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: 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.

Live Review: Ones to Watch Presents COIN and The Aces

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!

 

This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine

Whitney’s Three Night Valentine’s Day Run at Thalia Hall

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.

Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Live Review: Sir Sly and K.Flay // The Every Where Is Some Where Tour

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!

Sir Sly: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

K.Flay: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

You can also grab Sir Sly’s Don’t You Worry Honey from our Web Store here, and get K.Flay’s Every Where Is Some Where here...or stop by the shop to get both!


 

This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine