live show.

Next up, Slow Pulp mesmerized the packed house with their dreamy mix of psychedelic, pop, and punk tones for the next 45 minutes. Hailing from Madison, Slow Pulp will soon be making a permanent move down to Chicago, and the audience response on Friday confirmed that they will be welcomed with open arms once they make the move later this year. The crowd gave the band their undivided attention as they played through songs from their self-produced and released EP2, which is actually the band’s first release since the addition of lead singer Emily Massey. The audience sang along with Massey throughout the show, especially during “Preoccupied,” which has stacked up close to 200,000 streams on Spotify.

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Eventually the time came for Post Animal to hit the stage, and the current of energy that had been surging through the venue was further intensified when the opening riffs of “Gelatin Mode” rang out into the room. Although they’ve been playing the song live for months, the band had only recently released the track as a single with an accompanying, must-watch music video, and it acted as the perfect kickstart to the rowdy evening that would follow. Of course, no Post Animal show would be complete without a little (or a lot of) crowd surfing and moshing, and “Gelatin Mode” set the tone for a wild night when the crowd immediately started thrashing around to the fast-paced song.

Another new single from When I Think Of You In A Castle, “Tire Eyes,” followed, only slightly slowing down the pace. The exuberance of the crowd remained intact however, never wavering as the setlist weaved between songs featuring in-your-face guitar solos, like “Special Moment” and “Victory Lap: Danger Zone,” and more mellow, winding psychedelic-tinged tracks like “Castle.” The band did a great job of strategically plotting the placement of each song in the setlist, allowing for the audience fully appreciate the diverse texture and sonic diversity of not only their newest material, but some old favorites from their first two EPs. To assist with the flow of the set, the band even worked out more elaborate and refreshed transitions between songs, adding another layer to the new songs that fans can’t experience from just listening to the record.

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After playing through the majority of When I Think Of You In A Castle and staples like “Alabaster” and “You Were Not There” from their earlier catalog, Post Animal closed the first part of their set with their viral track “When I Get Home,” which has always proved to be a crowd favorite with its grooving bass line and sweeping melody. At this point in the night, the room was overflowing with positive vibes, and the crowd had already been potentially the rowdiest that the Lincoln Park concert hall has ever hosted, but things only got crazier during the encore.

Cadien Lake James from Twin Peaks first took the stage with a bottle of champagne in hand to get the audience hyped for Post Animal’s return, further demonstrating the supportive nature of the city’s music scene. After the warm introduction, the band eased the audience into the final part of their set by kicking things off with “Goggles” from their 2015 EP Post Animal Perform The Most Curious Water Activities, but when they transitioned into “Dirtpicker,” it was no holds barred for the remainder of the show. The song anchors out their new album, but it has been the hype song of their live show for a while now, always riling up the crowd with its infectiously catchy riffs. The amiable spirits of the crowd peaked during this last song as everyone exerted their final ounces of energy, working to lift each other up to crowd surf or have one last go at moshing.

By the time Post Animal walked offstage on Friday night, it was clear to everyone in the crowd that they had just witnessed a very special moment (pun intended) and while this show marked a landmark achievement for the band, it’s truly only the beginning for them. You can catch Post Animal on a headlining national tour throughout the summer, with select shows featuring Slow Pulp or fellow Chicagoans Paul Cherry and Town Criers. The summer tour includes appearances at legendary festivals like Shaky Knees, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza (Chicago, catch them at Lolla on Friday, August 3rd). See the rest of their tour dates here, and snag a copy of When I Think Of You In A Castle  here.

More photos of Rookie, Slow Pulp, and Post Animal at Lincoln Hall on April 27th, 2018

 

This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine

Get To Know: Slow Pulp

The four members of Madison-based outfit Slow Pulp craft memorable songs with their ability to seamlessly blend dreamy vocals with psychedelic tones, pop melodies, and a dash of cheeky, punk attitude. Since the band self-released EP2 last March, the songs on the EP have made their way onto curated Spotify playlists and collectively racked up over 200,000 plays, standing out among the masses of young, indie bands. And rightfully so; there’s something about Slow Pulp that instantly clicks with listeners and fans of live music alike. Their live show captivatingly translates their recorded music to the stage, giving them a magnetic presence.

This past weekend, Slow Pulp warmed up the stage for their friends Post Animal and will join them again on select dates in the summer.  It’s only a matter of time before they’re playing even bigger shows to new audiences across the country, so before they blow up, get to know Slow Pulp first with these five facts we learned while chatting to them at Daytrotter last month!

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SCHOOL OF ROCK IS THE REASON THEY’RE PLAYING MUSIC

Well, one of them anyways. Lead singer Emily Massey admits that the Jack Black film is the reason she started taking guitar lessons, but says her past with music stems back to a very early age. “My dad is a musician so I have been playing music and performing for pretty much my whole life,” Massey says.  “The first time I sang onstage, I was like one and a half….I don’t remember that. I remember doing a talent show in kindergarten. I really didn’t want to do it, my parents made me do it. I was crying before I went and sang. I sang ‘This Little Light of Mine’,” she recalls, adding that her dad produced a hip-hop, R&B instrumental track of the song for her to sing along to. Although she initially dreaded it, Massey learned to love performing during that experience. “This was at Emerson Elementary school in Madison, WI. Talent show. Kindergarten. I was five and I had the time of my life playing onstage.”

Guitarist Henry Stoehr says his venture into playing music started a little later than that. “Alex [Leeds] and I were just talking about this earlier actually, but I think it was 6th grade for me. We went to see Modest Mouse in Madison, and this band called Man Man opened for them. I feel like that was the first really strange music I heard, or at least saw live. I don’t know exactly what it did, but I felt like it–I started caring about things I didn’t care about that before,” he says.

Bassist Alex Leeds chimes in, saying the Man Man show created an existential moment for him as well. “It was better than Modest Mouse, it was crazy. I don’t think it made me want to play music… It changed the kind of music that I wanted to make.” Leeds continued on, shouting out School of Rock. “I was playing cello in the strings program in my elementary school, and when Jack Black said ‘Cello, you’ve got a bass,’ I was like that’s what I’m gonna do! Then I got a 2×4 and I put some front marks on it and started practicing some Beatles songs and played in the school show that year on the bass.”

THEIR FRIENDSHIP WITH POST ANIMAL TRACES BACK TO SIXTH GRADE

Slow Pulp and Post Animal have shared the stage many times, but the friendship roots between some of the band members dig deep. Throughout the course of my talk with Slow Pulp after their show at Daytrotter, members of Post Animal would pop by to chime in. “Six grade chemistry,” Post Animal guitarist Javi Reyes interjects; explaining that Leeds, Stoehr, and drummer Teddy Matthews have so much chemistry as a group because they’ve been playing together since sixth grade.

That same sense of chemistry transfers to a strong bond with Post Animal, too. “Jake [Hirshland] actually played with one of Henry, Alex and I’s band in high school,” Matthews says. Besides playing in bands with each other, the members of both bands also share an instrumental bond. “I gotta give a shout out to my dad…He made Jake Hirshland and Emily’s guitars…and the bass that I play,” Leeds says.

Despite all the history, the current day line up of Slow Pulp actually hasn’t been around that long, with Emily Massey being the most recent addition. “It’s been about a year and a half,” says Stoehr. “We took this trip to Philly and just played two shows. That was the end of 2016.”

“[After those shows,] they were like wait, Emily is okay. She can stay. I started in this band as rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist. Then it evolved. Now I’m a lead guitarist and vocalist,” Massey adds.

THEY’RE MOVING TO….

Just like their lineup has changed over time, Slow Pulp’s home base will soon change. Although they’re currently based in Madison, Slow Pulp has already garnered buzz in Chicago by playing shows ranging from DIY gigs at Observatory to support slots at staples around the city, like Beat Kitchen and Lincoln Hall. It won’t be long until the group continues to tick off more and more Chicago venues from their list, though, since they’re moving here!

“There’s a rumor flying around,” says Massey. “It is true. We are moving to Chicago. Over Summer/Fall/Winter,” she continues. At the moment, Massey, Matthews, and Stoehr are currently Madison based, while Leeds lives in Minneapolis. Come September, the band will still be somewhat divided, but not for long. “The three of them, Emily, Henry and Alex, are moving to Chicago in September…then I’m still in school til January,” says Matthews.

The band members say they’re all excited to be based in one place again by the end of the year, but they still have a lot of love for the Madison music scene. “One thing I was talking about on the way down here about the Madison scene… we were noticing differences between the Madison scene and the Minneapolis scene specifically, but I think it might apply more broadly than that… People, when they come out to shows, in my experience, realize that they’re also performers in that situation. And give a lot to the bands. In Madison,” Leeds says. “I love playing in Madison for that reason. It’s a very responsive crowd and we feed off that and off each other. I don’t experience that anywhere else,” he continues.

“It can also change very drastically very fast. It’s like, most of the young people are there for a few years for school. It definitely feels like the music scene changes every few years,” Stoehr adds.

THEIR INFLUENCES RANGE FROM ST. VINCENT TO THEE OH SEES

Slow Pulp possesses a refreshingly unique aura onstage, but they have an array of artists whose stage presence they admire and get inspired by. The group all simultaneously agree on loving the stage presence of TOPS. “I’ve loved their music for a long time, and when I went to go see them live, I was unsure what to expect, but I was blown away. They have a really cool way of presenting chill music in an exciting way,” Leeds says.

“I think mine are maybe Thee Oh Sees cause they’re so nuts. Then Omni because they’re so controlled,” Stoehr says. The group also all agree on Omni and Khruangbin as huge inspirations, calling the latter the “psychedelic Preatures.”

Lastly, Massey throws out some more inspiration from all across the genre-sphere, starting off with her old pals. “Post Animal! Javier Reyes is my favorite onstage live performer. He goes hard,” she says, continuing, “I’ve seen St. Vincent play, and that was a life changing show. It was so theatrical.” She pauses, adding “David Bowie forever!” to round things out.

THEY’RE ALSO VISUAL ARTISTS

While making their music, Slow Pulp is usually heavily influenced by tones, colors, and visual art. The link to visual art inspiring their sonic scapes comes from the band members all dabbling in art themselves, and that also comes across clearly in the vision behind their “Preoccupied” music video.

“We were very involved with it,” Massey says about conceptualizing the video, and the band members all explain that they had a fleshed out concept, but the process remained flexible and fluid throughout the day. “We kept coming up with ideas as we were filming,” Massey adds, also shouting out their friend and director Damien Blue for helping with vision.

The band’s artistic vision and flexibility to work through ideas transfers into their writing process as well. “I think we definitely talk about music in a visual way, and use visual art that we like as reference points for emotions,” Stoehr says. “I think especially with colors. We talk about colors a lot in that way– And I think we usually get it, in terms of colors…We’ll be like ‘I want this song to be brown’,” Massey elaborates.

“I think the way I think of songwriting is pretty similar to painting. At least for me they’re very problem-solving oriented and reacting to what you’ve just done. In a really immediate sense. You kind of just make decisions,” Stoehr adds. Even with their somewhat long-distance writing situation, with Leeds residing in Minneapolis, the band say they focus on writing music with their live show in mind. “Even in our current situation, we’re still trying to write songs that are live songs,” they say.



There you have it! As for the new music and material that the band have been working on, they say they still aren’t exactly sure when it will be released. At the moment they’re working through the different pieces they’ve created, trying to thread them together in a way that makes the most sense.

While you wait for this new content, make sure you catch Slow Pulp in concert this summer. See all of their tour dates here.


This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine

Live Recap: Albert Hammond Jr and The Marías at Bottom Lounge

This past Friday night, The Marías and Albert Hammond Jr gave the sold out crowd at Bottom Lounge an unforgettable start to their weekend. Fresh off an intense SXSW schedule, The Marías joined Albert Hammond Jr on a stretch of tour dates supporting his latest album, Francis Trouble. While the weather for this April show may have been a little chillier than usual for this time of year, the Chicago audience still gave the LA natives a warm welcome, attentively listening and encouraging the band with claps and cheers between tracks from their velvety debut EP Superclean Vol. I. Throughout the set, the band’s lead singer, named–you guessed it–Maria, seemed completely at ease on the unfamiliar stage, her silky and dreamy vocals hypnotizing the room. By the time the band worked through their whole EP and even a cover of “Lovergirl” by Teena Maria, the audience had become so invested that they demanded an encore from The Marías. Unfortunately the band was unable to oblige as their stage time had come to an end, but hopefully they’ll return soon for a headlining show!

Next up, the legendary Albert Hammond Jr hit the stage with a burst of energy, which was immediately matched by the loyal and enthusiastic fans; the entire crowd loudly showed support by screaming along and dancing to the opening song “Caught By My Shadow.” Between songs, Hammond called out the audience’s noise levels with a nod of appreciation, telling the Bottom Lounge audience they had to be the loudest crowd yet on this tour. The electric dynamic between Hammond and the audience members remained in full swing the entire night; Hammond threw his all into his performance and the crowd would act as a boomerang, throwing the positive energy right back. Throughout the 90 minute set, Hammond and his band played songs from his discography, focusing on the brand new album Francis Trouble, released March 9th on Red Bull Records. While some fans may have been more familiar with every single song, singing along to the entire set, Hammond puts on the type of show that keeps an audience captivated for the entire show, no matter how familiar everyone is with the music. For fans old and new, Hammond created a safe space with his performance, where everyone could escape their troubles for the night and just focus on the pure entertainment and feel good vibes provided by Albert Hammond Jr.

In a world where we’re often laden with distractions, it’s rare to experience a performer as enthralling as Albert Hammond Jr, so if you get the chance to see his live show, don’t miss it. See the rest of Hammond’s tour dates here.

Photos of The Marías and Albert Hammond Jr at The Bottom Lounge

Grab your copy of Francis Trouble at the shop, or online here!


This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine

Live Recap: James Bay Returns to Chicago’s Metro With a Revamped Show

Following an insane show from Wolf Alice on Friday night, The Metro outdid itself with another sold out, stunning show from James Bay on Saturday night.


Way back in 2015, singer-songwriter James Bay played a sold out show at The Metro in Chicago during the height of success of his debut album, Chaos and the Calm. Now, after nearly three years, Bay returned to the same stage with new material and a new approach towards his older material. Although he’d taken a hiatus after he finished the touring cycle for Chaos and the Calm to finish his new album, when Bay and his band hit the stage on Saturday night, the jam packed venue full of loyal fans proved that their devotion to the singer had never wavered. Not only did the show sell out in a matter of minutes when it was announced earlier this year, but some fans lined up outside the venue as early as 9:30AM Saturday morning to get a coveted front row spot.

The fans’ patience all paid off when the set began around 9PM with unreleased song “Wasted On Each Other,” which sits second on the track list of Bay’s sophomore album Electric Light, out May 18th. Next up, the band brought the new album’s second single “Pink Lemonade” to life; backup singers adding another layer to the full band’s already rich sound. Following that quick taste of refreshing new material, the set dipped back into older material, the entire audience echoing the chorus of songs “Craving,” and “When We Were on Fire” back to the stage.

As the night went on, the room lit up with a sense of recognition whenever Bay dropped in old favorites in between the few new tracks, but the show possessed a vibrant sense of revitalization. Songs like “Let It Go” and “Best Fake Smile” received new life when the band performed both with fleshed out and extended introductions, rearranging the familiar tunes into new molds. When the night began to come to a close, Bay introduced a refreshed version of his hit “Hold Back The River,” beginning the track by repeatedly riffing the lyrics “lonely water” over a moody, chilled out introduction. The crowd cheered wildly when Bay and his band transitioned into the full song, their cheers blending into the song’s first verse.

The entire band left the stage for a short break following “Hold Back The River”, and Bay returned for a stripped back encore performance of his ballad “Need The Sun To Break,” giving the magical evening the perfect send off.

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind performance and to hear James Bay’s music revamped like you’ve never heard it before, do not miss the chance to see him in concert this year! Find more details on his upcoming tour dates below, and check out our photo gallery of his show at The Metro to get you pumped for the next concert.

Find the rest of James Bay’s upcoming tour dates here, and pre-order Electric Light here!


 

This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine 

 

 

Live Recap: Wolf Alice Returns to Chicago to Play Their Biggest Show Yet at Metro

This past Friday night, The Metro hosted an unforgettable show with Wolf Alice and The Big Pink


After fellow Londoners in The Big Pink warmed up the already jam-packed Wrigleyville venue, the crowd buzzed with anticipation for Wolf Alice to take the stage. Returning for the first time since July, when they played a special, one-off show at Schubas Tavern, the four piece had yet to play Chicago since the September 2017 release date of their sophomore album, Visions of a Life. For many of the fans at The Metro, this would be their first time seeing Wolf Alice in years, as their special Schubas show sold out in minutes, allowing just under 200 lucky fans to get tickets.

This time, more than 1,000 enthusiastic fans enthusiastically soaked up Wolf Alice’s remarkable live show. Very few bands are able to create something as special as Wolf Alice does, without any fancy bells and whistles or special effects; their live shows are driven by each band member leaving everything they have on the stage each and every night. Throughout the band’s entire discography, lead singer and guitarist Ellie Rowsell has demonstrated an incredible, emotive ability with her vocal range and technique, singing in a delicate falsetto in one song (or even one moment of a song), before transitioning right into a hearty growl in another. Live, Rowsell not only keeps up with her vocal ability in the studio version, she amplifies the power behind each and every lyric. Just like Rowsell throws her emotions and entire energy into her singing onstage, she and her bandmates all do the same with their instrument playing. Throughout the show, bassist Theo Ellis and guitarist Joff Oddie remained in motion the entire time, flinging around their guitars, holding their instruments up, and stepping out onto the edge of the stage to add even more passion into their already energetic playing.

The concert on Friday acted not just as a return for Wolf Alice to play new songs, but it happened to be the band’s biggest headlining concert in Chicago yet, Ellis told the crowd. Despite the size of the crowd, everyone remained hooked on the show the whole time as the band played through songs old and new. Wolf Alice kept the audience on their toes as they weaved in songs from 2015’s My Love Is Cool with 2017’s Visions of a Life, following up new songs like “Don’t Delete The Kisses” and “Planet Hunter” with “Bros” and “Lisbon” from the debut record. When the set started winding down, Wolf Alice treated the crowd to a surprise, when they brought out a fan to accompany them during their hit Moaning Lisa Smile.” Prior to the show, the band had tweeted asking for fans to send them videos of them playing the track on guitar, and guitarist Elaine Simmons from St. Louis made the cut. Simmons took over the guitar playing for Rowsell, allowing Rowsell to have the freedom to roam around on stage rather than remaining stationary by her microphone stand.

After an explosive performance of the fast-paced song “Fluffy,” the band left the stage, only to be summoned back for an encore. Juxtaposing the gritty performance of “Fluffy,” the encore started with the goosebump-inducing and stripped back track “Blush” from the band’s earliest EP. Rowsell commanded the sold out crowd’s attention with just her voice and guitar at the start of the song, and even as the song built up, the audience remained hypnotized. The spell broke and everyone went wild for the final song of the night; “Giant Peach.” Rowsell ended the magical evening on a high note, stagediving and crowdsurfing at then end of the song.

This show may have been Wolf Alice’s biggest Chicago show yet, but as the sea of devoted fans filed out of the theatre with huge smiles plastered on their faces, it was clear that the band will be warmly welcomed back, only to play bigger and bigger venues.



Photos of The Big Pink and Wolf Alice at Metro 3/30/18

Wolf Alice remains on tour throughout the Summer–do not miss them in a city near you. See all of their tour dates hereand order a copy of Visions of a Life from the Shuga Web Store here.