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 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 Recap: Acid Dad, Town Criers, Bedroom at Empty Bottle

Last Thursday night, Acid Dad returned to Chicago for the first time since playing Warble Daze back in October. Local bands Bedroom and Town Criers warmed up the Empty Bottle stage for the Brooklyn based four piece, perfectly complimenting Acid Dad’s blend of punk and psych rock. The Chicago crowd instantly warmed to Acid Dad as they played songs from their self-titled debut album, out March 9th via Greenway Records, as well as a couple from their debut EP.

If you missed out on the show, check out photos of all three bands below.

 

You can pick up a copy of Acid Dad’s record in the shop, or order it on the Shuga Web Store here. 


This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine