ANCHR Turns Two: Our Anniversary Show Recap
Just before I stepped through the double doors at Schubas’ entrance, the alluring sound of laughter and good tunes hit me and plastered a smile on my face. I must have looked a little too excited based on the way the bouncer couldn’t help but grin and chuckle at me as I walked in. This didn’t come as any shock to me, as this is a typical occurrence when attending an ANCHR event. Some might envision their ideal birthday party to have a photo wall, a tiered cake, and champagne. ANCHR Magazine crept its way into my birthday party dreams and had a bill packed with rocking bands, plenty of PBR to go around, and funky party hats for all. After two years, ANCHR Magazine has become a cornerstone in the Chicago music scene and that wouldn’t at all be possible without the dedication from our readers and the community of friends in the city. It is an honor and a privilege to exist and contribute to said community. With that being said, a celebration to match the love and excitement that this past year has given to ANCHR was imperative to continuing this wave of prosperity and good times. Plus, who doesn't love a party celebrating music?
I was elated to see friends from all across the Chicago music scene there to celebrate ANCHR. As we all cheered and made our way towards the stage, OHMME’s DJ set had the arduous task of setting the scene for the evening. Don’t fret, they were more than capable and filled the room with bops that had everyone moving before the bands even began. Schubas completely sold out music hall coupled with the dance worthy tracks filled the room with what I like to call a cozy concert temperature. (Let’s just say my denim jacket didn’t stay on for long and we all got nice and comfortable with each other for a night filled to the brim with live music.)
As the lights dimmed and the first act, Ruins, came onstage you could feel that pre-concert electricity buzzing throughout the room, through the floor, and right up into your toes; tapping with anticipation. Adam Schubert of Ruins began a solo performance that would match the energy of all the other bands playing. Schubert’s vocal and guitar skills engulfed the room in a magical musical sheen the same way a full band would. His melodious tunes had Schubas entire hall swaying to and fro as he sang. Cheers to Ruins for starting the night off with groovy tunes that would set the momentum for the rest of the evening.
As the next band, Cold Beaches, took the stage, I was completely hypnotized by some badass style before the music even began. The diversity that existed onstage between all the band members resulted in the most captivating hodgepodge group of musicians I have ever seen. From Adidas sneakers to glitter loafers, I was already invested in Cold Beaches even before any note was played. Cold Beaches possesses an infectious, inherent energy in their records but also in the performance of their music. I can’t play a lick of base or drums, but I wish I did just to be able to share the stage with Cold Beaches, maybe even take a little seat and continue to shred with lead singer and guitarist Sophia Nadia. When the lights came up on their set too early, Cold Beaches members waved their hands in the air calling out, “Wait, we aren’t done yet! There is more!” If there was a catchphrase for the evening, this would be it. Cold Beaches unintentionally set a major mood for another year of ANCHR Magazine. From their most recent releases to a birthday serenade, Cold Beaches swaddled ANCHR in some groovy birthday love.
V.V. Lightbody was next and to say she graced us with her presence is an understatement. I felt like a magical mermaid was serenading me and luring me into her lair, and I think I can vouch for all of Schubas when I say, I would have followed her voice anywhere. Before playing, V.V. Lightbody made it clear that live music was happening and conversation should not. “That’s what a bar is for,” she addressed the crowd. This might have been one of my favorite moments of the evening. Nothing hurts my heart more than when a band plays my favorite song that I am excited to see performed live, but it keeps getting interrupted by the group of people next to me near screaming about the tacos they had for dinner. V.V. Lightbody requested and the audience listened, and they obliged. If I ever had to create a chill cocktail lounge playlist, it would be jam packed with some V.V. Lightbody. With collaborative efforts from other Chicago musicians, including Macie Stewart and Sima Cunningham of OHMME, the hall was filled with enchanting siren tunes, and some major flute action. Yes, there were flutes. (And yes... It was awesome.)
Slow Pulp closed out this birthday party with songs that are still running through my mind. Sometimes when a band comes on stage and gets all set up, I get this feeling in my stomach like, “Yea…they’re gonna be good.” This feeling goes double for Slow Pulp…the band just completely owned the stage. There was this ease about their stage presence that completely supported their dreamy, psychedelic music style and drew me in even closer. Despite the fact that they only moved to Chicago recently, Slow Pulp looked completely at home on the Schubas stage that night. They had a sense of familiarity that seeped its way into the audience and is pretty rare to come by. Every audience member in attendance no matter how different their taste in music from the next person was, could enjoy Slow Pulp. In Schubas’ sold out music room, the show felt intimate. Lead singer Emily Massey has vocals that are smooth like butter, and her silky vocals paired with some attitude made it nearly impossible to not sway along to her melodies. Their lively tracks from Spotify became even more animated on stage, making for a truly mesmerizing performance.
Just like that, ANCHR's second birthday party came to a close. Thank you to all the bands and audience members in attendance! Without this unwavering support, ANCHR would be adrift; lost at sea somewhere. We may ground you with tunes, but your support is the ultimate foothold for success and prosperity. As I made my way out of Schubas on Friday night, the bouncer chuckled at me again. I don’t think he realized my giddiness could be heightened, but after this birthday throw-down, how could you not? Cheers to another year for ANCHR and cheers to all of you.