Live Review: Glass Animals at Aragon Ballroom

Glass Animals brought dance moves, pineapples, and an energetic performance to Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom last week


New York’s singer songwriter Amber Mark warmed up the sold out crowd with her lively pop and R&B fused tunes. Performing a 30 minute set composed mainly of songs off her debut EP, called 3:33AM, Mark showed off her powerful vocals while exuding a carefree and fun attitude.

Glass Animals took the fully decked out stage next, stocked with a pineapple disco ball, palm trees, and a prop TV. Hitting the stage in a blaze of energy, the British indie rockers commanded the crowd’s attention and had them all echoing back the words of songs from their sophomore album How To Be A Human Being. The exuberant and dynamic set included the entirety of the band’s second album, as well as a few of their most popular tracks, like “Black Mambo”  and “Gooey,” from their debut album ZABA. During the latter, Glass Animals’ frontman Dave Bayley jumped off the stage to bring his signature dance moves directly to the crowd. Between each song, the devoted audience erupted in nearly deafening applause and cheers, and Bayley never stopped expressing the band’s gratitude.  The memorable performance wrapped up just before 10PM, the crowd filing out of the ballroom with infectious smiles on their faces.

If you missed out on the show, check out our gallery of Amber Mark and Glass Animals below!

Check out the rest of Glass Animals’ tour dates here, and grab your copy of How To Be A Human Being on vinyl on the webstore, or in the shop!


 

This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine

Live Review: King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard and Mild High Club at Lincoln Hall

Mild High Club and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard made a perfect pairing for a double header of sold out shows at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall. The two groups created an IRL experience of “Sketches of Brunswick East” for the first time. 


Mild High Club took the stage shortly after 8PM on Monday for a hometown show that featured collaborations and additional layers that brought their recorded music to life. Kicking off the collaborations, vocalist Quinn Tsan joined the group to sing alongside lead singer and frontman Alex Brettin. Shortly after Tsan left the stage to a swooping round of applause, the band added in a saxophonist for a few songs, followed by a brief guest appearance of Adam LP from new Chicago outfit wavy id. While both Sunday and Monday night’s set included popular songs like “Windowpane” and “Tessellation,” Brettin and his bandmates switched up the order of their set each nice to make their show even more dynamic. The combination of guest appearances, a refreshed setlist, and a trippy light show made for an all encompassing and captivating performance from Mild High Club.

Australian psych rockers King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard hit the stage next with a blaze of guitar jams and pacing rhythms that never slowed down, thanks in large part to their two drummers. The seven piece group completely filled out the humble stage at the 500 capacity venue, and the crowd completely packed in to be as close as possible to stage. From the second the super group opened up with “Some Context” from their first album of 2017, Murder of the Universe, the audience and King Gizzard reciprocated one another’s energy levels. While frontman Stu MacKenzie would flip the top half of his body upside down, flail his guitar around, or flash his tongue to the crowd, the audience would thrash around in the mosh pit, which amplified in intensity as the 90 minute set progressed. The set spanned the course of several of King Gizzard’s albums, but the crowd got the rowdiest during “Rattlesnake” from Flying Microtonal Banana and “Gamma Knife” from Nonagon Infinity. At some points, a few audience members attempted to crowd surf (before being stopped by venue security). Nonetheless, the spirit of the crowd clung to the brim, never dipping as the ambitious Aussies kept up their signature pulsating pace. Just as King Gizzard’s set approached the finish line, they invited Alex and Mat of Mild High Club to join them on the stage to perform some of their collaborative album Sketches of Brunswick East, which made the stage even tighter than it already had been. The two groups performed the jazz-tinged “Countdown” and “Rolling Stoned” together before they all left the stage to a grateful and awestruck audience.


Photo Gallery of Mild High Club and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

 

 


Check out all of our King Gizzard stock on the webstore here, or head into the store to pick up one (or a few) of their many albums!

 


This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine

LIVE: Bastille Put on a Nostalgic Last Wild, Wild World Tour Show

Bastille took over The Fillmore in Philadelphia last Thursday night to play the last headline show of their sophomore album’s saga.


Kicking things off on the last night of the Wild, Wild World Tour, the Los Angeles duo Frenship took over the Fillmore stage for 45 minutes. Getting by with a little help from their friends in their live band, James Sunderland and Brett Hite performed popular songs like “Carpet” and “Run Wild” from their Truce EP. One of the set’s highlights included their performance of the viral track “Capsize,” which has racked up almost 400 million Spotify streams and features vocalist and songwriter Emily Warren on the studio version. Live, Frenship’s keyboardist and vocalist Celeste steps in to sing Warren’s parts, but the band also had the audience singing along to the catchy chorus as well. The real highlight of the set happened when Bastille crashed the stage during Frenship’s last song “1000 Nights,” which only got the audience more excited for the show that would follow.

 

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James Sunderland and Brett Hite of Frenship

Thirty minutes later, the house lights dimmed, stage lights flickered, and the four members of Bastille made their way onto stage, accompanied by live band member Charlie Barnes. As the opening chords of the brassy and bassy “Send Them Off!” rang out into the Philadelphia venue, cheers erupted from the crowd and lead singer Dan Smith began to sing the lyrics that allude to Shakespeare’s Othello. The set took a brief retrospective turn when the band performed “Laura Palmer” off their debut album, which seems pointedly apt again with the reboot of David Lynch’s cult classic TV show Twin Peaks. Before the bright lights on the stage dimmed to place the spotlight on Smith and his keyboard where he would sing the ironically sombre song “Overjoyed” from the debut album, Smith took a break to call attention to some of the signs held up by fans on the barricade. Bringing one on stage that read “I Totaled My Car Driving Up From DC To Be Here,” Smith asked the fan what had happened, holding out the microphone for her to share her story. He then selected a sign that read “Don’t Blame Me, I Worked 4 Hillary,” which alluded to the band’s song “Blame” and their politically driven song “The Currents,” which cleverly digs at Donald Trump. After the quick detour of “sign related stories,” as Smith called them, the show continued with Smith slightly struggling during “Overjoyed” due to vocal stress and sound issues. Although he remained visibly conscious of his vocals and sound levels during the performance, he pushed through and still delivered the sweeping range required for the song.

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Frontman Dan Smith with one of their fan’s signs

 

The remainder of the set weaved in and out of older tunes and newer ones from Wild World, which just hit its first birthday on September 9th. The fourth song of the night, “Warmth,” acts as a title track almost, with its lyrics containing “Hold me in this wild, wild world” during the chorus. Another true Bastille show staple, Smith left the stage to go sing and dance with the Fillmore audience during their single “Flaws,” another throwback to their first album. While the set contained a mix of Wild World and Bad Blood cuts, the band also sprinkled in a few other surprises. They induced 1990’s nostalgia when they performed their popular mashup cover titled “Of The Night,” which combines “Rhythm of the Night” and “Rhythm is a Dancer” and got the crowd jumping up and down with Smith yet again. “Of The Night” was first released as part of the band’s illegal mixtape called Other People’s Heartache, which contained uncleared samples and cover songs…so the only place to hear these songs are now live or in the deep dark corners of the internet.

 

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Bastille also brought back “The Draw” from their extended album All This Bad Blood, which almost acts as album 1.5, as it contains a full album of never before released songs that came out between the two official full lengths. The biggest nostalgic surprise, however, came when Smith and co performed a beautifully rearranged version of their 2014 single “Bad_News,” which was released both independently as a music video and as a remix on their mixtape entitled VS. (Other People’s Heartache Pt. III). This mixtape containing collaborations with the likes of Haim, Rationale, Lizzo and more is actually legal and can be streamed or purchased on all major platforms. Speaking of collaboration, the set ended with the group’s massive hit “Pompeii,” and this time the tables turned when Frenship crashed the stage to lend some help with the “eh-ohs” and drumming. The band left the stage to a venue ringing with applause and echoing eh-ohs.

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The 19-track setlist did not include Bastille’s latest single “Glory” or another “Wild, Wild World Tour” setlist staple “Lethargy,” probably due to Smith’s vocal strain, but they still managed to fill up 90 minutes and deliver a well-rounded show that contained layers from each saga of Bastille’s career to date. Smith told the crowd they’ll be returning to The States soon with new music, which will include another one of their mixtapes and a new LP within a year’s time. As Bastille’s musical catalog continues to grow, their sound will only grow more diverse and multifaceted, and we can’t wait to hear what they release next.


Check out the full photo gallery of the show below

 

Can’t enough Bastille? Head to the shop to pick up their full version of Wild World or snag it from the webstore here



This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine

A Chat With: Widowspeak

Indie rock group Widowspeak just released their fourth studio album Expect The Best on August 25th. The Brooklyn-based duo of Molly Hamilton and Robert Earl Thomas have been making music together since 2010, but this latest album brings their fullest and most developed sound to date. In support of the new record, the pair and their live band will kick off an extensive North American tour this week, followed by a UK tour. Before the tour hits Chicago, we chatted with Molly Hamilton all about the new album and upcoming tour. Check our chat with Widowspeak now to find out the biggest lesson they’ve learned in their years of making music, what makes this new record different, their ideal night out in NYC, how they prep for tour and more!

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Photo Credit: Shawn Brackbill

Rachel Zyzda: So your new album Expect The Best just came out last month! How did the writing and recording process for this album vary from your previous records?

Widowspeak: For this one, I still wrote the songs separate, from voice memos and notebooks and random ideas pieced together, knowing we would then expand on that and make them more intricate eventually. In the past, it has mostly been Rob figuring the latter part out, but this time we played with the regular touring band in the studio.

RZ: After releasing a few albums and being a band for several years, what are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned as a musician?

Widowspeak: I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is just to be kind to people, which seems obvious, but… We are really laid-back as a band and always super appreciative of people we meet on tour, whether that’s the people running the shows or going to them. We’ve heard stories about other bands, whether ones we know personally or are fans of, being jerks or just generally difficult to work with, and that is a total bummer.  It’s so important to be good to people.

RZ: Where did you find yourself drawing inspiration from for the new songs, whether it be musical or non-musical influences?

Widowspeak: The new songs I wrote sort of in a big batch of them all at once, and I think they are all sort of about feeling stuck in various feelings or states of mind. It’s not uncommon at all to have those sorts of thoughts, but for me personally I wanted to write these songs more directly about that because it was getting increasingly hard to do anything, let alone music. Some of them are more concerned with the symptoms of those feelings, like being unproductive, or looking at social media, and others are about trying to figure out “why.”

RZ: I really love the cover art too, and the limited edition vinyl you put together with the purple lava lamp splatter. How involved are you with the visuals that the band puts out, and how does the cover tie in with the theme of the record?

Widowspeak: I’m usually really involved in the visuals, if not doing everything except the technical layout myself (sometimes, as with our last record, we use someone else’s art). This time, I took the cover photo and all the other photos in my apartment in Tacoma. The lava lamp is actually my stepmom’s that I borrowed (and that broke!) I had this weird feeling that the corner of my apartment, with a lava lamp, should be the record cover and had no idea why, ha.

RZ: Are there any songs from the new record that you’re particularly excited about performing live? Any spoilers you can give about the set for the upcoming tour?

Widowspeak: I’m excited to play all of them, honestly. I feel like because these songs were originally recorded with the band, they are already really full of that energy. Sometimes we have to try to figure out how to play a song live that was more sparse, or where the instruments aren’t represented by the four of us. This time everything feels more natural, also more high-energy. For tour surprises, I will say we are trying to figure out a new cover… hope we get it figured out in time!

RZ: Are there any cities you’re especially looking forward to playing?

Widowspeak: We love playing our respective hometown cities (Seattle/Tacoma, Chicago, Des Moines, Detroit) as well as our new hometowns, NYC and Kingston, NY (upstate), because so many of our friends are there. But it’s also great to play shows anywhere and to be surprised by the people you meet there, or how cool a venue or their staff are. Tour is crazy and full of things you didn’t expect, so I’m just going into it excited to play the songs and hoping the van doesn’t break down.

RZ: Speaking of touring, I saw you recently posted on Facebook about a taking a roadtrip (and tour is essentially one big roadtrip itself), so what are your go-to road trip activities, tunes, and essential snacks?

Widowspeak: Yeah, we got a new tour van which is also a great camper van, and we’re excited to bring it on the road! Generally we listen to a lot of podcasts, especially comedy or science ones, because they tend to be things people can all agree on (but also tune out if they want to). Music-wise, the van has a tape player so I’m excited to bust out the old cassette collection and go foraging in the bins at thrift stores. When we’re on tour we like to research ahead of time to see if there is a must-try local restaurant/food truck/etc. that is around, because no one wants to be figuring out how to eat breakfast from the things they have at a gas station. We try to plan ahead. So we definitely sometimes will go through a National Park or something, if it’s sort of on the way, or we’ll go swimming or thrifting or play pinball.

RZ: Since the album is called Expect The Best and you’re based in Brooklyn, describe what you would consider your best night out in NYC?

Widowspeak: I would say the best night out in NYC definitely involves knowing where to go so you don’t spend too much money, because the city is crazy expensive and it takes finesse and skill to do it right and not be broke. First, getting some snacks somewhere where there is happy hour food. I really love dollar oysters, and there are a bunch of places in Brooklyn that have them. Or honestly just grabbing something from a deli and finding a good spot in the park or something to people-watch. Then I’d say maybe go to someone’s roof if you know someone with a cool roof, unless it’s raining. There’s nothing better than watching the sun set over the skyline and bridges. But that’s kind of where my idea of the perfect evening devolves, because the best NYC night out would be unpredictable and you’d end up a lot of places you didn’t expect, like random apartments and bars you’ve never been to, or other boroughs from where you live. I will say that later, when you’re crawling home, I would get tacos or halal from one of the trucks, depending on where you are. That’s the classic NYC night-ender.

RZ: On a similar note, who are some of your favorite NYC bands at the moment that you would recommend to your listeners?

Widowspeak: Well, we just moved back into town, so I can’t totally speak to any of the newer bands that are just starting out (as we haven’t seen ‘em yet), and also a bunch of the NYC bands are now somewhere-else bands, but EZTV, and also there’s this band Poppies I like, Cut Worms, our friend Renata Zeiguer, who used to be in a band with Rob, is incredible. Other than that there are a bunch I’m not thinking of, I’m really glad to be back in the area though, lots of new bands to hear.



Listen to Expect The Best in full here, or grab the physical record in the shop or on the webstore!

You can also see Widowspeak at The Empty Bottle on 9/13 with Clearance and Luke Henry & Hunnybear. Grab tickets here.


This interview was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine.

Warble Daze Brings Two Days of Our Favorite Rock Bands to Chicago

Presented by Notion PresentsWarble Daze will take over the Logan Square Auditorium on October 13th and 14th. The lineup features some of our favorite local bands like Lucille Furs, Yoko and the Oh No’sTown Criers, Joe Bordenaro, and more! The Nude Party, Acid Dad, and Levitation Room are also on this stacked bill, and there will be more surprises to come. Stay tuned to hear about additional vendors and local artists joining Warble Daze, but for now grab your tickets to hear some of the best music around for only $15 each day. Ticket prices will go up, so get in on the presale to get the most bang for your buck. Tickets can be purchased here, and make sure you follow Warble Daze on Social Media to stay in the loop!

Warble Daze: FacebookInstagram.

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Poster by Mattie Hamilton

Get ready for the rock showcase by listening to the official Warble Daze Spotify playlist here. You can also snag our Chicago Compilation album in the shop or online, which features Lucille Furs and Joe Bordenaro.