Live Review: White Reaper, Post Animal, and Peach Pit Put on One of the World’s Best Gigs at The Metro

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.

White Reaper: Facebook // Twitter //Instagram

Post Animal: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Peach Pit: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

You can also snag White Reaper’s The World’s Best American Band at the shop, or order it at online here.


This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine

Red Bull Sound Select Hosts a Packed Hometown Show for Whitney and NE-HI

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!


 

This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine

Knowhere’s Halloween Spookshow – A Chat with My Bad & Ex Okays

Words and Photos By Alicia Maciel 

Halloween – a time where music around the city consists of covers only shows, ranging from classic bands like AC/DC and David Bowie to more modern acts such as Radiohead, The Strokes, and even Paramore.

While most publications are showcasing the fantastic gigs happening at venues like Quenchers, Lincoln Hall, Hideout, and more – I decided to shine the spotlight on Knowhere, a DIY space hosting its 2nd Annual Halloween Spookshow. $7 for 7 acts, it’s an underground show full of locals you don’t wanna miss!

Knowhere Spookshow

I chatted with My Bad (playing as Pixies) and Ex Okays (playing as The 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!

What led to choosing Pixies and The Doors, respectively?

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.

Ex Okays, credit Alicia Maciel
Credit: Alicia Maciel 

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 for Pixies and The 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.

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Photo Courtesy of My Bad

Are you willing to name a track you’re covering? If so, what is it?

MB: We are willing to name a track we’re covering and it is “Monkey Gone to Heaven”.

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 for My 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.

EO: Maybe kinda like a fuzzy chorus-drenched melodic shitstorm but also the calm before it. We have a wide range of influences of older bands like The Beach Boys, The Smiths, Pixies and The Cure along with some more modern influences especially from Chicago (Twin Peaks, Smith Westerns, The Walters, Post Animal).

 

What are y’all working on right now?

MB: Right now, we just put out our Spooky Lovin’ EP so we’ll be getting back in the studio to continue working and recording. Hopefully by early next year get out the My 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.


As the rest of the show includes covers of Townes Van Zandt, Marshmello, Dion & The Belmonts, Bikini Kill, and Nirvana – keep in mind that discovering and becoming fans of the bands is the priority at this all-inclusive safe space!

Mark the show in your calendar by RSVP’ing here. 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.”

 

American Grizzly – Instore Insight

Words and Photos By Alicia Maciel 

Good ole’ fashioned rock n roll band American Grizzly performed in-store Friday, October 6. From sharing a few beers together to talking about shows going on the same night, the Southsiders put on a cozy show that drew a lot of people in. With Matt Ladd on vocals, Jack Doyle and Dennis Wilson on guitars, Marty Funk on bass, and Anthony Perez on drums, American Grizzly is a fantastic local act worth listening to.

While “Love Somebody Else” is my pick from their noise rock twist on American folk music, I chatted with Dennis, Marty, and Jack to learn some more about the band.

How did you choose your band name?

Marty: I was listening to a My Morning Jacket album I just picked up called It Still Moves right around the time we first started playing together 3 or 4 years ago. I was listening to the record and admiring the album art, which has this really groovy bear wrapped in tinsel with geometric patterns all around the front and back covers and the name “American Grizzly” came to mind. We were throwing around band names at that time and I suggested American Grizzly and it kinda just stuck.    

Are you guys actually local? If so, what neighborhood are you from?

Dennis: We’re all local. We’re all originally from the Southwest Side and have been living in different neighborhoods throughout the city for a while. Our studio’s in Pilsen.

How did you guys get to know one another?

Dennis: We all met through a mutual friend group. Marty and I grew up down the street from each other and have been playing music together since 7th or 8th grade. Jack and I kind of knew each other from mutual friends then I saw him play some Black Keys songs at an open mic and called him up to jam a few days later (7 or so years ago). Jack knew Matt and Anthony from some other bands they played in. Once we all got together,  we realized how many friends we all had in common. It felt very natural for us all to hang out.

What gear do you have? If any of you are gear heads, what does your gear mean to you?

Dennis: Marty plays an Epiphone Thunderbird bass that looks super cool and always gets compliments on how it sounds. He’s currently in the market for a Fender Mustang bass. Jack plays a Fender Stratocaster and, on special occasions, Telecaster and has a few different Fender amps he plays (shoutout to his Fender Champion 600 which is a small tube amp that’s too small to gig with but sounds amazing). He also has a Waterloo acoustic that you’ll hear a lot on the next EP. I play a Gibson ES 390 hollow body electric guitar through a Vox amp. I also have a Musicvox Space Cadet 12 string electric guitar that’s made its way onto a few recordings and a Gretsch lap steel for when a bit of twang is required. Anthony will use anything he can get his hands on for drums/percussion. He once recorded a steak knife on a metal mesh screen and it was exactly the sound we were looking for. Matt has the good fortune of his instrument being his voice – pure and simple. I look at a nice instrument like a work of art. They’re so cool looking and have such personality. At least with guitars, the way they look and feel definitely influence how you play them.

What do you think about Chicago’s music scene?

Marty: Chicago has a great scene and a lot of cool venues and house shows to either play or catch a show. Since we moved into our studio in Pilsen a couple years ago, we’ve been catching a lot of shows at Thalia Hall and have been itching to play there.

If you can describe your music (genre, tone, etc.), how would you describe it?

Jack: The American Grizzly sound in most simple terms is good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll, which gives us the luxury of pulling from a lot of different genres. Some of our tunes have heavy blues roots and others have a southern rock and/or country vibe. American Grizzly changes shape from show to show and album to album . We play folk songs, noise rock and pop tunes. We don’t really have a predetermined sound, so we can pretty much explore any area of music we want at any given moment and regularly do.

What’s your favorite song you’ve composed so far?

Jack: Favorite song we’ve composed so far is probably “Big City” because we got to collaborate with some awesome horn players and a great keyboard player here in Chicago. The song has a lot of energy and we enjoy playing it and listening to it. Anthony crashed his van the first time he heard the recording. That being said, our first album was recorded in Nashville, so any one of those songs could also take this slot.

Are you working on new music or touring soon?

Jack: We are going into the studio October 22nd to record a new EP. We are very excited. We are going to practice restraint.

What are your favorite Chicago bands?

Marty: We’ve all been diggin’ Lucille Furs album they put out a few weeks ago.

What are your influences?

Petty, Neil, Hendrix, Dylan, The Band, Auerbach, Aretha, Jim James, Dylan, Garcia, Petty, Lennon, Mic, Keith, Ray Charles, Natural Child, Brian Wilson, Allman Bros.,Freddie King, Jeff Tweedy, Pete Townshend, Clarence Carter, Denney and the Jets, John Prine, Stevie Wonder.


With their upcoming shows consisting of Lincoln Hall on November 2 and opening for Third Eye Blind December 1 at 115 Bourbon Street, make sure to catch American Grizzly before they hibernate in the studio to work on another EP.


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.”

Engine Summer – Revved Up

Words and Photos By Alicia Maciel 

At first listen, up and coming Elmhurst trio Engine Summer resonates rock music like that of Parquet Courts, Omni, and their biggest inspiration – Wire.

With a name that appears to have come from a mad lib, it turns out that the band got their name from a novel titled Engine Summer. As Jeremy Marsan, guitarist and vocalist, read the book in college and was fascinated by the plot line of society 3,000 years into the future – it’s no wonder he chose a band name that emphasizes the importance of time and motion.

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Engine Summer’s most recent lineup consists of Jeremy (mentioned above) with Ben Kostecki on bass and Ryan Ohm on drums. Being friends since high school with the possibility of being MySpace enemies at one point or another, they’ve all grown closer over the past few years. While Jeremy makes fun at Ben for his hands being “too small” to play bass way back when to simply goofing off with one another, the guys are more than ecstatic to be in a band together.

The group formed collectively after having had jammed for a while and narrowed down members to be the trio they are today. Starting to have played plenty of shows in 2014 and having had played 30-40 shows to date, they finally decided it’s time to make a record together as Engine Summer – titled Trophy Kids and self-engineered by Jeremy.

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While garnering influence from bands like Creedence Clearwater, Sonic Youth, Meat Puppets, Spoon, and any other krautrock bands – Jeremy, Ben, and Ryan bring some of those stylistic elements when composing songs. Recording the bass and drums together for their upcoming album release ensured that the rhythm carrying each track would bring adrenaline to any listener.

Attending concerts regularly and being active in the local scene is important for the suburban group. With their favorite local bands including Luke Henry, Twin Peaks, and Knox Fortune – it’s obvious that their taste delves into more than just rock music.

When asked what their ideal lineup would be, throwing names like Wire,Van Halen, Iggy Pop, and Ben’s dad performing slam poetry were no hesitation to the guys. While some merch they have coming out will include Elmhurst’s tree, you’ll see Engine Summer in the city more than you’d expect.

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With a top-secret release show followed by a benefit show at Tonic Room the same weekend, Engine Summer is bringing a limited run to their show Sunday, October 29. You can buy tickets here and who knows – maybe a record or two will end up at Shuga.

If Ben’s dad loves Engine Summer more than any of the other groups he’s been in, I’m pretty sure you’ll love ‘em too.


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.”