This weekend, Kevin Morby and Sam Cohen took over Thalia Hall on Friday and Saturday night. Kevin Morby brought along a full band (including a flutist and backing vocalists) to deliver a dynamic performance of his new album Oh My God, as well as some older favorites like “Parade” and “Harlem River.” Check out photos from the first of two shows below.
The evening kicked off with the sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin of Bleached taking their places on a dimly lit stage as a duo. Their first song started slow and led to a huge build up when the Clavins’ bandmates joined them onstage and bright lights kicked in while the music crescendoed. As the audience trickled into the Vic Theatre, Bleached quickly won the crowd over with their raucous guitar melodies that are laced with pop hooks and sibling-perfect harmonies. With a new album Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough? due out July 12th, Bleached’s setlist heavily consisted of brand new songs— many of which they were playing live for the very first time, as Jennifer and Jessica announced about halfway through their show. During the beginning of their set, you could almost pick up on the newness of these songs just based on the Clavins’ body language, but a few songs in, you could also sense the weight of the uncertainty being lifted from their shoulders as they got into the groove and let loose. One of the new songs they performed, “Hard To Kill,” was just released as a single on April 30th and features a playful whistling loop over a funky melody, which really highlights the multifaceted sound that Bleached has honed in on over the years. They’ve got an extensive catalog which nods to glimpses of rock and roll influence from different decades; From the 1970’s Runaways to the 1990’s The Donnas and 2000’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs, it’s truly like Bleached took some of the best elements of rock music from different eras and put their own spin on it. Particularly with the new material, Bleached will keep fans on their toes and push their past boundaries, so make sure you take a listen to the album once it’s released.
When Bleached concluded their opening set with an explosive, extended jam, the room had mostly filled in and fans were buzzing for the upcoming sets from co-headliners Refused and The Hives. Bleached set the bar high as far as energy levels went, and Refused burst onto the stage, continuing to boost the morale of the room. Refused’s frontman and vocalist Dennis Lyxzén leapt off the stage during the first song to join fans in the mosh pit, and from there, the energy only escalated. An hour of strobe lights, microphone swings, and lots of jumping swirled together for an unforgettable set that ended in a standing ovation.
Then, just when I thought things couldn’t get any wilder, the five members of The Hives rushed the stage donning matching white suits for the final set of the night, and chaos immediately broke out. The Hives’ lead vocalist and frontman Per Almqvist (AKA Howlin' Pelle Almqvist) also didn’t shy away from leaving the stage to join the crowd, and within a few minutes, he was already crowd surfing. The iconic punk band truly lived up to their reputation and the audience’s expectations— after they dove right into mayhem without skipping a beat at the start of their set, they just kept delivering energy, leaving everything they had on the stage.
Check out Bleached’s upcoming tour dates here to see where else you can catch this trifecta of a lineup, and see photos from Monday night’s show below.
After a handful of support slots for artists like Tim Darcy and Alex Cameron, Molly Burch finally made her headlining debut in Chicago this past Thursday night. The Austin-based singer songwriter instantly captivated the crowd at Schubas with her soulful and alluring sound that’s both reminiscent of the classics like Billie Holiday and Patsy Cline, yet refreshing and unique. Her dreamy vocals combines the perfect mix of croon with just a hint of twang.
Much like Burch’s dexterous singing capabilities, with a range that scales both powerful and delicate notes, her stage presence has an effortless grace about it. Burch remained cool and composed even when belting out the chorus of her debut album’s title track, “Please Be Mine.” That song has always been a favorite of mine from the album, but seeing it performed live by Burch and her bandmates (who lent some harmonious backing vocals to the tune) really brought the ballad to life. Thursday’s night set was also a special treat for me because I got to hear several songs off of Molly Burch’s sophomore album, First Flower, live for the first time, since this was the first time Burch had toured in Chicago since its October release date. The follow up to Please Be Mine stays true to Burch’s signature style but also shows a growth and exploration of new subjects and sounds, and the new songs translated very well in the live sense. It was nearly impossible not to sway along to every song throughout the night.
If you get a chance to catch a show from Molly Burch, don’t pass it up— see her upcoming tour dates here, and check out photos from her Chicago show below.
Listen to Molly Burch’s First Flower in full below.
On Monday night Johnny Marr put on a spectacular show at Chicago’s The Vic Theatre, performing an extensive setlist that featured songs from Marr’s solo work as well as his Electronic and The Smiths catalog. Check out photos from his electrifying performance below, and see where you can catch him on tour next here.
The first time I saw Kevin Garrett perform was way back in 2015, when he opened up an X Ambassadors show at Lincoln Hall and he only had one EP (Mellow Drama) to his name. This past Sunday night, I got to see Kevin Garrett return to the very same stage—only this time he was headlining, and he had a lot of new material under his belt.
Between the first time and this most recent show, Garrett has been back to Chicago performing on several different stages, and he independently released 2017’s False Hope Ep and his 2019 full length debut Hoax. His debut album had been a long time coming, and it followed a significant touring hiatus. “Some people thought I died last year,” the singer had joked during his set when he mentioned his time away. While it may have been a significant break, fans old and new filled up the room, eager to soak in long-time favorites and brand new songs. Garrett and his live band beautifully delivered everything they had as they performed songs from the album for the first time and put a refreshing spin on some of the older material. They even performed “Pray You Catch Me,” which Garrett had written with Beyonce for 2016’s Lemonade. The dynamic setlist truly went full circle— beginning with the first track from Hoax, “Warn,” and ending with Garrett’s most popular track, “Coloring,” which is the first track off his debut EP. Throughout the 90 minute set, Garrett’s signature falsetto vocals never wavered, pulling the crowd in with the vulnerable and raw quality of his songwriting. Fans joined in on the cathartic singalong of course, which didn’t go unnoticed by Garrett. “I’m in Chicago and you guys are singing songs I wrote in my bedroom,” he said as he thanked the audience for their continued support throughout the years.
There’s an undeniable sense of authenticity to Kevin Garrett’s music and his live performances, and it’s clear that as long as that quality remains, Chicago will be showing up to support him for a long time. See where you can catch Kevin Garrett on tour next here, and see photos of his latest Chicago performance below!