January 26th Doubleheader: Public Access T.V and The Lemon Twigs
We’ve all been there…one of your favorite bands announces a show, and at first, you’re ecstatic and start making plans to get tickets. Then you go to put the show in your calendar and you realize…you’ve already got plans to see another band that night (dun dun dunnnnnn). I know, I know, it’s a very “first world problem" to have when living in a major city that most tours travel through, but deciding between shows can be a total nightmare. That’s why last night I did away with the FOMO and decided to race from Schubas to The Empty Bottle to catch a doubleheader from Public Access T.V and The Lemon Twigs.
The jam-packed evening started off catching PATV’s main support and ANCHR interview alumni Splashh, who kicked off their set at 9PM with “See Through You.” For the next 40 minutes, Splashh won over the small-but-mighty crowd as they performed a set composed of songs from their debut Comfort, as well as a few new ones, like “Rings” and the title track from their upcoming album, “Waiting A Lifetime.”
Proving themselves as a live band, the “cheeky boys from Australia” (as Public Access T.V called them) delivered an added facet to each of their songs that you can only experience in the live setting…going beyond bringing their album to life. They incorporated everything from extended jam sessions to building up an enchanting beat that left the crowd in a trance. The energy level from the fans and the band amplified during the last song, “Need It,” with everyone moving along in time to the song, especially the front row. Longtime fan Annie Ruzga said she’d been waiting to see them for forever, after discovering their music years ago on Spotify.
After a quick changeover, headliners Public Access T.V took the stage around 9:50 saying, “We’re called the Feds and we’re from Washington D.C.,” referencing Donald Trump’s threat to send the feds to Chicago. From the beginning chords of “In Our Blood” the crowd was hooked, but things really got moving when lead singer John Eatherly sang the opening lines of “In Love and Alone.” John mentioned in our interview a few weeks back that this track is one of their oldest, which came across from the sense of ease that overtook the stage during this song.
Throughout most of their set, the band kept up their cool and collected attitude, effortlessly playing crowd favorites like “End of an Era” and “Evil Disco.” On a couple of occasions, the band members got a little out of sync and seemed to be confused on song order, but it appeared to be because they didn’t have setlists on the stage. Despite the slight setlist slipups, the energy never faltered, both on stage and in the crowd, and the fast paced set flew by. PATV thanked the audience and bid their goodbyes around 10:30. Both bands stuck around to sell merch and meet fans.
I had a quick chat with a few band members, then made my way over to The Empty Bottle to catch The Lemon Twigs. I unfortunately missed the equally awesome retro-inspired rockers Savoy Motel, but made it right on time for The Lemon Twigs’ 11:20PM start time. “Keep that Bee Gees song going,” co-frontman and eldest brother Brian D’Addario instructed as the four band members made their way on stage. As the younger brother, 17 year old Michael D’Addario, took his place behind the drum kit, I can’t help but notice the “x” on each band member’s hand. For any touring band, coming to a new city and selling out a venue should be considered a feat, but especially for a band as young as The Lemon Twigs. The band hooked the crowd members by opening with their popular track “I Wanna Prove To You,” immediately displaying raw talent and electrifying stage presence. After playing “Haroomata,” another track from their debut album, Brian introduced the next song “Why Didn’t You Say That” as part of their upcoming EP to be released this year.
As the set moved on and the crowd remained hooked, Brian displayed incredible showmanship under pressure when Michael’s bass drum pedal went out right before “These Words.” Instead of stalling or pausing the show, Brian skipped ahead to perform another new song as a solo performance. By the end of the song, the drums were back in working order and they were able to perform the crowd favorite “These Words.” For the remaining half of the set, Brian and Michael switched places, with Michael taking center stage to sing the remaining songs. Standout moments from the rest of the set included a cover by Alex Chilton, “All of the Time” and Michael’s signature high kicks. The night concluded around 12:35AM, with a two song encore featuring “Queen of my School.”