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Filtering by Tag: 30 Days in Chicago

LIVE: Red Bull Sound Select's 30 Days in Chicago Celebrates the Halfway Mark with Parquet Courts and Built to Spill

Red Bull Sound Select celebrated the halfway mark of their 30 Days in Chicago this past Wednesday night with co-headlining sets by Parquet Courts and Built To Spill. Goodwill Smith and Meatwave opened the night.

As Chicago concert goers filed into the legendary dive in Ukrainian Village to see Built to Spill and Parquet Courts, the first 50 attendees were handed a token to receive a free copy of The Empty Bottle Chicago: 21+ Years of Music / Friendly / Dancing, just one of the perks of these Red Bull sponsored shows happening across the city this month. Upon entering, everyone also had the option to pick up some Red Bull Sound Select swag, including ear plugs.

The stage was set following Goodwills Smith's set, the clock struck 9PM, and Chicago’s own Meat Wave took the humble stage. Immediately the trio cranked up the volume to 100 percent, projecting out their energy with maximum noise, making those who took the earplugs grateful for their decision. At the beginning of Meat Wave's set, the venue hadn’t reached full capacity, but from the get-go, the crowd vibed with the fast-paced punk music, nodding their head in time and getting engulfed in the music. The three piece also vibed off of one another onstage, reciprocating the energy radiating through the crowd. The setlist included a fair mix of Meat Wave’s 2017 album The Incessant, like the title track and “Run You Out,” as well as the 2015 album Delusion Moon. By the end of the exuberant set, the crowd had completely packed into the intimate venue to watch the remaining two sets.

Built to Spill hit the stage next, immediately captivating the crowd with their intricately layered indie rock tunes that span multiple decades. Frontman Doug Martsch and his bandmates remained in sync with one another throughout their entire show, displaying such noticeable chemistry from their years of experience making music. During their hour long set, fans' eyes remained glued to the stage, watching as Martsch would manipulate and bend the tone and mood of their songs through the dials and pedals he had set up next to him on stage. This factor of Built to Spill's live show made us feel like we got a glimpse of the art in the making, like seeing a sculptor work in front of you or getting a look at the inside of a clock to see all the moving parts working together. Live, Built to Spill only builds upon their own songs, creating cinematic and sweeping jams that hypnotize the entire room. The fact that the group were a last minute addition to the original line up for Day 15 made the show so much more special. 

Next up, Parquet Courts took the stage to close out the special evening, performing a mix of songs from their handful of albums, but the set started strong with tracks taken from 2016's Human Performance. Crowd favorites stood out as the aforementioned album's title track and "Dust," which both topped the setlist, instantly reeling in the audience. Besides playing a solid and diverse set list, the four piece from New York also mixed humor into their headlining set, quipping at each other or telling funny anecdotes between songs. Early on in the night, A. Savage pointed out the negative side effects of Red Bull, thanking them for sponsoring the show, but encouraging the audience not to drink it. The group also recalled that their first ever show in Chicago had been at The Empty Bottle about five years prior, which added a bit of nostalgia into the evening. Every show booked in celebration of Empty Bottle's 25th anniversary has had a special piece of history embedded into it, and this show was no exception. 

As Parquet Courts set began to wind down, Red Bull also provided the crowd with complimentary pizza slices, supplying the concert goers with a perfect midnight snack. To experience the eclectic mix of music that Red Bull Sound Select has to offer for the remainder of the month, head here. You can also check out Empty Bottle's upcoming performances here. 

Gallery of Meat Wave, Built to Spill, and Parquet Courts, 11.15.17

LIVE: Red Bull Sound Select Hosts a Packed Hometown Show for Whitney and NE-HI

Red Bull Sound Select’s 30 Days in Chicago celebrated day 2 of their multi-venue, multi-day festival with Chicago’s own Whitney and NE-HI at The Metro. As guests filed into the city’s legendary venue, the room buzzed with anticipation for the hometown show, which was actually Whitney and NE-HI’s first performance at the Wrigleyville concert hall.

Philadelphia’s up and comers Mt Joy warmed up the stage for both Chicago bands, returning a few months after their Lollapalooza debut this past summer. The band eased the audience into the evening with their blend of indie folk and rock tunes, including their popular tracks “Sheep” and “Astrovan.”

After a quick changeover of sets, NE-HI walked onto stage to a whopping welcome of cheers and applause. The local four piece commanded the audience’s attention immediately with their fervent performance of their fuzzy rock songs. Lead singer Jason Balla’s distinct vocals and the band’s signature guitar styling have given them a unique sound, which has caught the attention of music fans across the country. Just this year, the band have toured nearly nonstop, playing SXSW, Daytrotter Downs, and Pitchfork Festival. Live, the band add another layer of vehemence and eagerness to their music, with Balla thrashing around the stage and guitarist Michael Wells jumping up and down throughout their set. Set highlights included their songs “Stay Young,” “Since I’ve Been Thinking,” and the title track of their 2017 album Offers. By the time NE-HI walked off the stage, the crowd was full warmed up and ready for Whitney’s first performance at Metro.

Just before Whitney took the stage, the front few rows were handed roses as an ode to the album cover of Whitney’s debut record Light Upon The Lake, and to add another special touch to the night. Whitney have turned heads with their layered and cinematic tunes; Their folk rock songs often featuring a horns section accompanying Ehrlich’s telltale falsetto vocals, both of which put a signature stamp on their music. The band also stands out with their unique stage setup, as lead singer Julien Ehrlich also drums during their live performances. Whitney’s hour long set at Metro featured some of their most popular tracks, but early on in the night Ehrlich told the audience that their set that night would be a little different than most nights. Their performance also featured a few covers of legendary artists, like Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Although the set started off minimal with Ehrlich performing the first song at the keyboard before moving over to his drum set at center stage, the energy built up as the night went on and the band were joined onstage with a live string section. The addition of the strings added another level of richness and warmth to the show, especially combined with the horns section. Whitney’s stunning and special hometown performance wrapped up past midnight with a three song encore, consisting of “Golden Days,” “Rolling Blackout,” and their most popular track “No Woman.”

The electric energy that filled The Metro at the end of night reflected the captivating quality of the Red Bull Sound Select shows. The shows have brought some of the best bands and musicians around to the city this month, and the lineup at this show particularly appealed to Chicago music fans, most of which felt a burst of pride at seeing the success of their fellow Chicagoans.

Check out our gallery of all three bands to relive the incredible evening, and head here for the scoop on the rest of 30 Days in Chicago.

Mt Joy



NE-HI will be joining Whitney for a tour later on this month-- see all the tour dates here, including a stop in Milwaukee. 

Can't get enough NE-HI? Revisit our interview with the band here.