LIVE: Yoke Lore and Aquilo Bring Joy to a Gloomy Night in Chicago with Their Show at Lincoln Hall
Yoke Lore and Aquilo brought positive vibes and chill tunes to Lincoln Hall on a rainy Tuesday evening in Chicago
Yoke Lore, the moniker of singer songwriter/artist/performer Adrian Galvin, graced the Lincoln Hall stage right around 7PM to kick off an early night of live music. A few songs into the 40 minute set, Galvin addressed the Chicago crowd saying, “It’s like the real Gotham here, and I get to pretend I’m Batman.” After getting the crowd to chuckle, Galvin shifted the conversation to an inspirational note to introduce his song “Only You.” Mentioning the Eleanor Roosevelt quote “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” he says that only we have the power to turn things around if “you’re in a shitty place in life.” Before each of his following songs, Galvin recited anecdotes that gave the audience some further insight into his thoughtful tales and intricate storytelling skills that shine through in his music.
One particular highlight was an introduction that escalated the good vibes in the room before the song “Good Pain.” Galvin prefaced the performance of his latest EP’s title track by talking about the importance of realizing that everyone has to struggle sometimes to get to the “good shit.” Yoke Lore’s set wrapped up just before 8PM, with Galvin informing the crowd that the Tom Robbins book Still Life With Woodpecker influenced his lyrics in his last song, also called "Tom Robbins." As Galvin left the stage to a sweeping round of applause and cheers, a sense of newfound inspiration hung in the air, and it was clear Yoke Lore had gained new fans after that performance.
When duo Ben Fletcher and Tom Higham (AKA Aquilo) glided onto stage with their band about 30 minutes later, that sense of inspiration had mixed in with the crowd’s anticipation and excitement. The British musicians have acquired a steady fanbase over the years with their mellow music that blends heartfelt harmonies with electronic tones and indie vibes, and this show marked their first headline gig in Chicago. The show also acted as their return after nearly a year, following a support slot for Lapsley on Election Day last year. This time around, none of the Election Day tension filled the air and the crowd was able to get completely lost in the music. From songs like “You There” and “Sorry” performed early on in the set, the chilled out crowd’s eyes remained glued to the stage like magnets.
Just before the set reached the halfway point, Fletcher and Higham treated Chicago to a setlist unicorn, doing a rare live performance of the track “Losing You” from their 2015 EP. Aquilo also put a unique spin on most of the songs performed this tour, fleshing out the arrangements, building out the layers, and feeding on the energy of the crowd to put a more cinematic and sweeping touch on tracks like “Low Light” and “Almost Over.” For the performance of their song “Waiting,” the pair’s live band left the stage, leaving Fletcher and Higham alone to perform a stripped back beauty, full of harmonies and Higham’s flawless falsetto-driven vocals. The hour long set winded down with the group’s newest single, “Thin” followed by couple of songs from the debut album, Silhouettes. After leaving the stage very briefly following an older track, “Almost Over,” the entire band returned for an encore. The opening notes of Aquilo’s debut album’s title track trickled out into the concert hall, and the crowd released their loudest cheers of the evening. Like many of the songs, “Silhouette” also brought on an extended bridge and an extensive build up for the live version. While most of Aquilo's songs confront deeply personal subjects like past relationships and hardships that they or their friends have struggled through, the humbled and happy look on Higham’s face at the end of their set let the crowd see exactly how cathartic performing these songs is for him.
Aquilo and Yoke Lore took Chicago on an emotional roller coaster on a gloomy Tuesday night, but by the end of it, everyone left the venue feeling a little lighter than they did when they had arrived. They wrap up their tour this week, so head here to see the rest of the dates.