Live Recap: Post Animal Plays a Rowdy Record Release Show to a Packed Lincoln Hall

At almost every concert you go to, there’s a sort of unspoken bond amongst audience members; a mutual love of music and an interest in the particular band performing that can take strangers, put them into a cramped room, and turn them into friends by the end of the night. At Post Animal’s album release show on Friday night, the room buzzed with an electrifying sense of camaraderie from the second the doors to Lincoln Hall opened. For many in the audience, they had already formed friendships with one another, due to the supportive nature of the Chicago music scene, and the show that would follow would only bring that community even closer.

Like most Chicago bands that have begun to garner attention nationally, and even internationally, during the last couple of years, Post Animal got their start playing DIY shows in basements and gritty locations around the city before eventually working their way up to headlining slots at the likes of The Hideout, The Empty Bottle, and The Subterranean. Headlining a sold out show at Lincoln Hall sits towards the top of many bands’ bucket lists in the city, so when Post Animal made their way up to checking this feat off their list, they made sure to put together a special show for the 500 lucky audience members that scored tickets to the gig.

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First, they had some of the freshest local (and soon-to-be local) talent warm up the stage for them, with Rookie kicking off the night. Although they’re a new project and just released a debut single last week, Chicago music scene veterans Joe Bordenaro and Max Loebman act as the group’s leaders, working together on new music and revamping music from their past projects. Their experience of playing music for years in other projects gives them a commanding stage presence and sense of chemistry as bandmates that you rarely see in a new band. By the time Rookie’s set had finished, most of the room had already filled in, and anyone who had started the night unaware of Rookie had quickly been converted to a new fan after witnessing their live show.

Next up, Slow Pulp mesmerized the packed house with their dreamy mix of psychedelic, pop, and punk tones for the next 45 minutes. Hailing from Madison, Slow Pulp will soon be making a permanent move down to Chicago, and the audience response on Friday confirmed that they will be welcomed with open arms once they make the move later this year. The crowd gave the band their undivided attention as they played through songs from their self-produced and released EP2, which is actually the band’s first release since the addition of lead singer Emily Massey. The audience sang along with Massey throughout the show, especially during “Preoccupied,” which has stacked up close to 200,000 streams on Spotify.

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Eventually the time came for Post Animal to hit the stage, and the current of energy that had been surging through the venue was further intensified when the opening riffs of “Gelatin Mode” rang out into the room. Although they’ve been playing the song live for months, the band had only recently released the track as a single with an accompanying, must-watch music video, and it acted as the perfect kickstart to the rowdy evening that would follow. Of course, no Post Animal show would be complete without a little (or a lot of) crowd surfing and moshing, and “Gelatin Mode” set the tone for a wild night when the crowd immediately started thrashing around to the fast-paced song.

Another new single from When I Think Of You In A Castle, “Tire Eyes,” followed, only slightly slowing down the pace. The exuberance of the crowd remained intact however, never wavering as the setlist weaved between songs featuring in-your-face guitar solos, like “Special Moment” and “Victory Lap: Danger Zone,” and more mellow, winding psychedelic-tinged tracks like “Castle.” The band did a great job of strategically plotting the placement of each song in the setlist, allowing for the audience fully appreciate the diverse texture and sonic diversity of not only their newest material, but some old favorites from their first two EPs. To assist with the flow of the set, the band even worked out more elaborate and refreshed transitions between songs, adding another layer to the new songs that fans can’t experience from just listening to the record.

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After playing through the majority of When I Think Of You In A Castle and staples like “Alabaster” and “You Were Not There” from their earlier catalog, Post Animal closed the first part of their set with their viral track “When I Get Home,” which has always proved to be a crowd favorite with its grooving bass line and sweeping melody. At this point in the night, the room was overflowing with positive vibes, and the crowd had already been potentially the rowdiest that the Lincoln Park concert hall has ever hosted, but things only got crazier during the encore.

Cadien Lake James from Twin Peaks first took the stage with a bottle of champagne in hand to get the audience hyped for Post Animal’s return, further demonstrating the supportive nature of the city’s music scene. After the warm introduction, the band eased the audience into the final part of their set by kicking things off with “Goggles” from their 2015 EP Post Animal Perform The Most Curious Water Activities, but when they transitioned into “Dirtpicker,” it was no holds barred for the remainder of the show. The song anchors out their new album, but it has been the hype song of their live show for a while now, always riling up the crowd with its infectiously catchy riffs. The amiable spirits of the crowd peaked during this last song as everyone exerted their final ounces of energy, working to lift each other up to crowd surf or have one last go at moshing.

By the time Post Animal walked offstage on Friday night, it was clear to everyone in the crowd that they had just witnessed a very special moment (pun intended) and while this show marked a landmark achievement for the band, it’s truly only the beginning for them. You can catch Post Animal on a headlining national tour throughout the summer, with select shows featuring Slow Pulp or fellow Chicagoans Paul Cherry and Town Criers. The summer tour includes appearances at legendary festivals like Shaky Knees, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza (Chicago, catch them at Lolla on Friday, August 3rd). See the rest of their tour dates here, and snag a copy of When I Think Of You In A Castle  here.

More photos of Rookie, Slow Pulp, and Post Animal at Lincoln Hall on April 27th, 2018

 

This article was originally posted on ANCHR Magazine

Twin Peaks Ring in 2018 With a Three Night Run at Thalia Hall

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.



Article 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

An Interview With Post Animal

Words from Kevin Sterne
Photos from Rachel Zyzda


Chicago’s Post Animal are in the thick, sticky center of their summer tour and recently made the pilgrimage back to their hometown for two long-awaited shows at West Fest and Subterranean. Comprised of long-haired rockers Dalton Allison (bass, vocals), Jake Hirshland (guitar, keys, vocals), Matt Williams (guitar, vocals), Javi Reyes (guitar, vocals), Joe Keery (guitar, vocals) and Wesley Toledo (drums), Post Animals pulls from contemporary and classic rock influences while adding their own psychedelic spin.

I was welcomed by humble dudes Dalton, Jake and Matt for a sit down in band’s van while Woods played on the West Fest stage behind us. We discussed their current tour, the Chicago scene, and their much-anticipated new album.

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What does it mean for you guys to be playing Chicago’s West Fest

Jake: I think today specifically we were all looking forward to playing West Fest. We’ve all come to West Fest for many years, and other Chicago festivals as well. We’ve seen a lot of people that we really like play here, and around this specific time of day. We’ve been in the audience for this experience. So to be out here and playing and having people show up. Just seeing people smile has been an out-of-body experience for me.

Dalton: And just now, standing on this stage and looking out, you can see the John Hancock Center, and I work at a Best Buy at the ground level of that. To be on a stage, at West Fest, and looking out and seeing my employer has been a crazy last hour.


Who are some bands that you’ve seen play West Fest in the past?

Jake: Mild High Club!

Dalton: Lemon Twigs played like the same exact time slot that we just played. So that was crazy.

 

You all are in the midst of a national tour. How’s that going?

Dalton: The tour is insane. It’s the first time we’ve played outside of the Midwest. We’re going to more places than I ever imagined. More cities, more physical, actually locations than I ever thought I would travel in my life. That’s been the craziest thing for me.

 

Any memorable or favorite places you’ve played on the tour?

Dalton: In DC, we played the 9:30 club and Black Jack. Thalia Hall in Chicago.

Jake: It’s surreal playing these shows like in Tampa, and these weird places that I’ve never been to.

 

Any crazy tour stories?

Matt: Some pool swimming. Some family meals.

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So, let’s address the elephant in the room: word is there’s a new record.

Jake: It’s done, actually. We’ve been sitting on this thing a long time.

 

Can you talk about the recording process, and how that all went down?

Matt: Our friend Emily has a lake house in Watervliet, Michigan. Right on Paw Paw Lake. And we spent about eight days there tracking all the instruments. Writing some and recording. And Dalton spent time mixing it and producing it. And then he co-mastered with our friend Adam Thein.

 

In terms of the writing process, how does that go?

Jake: Some people come to the table with close to completion songs. And we kind of synch ourselves into a part that’s already been written, or modify it slightly. Then there’s other people who write more of a skeletal idea, and bring it to everyone to have them fill in the gaps. Say, someone writes a song, but doesn’t write a bass line. Then Dalton will work on writing the bass line. And sometimes we’ll just jam stuff out. “When I get Home” was a jam.

Matt: I was on the drums for that one. I didn’t write the drum part, but I was playing drums when they wrote the song.

Jake: I was on keys. Dalton was on bass. And even the vocals were just melody sounds, we didn’t have lyrics yet.

Dalton: There are probably like 3-4 songs on the record that we were just jamming and mumbling into the microphone. “You’re Not There” was like that. We kind of just mumble what it feels like it should be and then write the lyrics later.

 

The new music video single, “Special Moment,” is that going to be on the record?

Jake: It’s the first song on the record.

 

How’d that come to fruition? Because that is some dynamite screenwriting, kind of American Psycho-like.

Jake: Yeah, dude. Totally. That’s all credited to Alec Basse. He came to us with a number of ideas. And we we’re perusing one that we liked. Then he basically took the reigns. With the two music videos we have, we try to get people we trust, and then give them full control. Because none of us are directors, and we don’t pretend to be. We’re actually working on another music video right now. It’s almost completely hands, and that’s worked out for us really well so far.

 

 

Let’s talk about the Chicago scene and the evolution of your music. How you would describe the Chicago scene right now, and how you fit in with it?

Dalton: When we were playing house shows, most of the bands we were playing with were garage bands. But then we met all these dudes that are in Woongi and The Voluptuals, and the guys that are more on the experimental side, and formed a friendship with them. Then we have our friends in the Evening Attraction that we play house shows with. I think there’s this psych rock thing going on, but a little heavier. People focus on being a little heavier and more groovy.

 

Listening to the studio recordings and then hearing you live, I’m finding a harder-rock, more rock and roll aspect to the music compared to maybe a few years ago when you were playing shows at Schubas and Double Door. I’m wondering about that transition. 

Jake: A lot of the stuff on the new record is leaning more towards rock and roll, heavy rock and classic rock. There’s still some psychy stuff, but were not trying to pigeon hole ourselves as psych rock. I wouldn’t say that the main thing that pops out is psychodellic in terms of describing this record.

Dalton: We’re a rock band with psych influences more so than a psych rock bands.

 

Having toured and played together live, has the live sound transitioned to this record more?

 Jake: I think so. I think the record might actually influence the live sound. I think in us writing this last record, we realized some stuff that we wanted to do and now are translating that live. We’ve even taken some of our old songs and retooled them to be a little more in this style. It’s kind of an identity change for us, not a huge change but definitely a change in identity over the last year.

 

So where’s Joe right now? I feel like I just saw him in a Dominos commercial.

Dalton: He’s running wild on everyone’s TV screen. We’re not sure if he’s real anymore. I haven’t seen him in person in a while. 

Jake: I see him at the gym.

Dalton: He’s one of the most beautiful people.

 

Was he part of the recording process for this record?

Jake: Absolutely.

Dalton: He’s been on every recording. He played drums on Water Activities. He plays guitar on four of the songs on Garden Series.

Jake: But he was definitely part of the recording. One-sixth of the playing and song writing on the record. He’s definitely still a huge part of who we are.

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What’s next for you guys?

Jake: We’ve got another month of touring. And that hangs heavy. We aren’t looking too far past that.

Dalton: We’re trying to meet with people who can help us “take the next step”—whatever that may be.

 

You guys unsigned?

Dalton: We are.

 

Have there been conversations? 

Dalton: A few, but you never really know.

Jake: We haven’t had THE conversation.

Dalton: People seem so interested in real life, but then you don’t hear from them for a while. And you’re like, okay, let me lower my expectations.

Jake: But we are really happy. I feel like we’ve finished a record that we’re happy with, going on a tour that we’re happy with. So we’re pretty content with where we are. We’d love to work with people who could take it to another level, but for the moment we feel good.

Dalton: We’re not over-reaching by any means. It’s going well, we feel really good with the opportunities we’ve already been given.

Jake: And we get to decide everything. Everything we’ve ever done has our full, entire stamp of approval. And that’s a really good feeling.

 


Kevin Sterne is a writer and journalist based in Chicago. He writes about music, craft beer and culture for Shuga Records, Substream Magazine and other places (like here). His super weird and highly offensive fiction has appeared in Drunk Monkeys, Praxis Magazine, Word Eater, Defenestration and many other places you’ve never heard of. Kevin is the creator of a really terrible magazine called LeFawn.