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 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