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Live Recap: Deeper's Sold Out Tour Send Off Show with Divino Niño, The Hecks, and Mia Joy

Last Friday night, Deeper topped off a stacked bill for their winter tour kick off show at Sleeping Village, which included Mia Joy, The Hecks, and Divino Niño. Just as the music was about to kick off, friends and fans of all of the bands flocked to the Avondale venue to catch the show, creating a line out the door that signified tonight’s show would be a good one.

As everyone in the venue’s packed bar eventually filed into the music room, Mia Joy had just taken the stage with her full band, who assisted her in bringing her atmospheric indie pop tracks to life. Mia Joy’s delicate and dreamy vocals enticed the full audience, providing a comforting oasis from the chaotic scene of the crowded bar we had all just passed through. This opening set was the perfect way to reset after a long week and get ready for a full night of music.

Next up The Hecks were set to take the stage, and before they even began, the show had officially reached capacity, giving Deeper a sold out send-off show. When The Hecks started playing, it felt as if we had all been transported back to the 80’s with their throwback sound that swirls together post-punk and new wave genres and nods to influences from the likes of Talking Heads and Sonic Youth. With their bright and punchy guitar melodies, The Hecks got the energy picked up and had people dancing along to every song. During their set, the band also played some new material, which still had their signature tone of nostalgia mixed with a refreshing and unique energy.

Next up, Divino Niño delivered a sweet set packed with their Latin-tinged dreamy, indie rock tunes. The entire band exuded a relaxed and breezy vibe that enchanted the room as they played through a bunch of new material. Lead vocalist and guitarist Camilo Medina informed the audience that these new songs will be included on the band’s new album coming out this summer, and that one of the new songs would be the first single released in just a couple of weeks. The best thing about Divino Niño’s 45 minute set was that each of their songs had its own distinct and diverse stamp on it, but still flowed seamlessly with the rest of the setlist.

Closing out the night, Deeper finally made their return, playing their first headline set in Chicago since their sold out, album release show at The Empty Bottle. The set began with the lights still dimmed as the band played songs like “Should Be” and “Pink Showers” from their self-titled debut album, which was released last May via Fire Talk Records. Like The Hecks, Deeper’s post punk sound has a sense of nostalgia about it, but they put a rejuvenating spin on it to make it their own. The band members poured their energy into their playing, and the crowd reciprocated the same level of energy as they danced along throughout the set. Deeper also continued the night’s trend of playing new music and tested out some new tunes, which were well received by everyone.

If you weren’t able to make it to the show Friday, you can catch Deeper on the rest of their tour dates with the Districts, at Lincoln Hall on Valentine’s Day, or at SXSW!

Photos of Mia Joy, The Hecks, Divino Niño and Deeper

 

PHOTOS: Future Generations and Magic City Hippies at Lincoln Hall 1/11/19

This past Friday night, Future Generations and Magic City Hippies got the weekend kicked off with a sold out show at Lincoln Hall. Check out photos from the show below and see where you can catch the tour next here.

Listen to Future Generations’ album Landscape in full below and keep up with them on Facebook + Twitter + Instagram

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. 

PHOTOS: Noname's Sold Out NYE Weekend at Thalia Hall

Last weekend, Noname took over Thalia Hall for three nights of sold out shows. If you missed out on tickets, check out photos from the second night, December 30th below.

Live Recap: Ryley Walker, OHMME, and Ben LaMar Gay Brought Improv and Collaborations to the Empty Bottle

On Friday, December 28th, Ryley Walker, OHMME, and Ben LaMar Gay brought a sold out crowd to The Empty Bottle for a night of improvisation, collaboration, and celebrating live music.

The bill of Chicago natives kicked off with Ben LaMar Gay, whose set was definitely the most freeform and jazzy of the evening. The composer and cornetist took the stage right around 10PM bringing along a full band that included a tuba player. Throughout his 45 minute set, the audience got to experience elements of hip hop, avant-garde, and soul that focused more on the instrumentals and melodies over lyrics. Instead of a traditional set where you recognize the transition from song to song, Ben LaMar Gay’s set played out more like a theatrical play, where it moved from scene to scene or segment to segment. As an audience member, you could hear the improvisation happening, but the band worked so well together through the winding transitions that sometimes you doubted that any of it was free-form playing.

OHMME, the duo of Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart, took the stage next, bringing the audience back to a more traditional place of arranged songs, but their show still had some surprise guests and songs. The set began with the song “Water” from OHMME’s debut full length Parts, which was released earlier this year. With its bold, distorted guitar and layered harmonies, the explosive opening song showcased why OHMME is one of the best live acts around and just how well Cunningham and Stewart work together. After the pair performed the title track from their album, they welcomed a friend onstage to play the drums and jingle bells, in place of their usual drummer Matt Carroll, for a rare performance of a Christmas cover song: “Jing-a-Ling Jing-a-Ling” by The Andrews Sisters. “In Chicago we do special things like that,” Cunningham told the packed room after the Christmas cover. During the performance of their single “Icon,” the pair were once again joined by a special guest to fill in on the drums, which celebrated the collaborative nature of the Chicago music scene.

Just after midnight, Ryley Walker and his band took the stage to close out the special evening with a performance that once again celebrated free-form and improvisation by blending elements of jazz and folk music. The show on Friday marked the end of Walker’s most recent tour in support of his album Deafman Glance and his own version of The Lillywhite Sessions by The Dave Matthews Band, both of which he released this year via Dead Oceans. The unique set began with a trumpet player center stage for the first few songs, which the crowd loved (at one point, an audience member yelled “More horn!”). Despite it being a late night, the venue remained completely packed as Walker and his band jammed out, delivering extended arrangements and feeding off one another’s energy. For the majority of the set, the songs blended into one another, smoothly transitioning very much like Ben LaMar Gay’s set had done. Walker would occasionally check in to see how the audience was doing, but surprisingly, he didn’t make any banter between songs. Based on his hilarious Twitter feed, I had been expecting some between-song jokes, but the focus of the set remained solely on the intricate musicianship displayed by Walker’s live band. While the set heavily featured songs from Walker’s 2018 projects, he did throw in some older tracks, like “The Roundabout” from 2016’s Golden Sings That Have Been Sung.

Overall, Friday night’s show highlighted what a wide array of talent the Chicago music scene has to offer at the moment, and captured the magic of friends playing live music together. If you missed out on a ticket to the sold out evening, check out our photo gallery below for a glimpse of what you missed.

PHOTOS: Post Animal with Divino Niño and Paul Cherry at Metro 12.15.18

2018 has been an incredible year for Chicago’s Post Animal; From releasing their official debut album on Polyvinyl Records to playing festivals like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, they’ve had no shortage of Special Moments this year. On Saturday, December 15th, Post Animal played their final show of the year with the help of Paul Cherry and Divino Niño, celebrating the supportive community in the Chicago music scene. If you weren’t among the packed crowd at the Wrigleyville venue this weekend, check out photos from the show below.

Keep up with Post Animal on Twitter + Instagram + Facebook

PHOTOS: Gang of Youths with Gretta Ray at Metro 12.14.18

Metro was bursting with energy last Friday night. The Australian five-piece, Gang of Youths, brought their indie-rock tunes and poetic intensity to Chicago and we loved every second of it.

Keep up with Gang of Youths on Instagram + Facebook + Twitter

PHOTOS: Justus Proffit and Jay Som with Discus at Schubas Tavern 12.13.18

Last Thursday night, Justus Proffit and Jay Som joined forces one last time before the holidays to bring their collaborative tunes to Schubas. The duet was backed by a full five-piece band that helped deliver good vibes and easy going, all-encompassing sounds. 

Listen to the duo’s collaborative EP in full below.

PHOTOS: HAERTS and Vlad Holiday at Schubas 12.10.18

On Monday night, HAERTS wrapped up the first leg of their current tour, playing Schubas Tavern with Vlad Holiday. Check out photos from the show below.

Listen to HAERTS’ latest album New Compassion in full below.

Live Recap: Benefit Show for Our Music, My Body at Sleeping Village 11.27.18

Photos by Maggie McInerney

Whenever I find myself at a music festival or a bar where bands are playing, I will have my friend by my side one moment…and the next moment a man will have wedged his way in between the two of us. The combination of an eye roll, slight shove, and “um excuse me” will typically result in the reuniting of my friend and I. Giggling but scared and holding onto each other’s arms a little tighter than before, this scenario is all too familiar. These uncomfortable interactions may vary in extremity from one scenario to the next; It can range from a guy dancing too close, to verbal harassment, or even groping, and so on and so forth. It is unfortunate but true when I write that this behavior is almost a given at concerts; expected each and every time in some capacity. Music is a communal experience; a space for friends to come together; to share and bask in the straight up magic of a live event, and for that magic to truly exist, the said space needs to be a safe space. A space where women don’t have to worry about harassment at the bar or on the dance floor. A space where I can dance under a disco ball with my girlfriends and not feel the stinging pain of the male gaze moving it’s way up and down my body; examining my every move. This harassment extends far past my own experience and has tainted or even completely soiled some music fans’ love of experiencing their favorite tunes live.

The Edwards by Maggie McInerney

The Edwards by Maggie McInerney

With that said, I was ecstatic when I learned that ANCHR would be hosting a benefit concert for Our Music, My Body at Sleeping Village, which took place last week on November 27th. If you don’t already know, Our Music, My Body is a non-profit organization that sets out to create and promote “fun and consensual music experiences for all,” as a collaboration between Resilience (formerly RVA) and Between Friends. Sexual harassment in the music scene is ever so present and can get to the point that attending a concert or music festival is dangerous specifically for, but not limited to women, males in the LGBTQ+ community, and music fans who identify as transgender. Walking into Sleeping Village for this event, I was overcome with hugs and greetings from friends all across the music scene. The sense of community at this event pulsed throughout the venue, and I was thrilled to see so many people out supporting such an important cause. This incredible welcoming energy extended to all points of Sleeping Village—from the dance floor, to behind the bar, and to the musicians on stage. I didn’t feel the need to fold my arms and hide myself in the back corner in order to enjoy some tunes; for the first time in a long time I enjoyed some music without feeling the need to physically close myself off from those around me in order to remain safe.

This evening of music started with The Edwards. Their sound made me wish it was summer again with my windows rolled down on the highway, a best bud on either side of me. They would be on the same playlist with some of my favorite Mac DeMarco tracks; with their perfectly smooth and warm tones. Their jams induced a nice groovy sway and head bop; I found myself rolling with the sound rather than fighting against it. After the show I had the pleasure of speaking with Chris Murphy, a member of The Edwards. What Chris said about the band perfectly paralleled the event itself: Music based on collaborating; celebrating what each musician has to bring to the table. With three guitars and a trumpet on stage, their sound dived deep into exploring how these very different musicians come together to create a unique and cohesive sound. Be on the lookout for more live performances from The Edwards coming your way in February. 

The Edwards By Maggie McInerney

The Edwards By Maggie McInerney

Thee Casual Hex by Maggie Mcinerney

Thee Casual Hex by Maggie Mcinerney

Following The Edwards was Thee Casual Hex accompanied by face paint, some psychedelic realness, and some pretty amazing polka dot garments. The disco ball in Sleeping Village came alive the moment this group stepped onstage. Similar to The Edwards, a diverse group of musicians that meshed perfectly to create a 60’s inspired jamming set. When I spoke to guitarist/vocalist/band member Alice Kraynak after the show, the 60’s glamor the band exuded was made even more apparent. Whether it was Alice’s fur coat, face paint, or polka dot dress I am still unsure, but she emanated the mod style and influence that are clearly at the base of Thee Casual Hex’s sound. The band’s sound perfectly encapsulates psychedelic vibes from the 60’s while still paying tribute to modern psych bands; Remembering the past while celebrating the future. Alice made clear that Thee Casual Hex is so excited to continue making and playing music; be on the lookout for some live shows after the New Year. It’ll be a far out time. 

Before the final set of the night, the collaborative project of songwriter and producer Andrew Humphrey, Sun Cop, took the stage and remained just as collaborative onstage as off the stage. Pooky’s Duncan Lee took on double duty and played with Sun Cop, while the evening’s DJ Cadien Lake James also made an appearance to sing a tune with Andrew and the band.

Sun Cop by Maggie McInerney

Sun Cop by Maggie McInerney

Closing out the evening was the electric Pooky. I have seen the boys of Pooky play a few times now and they never fail to put a smile on my face; red and sweaty from dancing. Their clear bond and enjoyment for the music makes me want to be onstage next to them. With a wide range of tunes, this band can make you want to jump around one second and have you slowly head bopping the next. With a sound  that roars, Pooky’s vocals paired with some major shredding will have you immediately searching where they are playing next by the end of their set. A dynamic and truly entertaining group that never fails to amaze, Pooky is a band to keep your eye on in 2019. You can also catch them one last time in 2018; at The SubT on December 20th with Engine Summer, Rainbow James and Rabbit Folk.

Pooky by Maggie McInerney

Pooky by Maggie McInerney

All in all, the artists in the Chicago music scene set the stage for how to create a consensual music environment, and each band that performed at this show was a huge reason said space existed. These bands are making it clear that community is at the root of all their work; Respect for the music, respect for other musicians, and most importantly respect for their audiences. I am excited to know that bands such as these work, create, and share music with these ideals at the forefront. May all Chicago bands follow in their footsteps to create live music spaces that are fun, communal, and most importantly: safe!

If you couldn’t make it to the show, but would still like to show your support for Our Music, My Body, you can snag some of their merch here, or donate to either of their parent organizations.

Last but not least, head over to Beyond The Music’s site to vote for your favorite edit by the three featured photographers who covered the showcase: Emma Zanger, Colt Liles, and Maggie McInerney.