This past Saturday night, The Aces and COIN took over The House of Blues Chicago to put on a stunning show to the sold out venue.
After only touring for the first time with Joywave at the end of 2017, The Aces returned to Chicago in a blaze of glory, with some new songs and old favorites. The four piece’s breakout single “Stuck” has racked up over five million Spotify streams, and it definitely acted as a set highlight, but the eager crowd was already singing along to The Aces’ brand new single “Lovin’ Is Bible,” which they had only released the day prior. The Aces’ music compliments certain elements of COIN’s music so well, so anybody that had yet to hear of the latter was quickly won over by their carefree, catchy riffs and sticky choruses. The band and audience bounced infectious energy off one another, starting the night on the right foot.
When the Nashville natives of COIN took the stage next, the energy of the crowd only amplified, and the crowd mimicked a surround sound speaker system, echoing the lyrics of COIN’s songs back to the stage. As the setlist weaved through different sections of COIN’s discography, featuring newest track “Growing Pains” and tracks like “I Don’t Wanna Dance” and “Talk Too Much” from 2017’s How Will You Know If You Never Try, the crowd remained relentless. They danced along with the pop-fused rock songs, causing the floor of the Downtown venue to act as a trampoline, propelling everyone to keep moving. The high spirits of the audience and the band themselves never wavered, and their intense production and lighting complimented the upbeat music.
The night ended with a roar of appreciation, not just for COIN, but The Aces too, and an ambitious and optimistic air clung to the concert-goers as they left the venue at the end of the night, knowing that they’d just witnessed a monumental moment. If you missed out on the show, check out our photo gallery of both bands for a look at evening!
Chicago sweethearts Whitney took over Thalia Hall last week for not one, but three incredibly special shows in honor of Valentine’s Day. The three night stint featured a mix of different support acts, with music from all different pockets of genres and styles. Night one featured local buzzy hip hop artist Kweku Collins warming up the stage, while night two had duo Ohmme and the band Deeper, both also from Chicago. Closing out the run of three shows, Thursday night featured Baby Blue and Kevin Krautertaking the stage before Whitney.
Whitney’s setlist all three nights featured some special gems and rarities all around, and each night had its own special touch. For the first two nights, the band decided to split up their show into two parts. The first part featured some Whitney staples like “Polly” and “Dave’s Song” from their album Light Upon The Lake, as well as some covers like “Gonna Hurry (As Slow As I Can)” by Dolly Parton and “On the Way Home” by Neil Young. When the band left the stage and came back for part two, they were joined by a string section. The strings layering with Whitney’s usual horn section rounded out the sound, adding even more warmth to Whitney’s already rich live show.
Part two of the set featured the gentle “Light Upon the Lake” and a new, unnamed song in addition to a few covers. The beautiful set came to a peak each night, with an epic ending thanks to special guest and friend of the band, Aaron (known as finally_aaron on Instagram). Aaron took the stage following the crowd favorite “No Woman” each night, giving the band a hand with their rendition of the classic “My Girl,” which was perfectly apt for the occasion. The Pilsen concert hall gave a standing ovation each night to Aaron and the band, who complimented each other perfectly. The energy only amplified when Aaron stayed to contribute his powerful and soulful vocals to Whitney’s final song, “Golden Days.”
Whitney has been one of Chicago’s most beloved bands for a while now, but these three magical nights just further solidified how much this city loves Whitney. If you missed out on all of sold out shows, relive some of the magic by checking out photos from the Valentine’s day extravaganza below!
Keep up with Whitney on social media and grab your copy of the demo versions of Light Upon The Lake here.
Sir Sly and K.Flay performed to a sold out Concord Music Hall at the tail end of their Every Where Is Some Where run this past Friday night
LA-based trio Sir Sly warmed up the Friday night crowd for K.Flay, kicking off their energetic set with “Astronaut” from their sophomore album, Don’t You Worry Honey. The band’s latest record focuses on frontman and lead vocalist Landon Jacobs’ deeply personal struggles over the past few years, including his divorce and his mother passing away from brain cancer. As Jacobs and his bandmates Hayden Coplen and Jason Suwito performed their set, a massive light up brain backed them onstage, paying homage to Jacobs’ mother. While their lighting added another layer to Sir Sly’s live performance, the way that the three band members fed off one another, delivering a dynamic set to the Chicago crowd, made for the perfect show all in itself. On top of reworking the live arrangements for tracks like “Change” and “&Run” to build them up and flesh them out, Jacobs threw all of his energy into their 45 minute set. From his dancing around the stage to climbing up to the balcony and scaling the railing along the venue, Jacobs performed with an intense sense of conviction, never allowing a dull moment to creep into their set. Sir Sly will be performing at festivals around the country this year, from Coachella to Governors Ball, so if you get a chance to catch one of their animated performances, don’t miss it.
Kristine Meredith Flaherty, better known as K.Flay, hit the stage next with the same vivacious spirit that Sir Sly exhibited during their set. Opening with “Make Me Fade,” the LA-based, Wilmette, IL native immediately had the crowd mesmerized by her exuberant stage presence, the packed house loudly singing back her candid narratives. After the opening track from her debut album Life as a Dog, K.Flay followed up with a three song streak of tunes from her sophomore album and the namesake of the tour, Every Where is Some Where. K.Flay’s music connects so deeply with her audience based off her ability to pour herself and her experiences into her lyrics, and as the crowd got lost in the moment, you could tell that this concert was not only a cathartic moment for them, but for K.Flay as well.
Between songs, K.Flay exuded a relaxed and approachable onstage demeanor that carried the same candor of every song of hers. Before playing “Wishing It Was You” from her first record, K.Flay dedicated the song to anyone who’s ever been in unrequited love, saying “This song goes out to anybody who’s been in love with somebody who didn’t love them back.” Very few artists conduct themselves with the same level of authenticity, but K.Flay managed to break down the artist-to-fan barrier and give the feeling of an intimate performance, even in the extremely packed music hall. By the end of the night, after the last notes of the electrifying track “Blood in the Cut” rang out into the venue and K.Flay and her band left the stage, the audience pleaded for an encore performance. Their cheers flooded the Logan Square concert venue with an overwhelming demand for more of K.Flay’s heartfelt music, and she obliged, closing out the explosive show with “Slow March.” Artists like K.Flay and Sir Sly amplify the music they’ve written and recorded during their live shows, giving their audience an absolutely stellar show and a one-of-a-kind feeling that you can’t get from simply listening to their records. To get in on that magic, check out K.Flay as she continues her headlining tour in March; see tour dates here.
Relive the show with our photo gallery of Sir Sly and K.Flay
Keep up with both bands on social media below for upcoming tour dates and other news!
This past weekend, Chicago’s DIY rock heroes Twin Peaks proved that you can go big and go home, with an incredible three night, sold out run at Pilsen’s Thalia Hall. Taking over the historic building from Friday night through New Year’s Eve, Twin Peaks not only cultivated a diverse support bill of local up and coming acts, but all three nights included an intricate stage set up and special appearances that celebrated the current Chicago music scene. One of the band’s latest songs from their Sweet ’17 Singles series “We Will Not Make It (Not Without You)” acted as the theme of the weekend, paying homage to the friendly and familiar dynamic of the Chicago scene; a dynamic where artists lift up fellow artists in the buzzing collective of talent that the city has to offer.
The first night of the weekend’s all local lineup began with Sun Cop music, followed by Knox Fortune as the main support. The brainchild of musician and producer Andrew Humphrey, Sun Cop’s set immediately displayed the attitude of friendship and supportive nature that threaded throughout the weekend, with Twin Peak’s Colin Croom joining Sun Cop’s live band lineup for the night. Croom’s appearance on stage proved to be another common theme, when he also joined Knox Fortune for his biggest show in the city yet. Although Knox Fortune has attracted attention over the past couple of years working with the likes of Chance The Rapper, singing the hook on the hit “All Night,” he only played his first official show in November this year; a sold out headlining set at Lincoln Hall. Knox Fortune’s set highlighted this city’s ability to show support and collaborate across genres, and it also featured a special appearance from his frequent collaborator Joey Purp.
Twin Peak’s set on night one set the bar high for the entire weekend, but each night only got better, with them continuously delivering the high energy and rambunctious sets that their fans have come to know and love, with all sorts of surprises. Twin Peaks is already unique enough with their lineup in that they all pitch in to write the songs, and four out of the five members alternate singing lead and are multi-instrumentalists, but these shows featured an even bigger and more layered sound than what the core members can create on their own. Joined by a horns section and local duo OHMME singing backup, Twin Peaks filled the Pilsen concert hall beautifully. The production of the night also added in another facet to these special shows, with props including pine trees and an actual motorcycle suspended from the ceiling. Of course, the night also ended with a shower of confetti raining down on the audience from the balcony.
Night two only amplified the magic of the previous night, with a whole new set of support acts and another fun spirited crowd ready to reciprocate the energy that all three bands exuded from the stage. Warming their fellow Chicagoans up on the frigid Saturday evening, trio DEHD captivated the large room with their retro garage rock tunes. The group includes NE-HI’s Jason Balla and Lala Lala’s Emily Kempf taking turns on vocals, and drummer Eric McGrady forgoing a full drum set to create a unique setup with floor toms. Next up, psych rockers Post Animal cranked up the volume, performing some of their most popular songs like “You Were Not There,” “When I Get Home,” and “Special Moment” with refreshed and fleshed out arrangements that showcased their skills as guitarists. Post Animal supported Twin Peaks for one of their Thalia Hall shows last December, and have since had one hell of a year, touring with Twin Peaks, WAVVES, White Reaper, and recently announcing their signing to Polyvinyl records. The local scene and now the national rock scene have come to love the group for their massive stage presence and ability to shred on the six string, and their set on Saturday only got even more bold when part-time band member Joe Keery made a rare appearance for the last song in the set. With Post Animal, it seems you can never have too many guitar players.
Twin Peaks’ second set of the three-night stint once again featured the same expanded lineup, as well as the confetti and custom stage setup, but the band did a great job at diversifying their setlist each night. Every night, the set heavily featured a lot of the group’s latest material that has come around the past several months as part of their Sweet ’17 Singles series, but they rearranged the order each night to keep the crowd guessing. One of this year’s singles “Shake Your Lonely” features vocalist and friend of the band’s Marisa Nakamura on the studio version, so of course they brought her out every night to sing it with them. Each night also had the Twin Peaks staples like “Making Breakfast,” “Butterfly,” and “Walk To The One You Love,” but the band mixed in some rarities to all three sets. On Saturday, they also ended with another staple “Boomers,” although they played it second on the first night and in the middle of the set the third night.
Just like that, the final night of Twin Peaks Thalia takeover fell upon the city, and another sold out crowd quickly filled up the concert hall on Sunday night. Thanks to the Twitter humor of the NYE performers NE-HI, every concert-goer that evening had the opportunity to chow down on a complimentary Chicago dog, courtesy of Goose Island. With full bellies, the crowd watched Today’s Hits kick off the show at 9PM; their set once again highlighting the friendly nature of the local music scene, as both Cadien Lake James and Colin Croom dropped in during Today’s Hits short set. Today’s Hits lead singer James Swanberg returned the favor later in the night, making an appearance during Twin Peaks’ set.
Hot dog heroes NE-HI took the stage next, lead singer Jason Balla taking the stage for the second time that weekend. Like most of the artists who were a part of this NYE weekend extravaganza, NE-HI have also had an incredible year, touring nationally, releasing their sophomore album, and performing at Pitchfork Music Festival. The four piece put on an unforgettable show every time, with Balla thrashing and jumping around as he sings, while other members James Weir and Mikey Wells follow suit and gain some serious air while leaping around. Their set featured a mix of songs from their self-titled debut, 2017’s Sophomore record (Offers), and some new material.
Twin Peaks’ final set of 2017 began just an hour before midnight and once again had some rarities and a rearranged order in their setlist. The crowd surfing commenced during the first song and lasted throughout the night as it had the previous two nights, but everyone seemed to be giving even more of their energy back to the band since it was their last show of the year. The show paused right before midnight with a collective countdown between the band and the crowd, followed by confetti and some giant balloons entering the pit. The show continued on into 2018, wrapping up with the weekend’s theme song “We Will Not Make It (Not Without You),” which bassist and vocalist Jack Dolan dedicated to everyone in the room. Even more confetti showered the room as the song wrapped up, providing the weekend’s final surprise.
Twin Peaks’ weekend at Thalia Hall celebrated more than just the new year and a fresh start; it celebrated the creative community of Chicago and promoted kindness and friendship among artists and fans alike. These shows had a revitalizing energy and an unwavering spirit that you can only feel while watching live music played by a group of friends, with all your friends. 2018 holds even more promise for more nights like this in Chicago as so much of the city’s music scene continues to grow.
Relive some of the magic of the weekend by checking out our galleries of all seven bands from across the weekend.
Knox Fortune and Sun Cop shot by Christian Heinzel. All other photos by Rachel Zyzda
Keep up with Twin Peaks in the new year by checking out their upcoming tour dates here, and grab the record of all of their Sweet ’17 Singles in the shop next month. You can also preorder your copy here.
You can also snag the Shuga exclusive pressings of NE-HI and DEHD‘s records by clicking their names.
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.