Filtering by Tag: House of Blues
In the past few years, it’s almost come to be expected that a movie from our childhood will be remade, a TV show from the 90’s will be rebooted, or a band whose poster we hung up in our room in high school will embark on a reunion tour. So when sisters Aly and AJ Michalka announced a new EP 10 years in 2017 and returned to touring after a bit of a hiatus, it came as no surprise that both long-term fans and new listeners alike flocked to support the duo in a new era. With yet another new EP, Sanctuary, dropping this Friday, May 10th, and another massive tour underway, it’s clear that Aly & AJ’s comeback offers so much more than just a token of nostalgia; there’s a genuine passion and an immense talent that shines through-- both on their latest releases and during their live shows.
On Sunday night, the sisters returned to Chicago to perform to a sold out crowd at The House of Blues, promptly returning to the city after their last live show here in July at Thalia Hall. As eager fans quickly filled up the historic theater to see the show, it was clear that Aly & AJ would be welcomed back to Chicago any time. The house lights dimmed and light poles that had been positioned around the stage glistened, blinking on and off, signifying the start of a journey that fans would experience during the show. That journey began with “Church,” the lead single from the upcoming EP, giving everyone a taste of the new music before diving into a setlist that would touch on every era of Aly & AJ’s sound.
Throughout the show, the sisters moved around onstage donning matching blue, sparkly suits and their lighting rig transitioned between different tones and hues for each song, giving the audience a spectacle that was just as visually enthralling as it was audibly. Aly & AJ’s close bond clearly translated as they played together, but they even had incredible chemistry with their other bandmates; their tightness as musicians spotlighted the time and thought that they all put into making the show the best possible experience. The great sound quality, production quality, and the sibling harmonies mixed with some refreshed and drawn out live arrangements really made for a special event and one of those shows where you just had to be there to explain the energy in the room. To top it all off, Aly & AJ also treated their fans to their own rendition of “Slow Burn” by Kacey Musgraves in between fan-favorites on their setlist, like “Rush,” “Potential Breakup Song,” and “Like Whoa.”
About their tour, Aly has said “Shows are a sanctuary for our fans. We find a lot of peace and healing comes with talking to them while on tour,” and after getting to experience one of their recent shows, there’s no denying the truth in that statement. The sisters have also partnered with the Trevor Project, which is a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ young people, on this tour. By taking some time to discuss the work that the Trevor Project does and collect donations, Aly & AJ further emphasized the point that their shows are safe spaces for all of their fans.
If you’re looking to experience you own Aly & AJ oasis, see where you can catch them on tour next here.
Photos of Aly & AJ at House of Blues 05.05.19
Pre-order Sanctuary here and listen to the latest single “Don’t Go Changing” below!
All Time Low returned to downtown Chicago’s House of Blues on Friday, December 21st to kick off the holiday weekend.
Fans of all ages flocked to The House of Blues on Friday night, bustling with excitement as they filled the decadent theater from wall to wall. After an opening set from Los Angeles band The Wrecks, the sold out crowd animatedly chatted during the stage changeover. Finally, after the 30 minute stretch, the house lights dimmed and the sound of “We Will Rock You” by Queen surrounded the audience, who clapped, stomped, and sang along while they waited for the four members of All Time Low to hit the stage. Seeing as the show took place a few short days before Christmas, the Queen song transitioned into “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey, teasing the crowd one more time before the band finally burst onto the stage.
Once the band members had taken their place on the dim stage, the show began with a flash of bright lights and the opening notes of “Stella” from 2009’s Nothing Personal rang out into the crowd. From the get go, lead singer Alex Gaskarth refused to remain stationary for too long, often leaving his designated spot at the center of the stage to wander closer to the edge of the stage and give attention to every corner of the room. The fans in the crowd matched the band’s lively spirit, loudly singing along and jumping to every single song, no matter if it was from the early era of the 2000’s or one of their latest singles like “Everything is Fine,” which they played second. Along with the jumping and dancing that made House of Blues’ floor bounce and shake, fans immediately began crowd surfing and they stayed up for the entire show— with some fans crowd surfing even during the band’s slower songs.
Throughout the night, the unbeatable sense of chemistry and the enthusiastic performance from the four band members kept the mood high, but between songs, the band kept the audience laughing and smiling with their humorous stage banter; with Gaskarth and guitarist Jack Barakat often firing quips back and forth or cracking jokes with audience members. Gaskarth also kept the tone of the night light-hearted by granting passes for normal security faux pas— when introducing the song “Something’s Gotta Give,” he encouraged the crowd to channel their music festival habits, saying, “I understand in this here establishment, we can’t get on shoulders, but I’m gonna need you to get on some shoulders for this.” Fans took a break from crowd surfing for this song to climb on their friends’ shoulders and sway. Things slowed down slightly for “Therapy,” which followed, but the audience’s sing a long still echoed loudly, and some fans put their phone lights or lighters in the air to keep the crowd participation levels up.
Later on in the night, an interaction between Gaskarth and a long-time fan summed up a good portion of the room’s history with the band; When a crowd surfer got pulled over the barricade right at the end of a song, she got lucky enough to catch the singer’s ear and he asked security to let her stop and introduce herself with the microphone. “I looked down and she’s just like HEY I’M CHRISTIE! I WAS 13 WHEN I FIRST SAW YOU,” Gaskarth said, filling in everyone in the balcony and the back of the venue who may have missed the beginning of the interaction. While the crowd on Friday night definitely contained teenagers and some older generations, the majority of the audience members, like Christie, were now in their 20’s and had been listening to All Time Low for more than 10 years— since they were teenagers. And luckily for the fans who have been with All Time Low for years, the setlist for the Chicago show contained a good mix of their discography, filling everyone with nostalgia during the early-day throwbacks. Further catering to the nostalgia, All Time Low ended Friday’s encore with “Jasey Rae” from their 2006 debut album and “Dear Maria, Count Me In” from their 2008 album So Wrong, It's Right. Regardless of how long you’d been listening to the band or how many years you’ve been going to their concerts, there was no denying the feel-good mood of the room and the sense of happiness everyone felt as they left the show that night.
If you missed out on the sold out show, check out photos from All Time Low’s set below.
British rockers The Struts kicked off a sold out, two night stint at The House of Blues last Friday night. Despite it being a rainy, cold evening and the day after a holiday, by the time openers The Glorious Sons were wrapping up their set with a cover of “Gimme Shelter,” the theater was packed wall to wall with fans eager to see The Struts for the first time since their new album YOUNG&DANGEROUS came out.
After a stage changeover, The Struts burst onto the stage and were immediately greeting by thundering applause and cheers. Each band member sported a custom getup and lead singer Luke Spiller had painted glitter war stripes onto his face, giving them a glam rock aesthetic to match their sound and bravado. Opening up with “Primadonna Like Me” and “Body Talks” from the new album, the band immediately let the crowd know they were in for a wild ride with their magnetic and intense stage presence. Although Spiller later on addressed the end-of-tour slump any performer will surely experience from time to time, saying he was “absolutely knackered” after this recent run of shows, no one could have guessed it based on the band’s gusto that accelerated from the get go and only kept on going throughout the set. Spiller credited the crowd’s support as keeping them going during long stretches, adding that nights like tonight made it all worth it. Throughout the rest of the set, Spiller also encouraged positive energy and interaction amongst audience members; After performing new songs and a couple throwbacks like “Kiss This” from 2016’s Everybody Wants, Spiller prompted everyone to ask their neighbors to dance to their cover of “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen.
Nowadays, there’s never a shortage of new music being created and plenty of musicians can make a great record, but the same can’t be always be said for live shows. However, with The Struts, their live shows are something so magical, yet indescribable at times; it’s a force between the musicians onstage and between them and the audience…something so magnificent that it can drown out the outside world and let people escape with the music for a couple of hours. Perhaps it’s the seemingly natural ease of being on stage that exudes from frontman Spiller— he saunters across the stage, singing every word with intention while decked out in extravagant costumes, reminiscent of the greats like Mick Jagger and Freddie Mercury— or maybe it’s the entire band’s love for rock’n’roll music that shines through in every song that they write, but The Struts’ performances have such a genuinely remarkable air about them. It’s that unique quality that keeps audiences coming back again and again— and perhaps why the audience on Friday was full of fans of all different ages and demographics. No matter the differences between the audience members, The Struts were able to bring everyone together through their music and give everyone another reason to smile on Friday night.
If you missed out on the incredible sold out shows, check out our photo gallery of the first night below.
Listen to YOUNG&DANGEROUS in full below!
On All Hallow’s Eve, fans packed the House of Blues to catch a co-headlining tour from Rochester’s Joywave and LA’s Sir Sly.
After husband and wife duo from Minnesota and Sweden, respectively, Flora Cash warmed up the stage for the evening’s co-headliners, Joywave made their long awaited and highly anticipated return to a Chicago stage, rushing out to a startling swirl of lights. Along with the flood of overhead lights, the band set the night off with a bang, opening with the appropriately titled single “Blastoffff,” which just came out this Summer and features a heavy bassline and explosive chorus. Massive light boxes with phrases like “Applause,” “Jump,” and “Vape” sat behind the band, adding even more glimmer to the bright production set up. The group kept the momentum going by following up with “Somebody New” from their 2015 album, which also features in-your-face bass. Of course, with it being Halloween, Joywave added some spookiness to their set by donning costumes onstage, but they really upped their Halloween game towards the end of their set. After playing nearly an hour long mix of songs from 2015’s How Do You Feel Now? and 2017’s Content, their set began to wind down with “Tongues” from the former. During the second to last song of their set, one of the band’s friend crashed the stage dressed as the devil to help them finish out the song, which immediately segued into their closing song “Destruction.” The set’s finale had the whole room jumping in unison, causing the floor at the theatre to bounce.
Closing out the night, Sir Sly— or Disturbed, as Joywave’s Daniel Armbruster had teased their Halloween costumes earlier in the night— took the stage rocking full goth makeup and black outfits. As they began their first song, their latest and unreleased track called “Welcome The Pressure,” the room filled with a haze of fog, going along with the dark and spooky vibes of the night. Frontman Landon Jacobs and his bandmates Hayden Coplen and Jason Suwito had last been to Chicago just a couple months prior to play Lollapalooza, one of the many festivals the band hit on their Spring and Summer tour runs. Chicago warmly welcomed back the LA trio, with the full house loudly singing along to Sir Sly songs old and new, and Jacobs couldn’t help but break out of his dark demeanor to show his appreciation. “Have you ever seen a goth this smiley?” Jacobs asked the crowd, beaming about the fact that this show marked their biggest headline show in Chicago to date.
Throughout the rest of the set, the three piece kept a heavy focus on the fact that it was Halloween, but their usual goofy personalities also continued to shine through. “I didn’t wear makeup for nothing,” Jacobs also joked when asking the crowd to go as hard as they could for the rest of the night. The audience didn’t disappoint and kept their energy high to match the momentum of songs like “Trippin’” and “Change” from 2017’s Don’t You Worry, Honey. Jacobs kept the latter fresh and unique to this show by delivering a one-off monologue during the bridge, which has changed every time I’ve seen them on this album cycle. The band also kept their Halloween show special by giving the audience a rare “choose your own adventure” option after performing another one of their aptly spooky songs “Ghost” from their debut album. Jacobs gave the crowd the choice of either hearing a sad song with a speech introducing it, or hearing another Halloween song. Of course, the votes swayed towards the second option and the band played “You Haunt Me,” the title track from their 2014 debut. The eerie mood continued throughout the rest of the night, when Jacobs introduced their single “High” by saying it was based off the scariest thing that’s ever happened to him. “I got too high in a hotel room and I thought I was gonna die. Here I am still standing, but I tasted a little bit of death,” he said before launching into the song. The song once again had the room jumping so high that the floors would shake, but Sir Sly didn’t let the mood die down; instead they launched into an immediate encore performance of the popular single, feeding everyone a second dose of “High.” The night ended with “&Run,” another high intensity single, which the band performed with a fleshed out live arrangement, stretching out the ending with a crescendoing finale. Every time I’ve watched Sir Sly perform, they leave everything they’ve got on the stage, pouring themselves into the performance in such a genuine fashion. It’s only a matter of time before they’re headlining bigger shows and getting more of the attention that they deserve as artists.
If you missed out on the Halloween festivities, check out our photo gallery of all three bands below, and see where you can catch Sir Sly next here.
Catch this tour in a city near you- view all the upcoming dates for Great Good Fine Ok here.
This past Saturday night, The Aces and COIN took over The House of Blues Chicago to put on a stunning show to the sold out venue.
After only touring for the first time with Joywave at the end of 2017, The Aces returned to Chicago in a blaze of glory, with some new songs and old favorites. The four piece's breakout single "Stuck" has racked up over five million Spotify streams, and it definitely acted as a set highlight, but the eager crowd was already singing along to The Aces' brand new single "Lovin' Is Bible," which they had only released the day prior. The Aces' music compliments certain elements of COIN's music so well, so anybody that had yet to hear of the latter was quickly won over by their carefree, catchy riffs and sticky choruses. The band and audience bounced infectious energy off one another, starting the night on the right foot.
When the Nashville natives of COIN took the stage next, the energy of the crowd only amplified, and the crowd mimicked a surround sound speaker system, echoing the lyrics of COIN's songs back to the stage. As the setlist weaved through different sections of COIN's discography, featuring newest track "Growing Pains" and tracks like "I Don't Wanna Dance" and "Talk Too Much" from 2017's How Will You Know If You Never Try, the crowd remained relentless. They danced along with the pop-fused rock songs, causing the floor of the Downtown venue to act as a trampoline, propelling everyone to keep moving. The high spirits of the audience and the band themselves never wavered, and their intense production and lighting complimented the upbeat music.
The night ended with a roar of appreciation, not just for COIN, but The Aces too, and an ambitious and optimistic air clung to the concert-goers as they left the venue at the end of the night, knowing that they'd just witnessed a monumental moment. If you missed out on the show, check out our photo gallery of both bands for a look at evening!