ANCHR Magazine

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Filtering by Tag: Metro Chicago

Live Recap: Nao and Jean Deaux at Metro 08.23.19

Just last month, the unfortunate news broke that the annual Mamby on the Beach festival would be cancelled, due to troubles with the location. That meant that many of the artists that music fans in Chicago had been looking forward to seeing perform would no longer be in town the weekend of August 23rd and 24th. On the other hand, some of the artists were still able to book new gigs at venues around the city, and fortunately one of those artists was Nao, who performed at the Metro on Friday night.

Chicago’s own Jean Deaux took the stage first on Friday, and she did a perfect job of warming the crowd up for Nao. Jean Deaux’s set was short, but sweet, and included a ton of crowd interaction encouraged by the singer. From call-and-response style sing alongs to dance moves, the crowd remained entertained the whole time. Being her hometown, some of the audience was already well-versed with Deaux’s music, but by the end of the set she had gained the entire room’s attention and admiration with her outgoing performance style.

By the time Nao was set to take the stage, the Metro had completely filled in, and it became clear how much of a positive impact the London R&B artist’s music has had on fans, even miles away from her hometown. When the lights dimmed and Nao’s band took the stage, she actually entered from the back of the crowd, singing the entirety of “Another Lifetime” alongside her audience. While the indoor venue was obviously scaled back from the size of the festival performance, Nao’s surprise introduction made her performance even more intimate.

As the night went on, Nao continued to truly connect with the audience through her lyrics, her stage presence, and her speaking points. Nao is an artist who bares her souls in her songwriting, and when she performs, she leaves all her energy onstage. Whether she was twirling across the stage, sitting down at the edge of the stage to be physically closer to the audience, or handing out white balloons (as an homage to her Saturn album cover), Nao’s energy was something that you didn’t just watch— it was something that you felt. Everyone in the room could genuinely relate to Nao as she recited an anecdote about change and personal growth before performing her new album’s title track “Saturn.”

The difference between a good show and a great show usually comes down to the energy put out by the performer and the crowd alike, and for Nao’s Metro performance, there was nothing but positive vibes in the room that night. The show brought people of all different backgrounds into one place, allowing for strangers to share an incredible moment together.

Keep up with Nao on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and check out photos from Friday’s show below.

Live Recap: Doubleheader From Lala Lala and Grapetooth Celebrates Chicago and Collaboration

After the last set at Union Park on Friday, music fans made their way to Metro for a double-header Pitchfork aftershow with Lala Lala and Grapetooth. The night started with a DJ set from Title TK, who had the crowd dancing as they settled in for the night and waited for Lala Lala to take the stage.

With the crowd warmed up, Lillie West and her bandmates began their set around 10:30, filling the room with dreamy melodies and captivating harmonies. West has always been at the center of Lala Lala and toured with an array of different musicians, but her band roster for Pitchfork weekend included some of the best musicians based out of Chicago at the moment—including V.V. Lightbody, KAINA, Sen Morimoto and Nnamdi Ogbonnaya. As the group played through songs from Lala Lala’s 2018 album The Lamb, the dynamic and multi-faceted nature of West’s songwriting was showcased. Songs like “Scary Movie” and “See You at Home” took a step back and slowed things down, with the latter featuring Sen Morimoto on saxophone. “Spy” and “Water Over Sex” built up the energy and momentum, creating a juxtaposition between the smoother, more subtle songs of the night.

By the end of Lala Lala’s set, the venue had mostly filled in, and the rowdy crowd beckoned Grapetooth onstage by chanting “Friday Night! Up All Night! Red wine in my blood tonight!”—which has become a tradition of sorts at Grapetooth’s past shows in Chicago at venues like Lincoln Hall and Thalia Hall.

While the show would eventually end in a much more intense way, Grapetooth began their set with one half of the duo, Clay Frankel, taking the stage for a solo performance of a new song—armed with just his guitar and harmonica. Following the gentle introduction, Grapetooth co-founder Chris Bailoni and drummer Justin Vittori took the stage to play the single “Violent” from the band’s 2018 debut album. As soon as the chorus for “Violent” kicked in, audience members were already up in the air crowd surfing and throwing each other around in a sweaty mosh pit. The dance party continued for the first half of the set, and eventually Frankel and Bailoni welcomed their friend and Chicago musician James Swanberg to the stage right around midnight. Swanberg’s bit kicked off a steady roll of guest appearances; Lillie West returned to the stage to perform a new song she co-wrote with Grapetooth, followed by an appearance from OHMME, who sang backing vocals on “Red Wine.” Next, Ian Sweet and James Swanberg joined OHMME for the second to last song “Imagine On”— and finally, a whole bunch of friends crashed the stage for the closing song of the night: Grapetooth’s debut single '“Trouble.” While the band’s friends joined them onstage to dance and sing the catchy, mischievous anthem, the crowd continued to go wild, ending the night (and day one of Pitchfork Fest) with a bang.


PHOTOS: Bad Sounds and Broods at Metro 04.10.19

Earlier this week, Emily Nava caught an energetic show from Bad Sounds and Broods at Metro Chicago. Check out her photo coverage of the night below!

See the rest of Bad Sounds’ upcoming tour dates here.

Live Recap: Snail Mail Returns to TNK Fest for a Sold Out Show with Varsity and Lala Lala

Last year, Lindsey Jordan’s project Snail Mail played a sold out headline show at Schubas as part of Chicago’s annual TNK Festival, and this year, Jordan and her band returned to do the same. Only this time, they played to about five times as many people at The Metro.

From the moment the doors opened at the Wrigleyville venue, streams of fans took their place in the packed room for a great night of music, which kicked off at 9PM sharp with Chicago’s own Varsity. The indie pop-rock five piece delivered a short, but sweet set to warm everyone up for the rest of the night. Varsity kept their between-song banter to a minimum and smoothly transitioned from song to song in order to pack in as many of their tunes as possible into their set time. The crowd sang along to a lot of Varsity’s familiar favorites, like “So Sad, So Sad,” which got a lot of cheers when the opening chords rang out. Before closing out with one of their latest singles “The Dogs Only Listen to Him,” the band tested out a brand new song on the attentive audience.

Next, it was time for Lala Lala, the project of Chicago-based singer-songwriter Lillie West. The set kicked off with the single “Water Over Sex” from Lala Lala’s second album The Lamb, which was just released in September last year, but was easily one of my top played albums of 2018. Based on the amount of people singing and dancing along, it clearly wasn’t just me who had the album on repeat. Like the album itself, the live set showcases the dynamic production and soundscapes of the songs, ranging from the jarring, percussive intro of “I Get Cut” to the mellow and slow-building “Lala Song.”  Although West’s live lineup of fellow Chicago musicians often changes with different tours based on schedules, her current band had great chemistry and seamlessly flowed with one another. West and the band closed out the set on a high note, performing West and WHY?’s collaboration “Siren 042,” which had just been released the week prior. The final song of the set featured Sen Morimoto on saxophone, who will also be joining Lala Lala on their nearly two month tour that kicked off last week.

Finally, with the crowd warmed up and anxious for Snail Mail to hit the stage, the lights dimmed and Jordan made her way onstage with her bandmates. The musicians were welcomed with an overwhelming wave of cheers and applause as they began an instrumental intro, which bled into the single “Heat Wave” from Snail Mail’s 2018 debut album Lush. The crowd immediately became a choir, echoing the lyrics back to Jordan, who gave her approval with a “sounds good” and a smile. While Snail Mail may only have one album out, the band spent 2018 touring relentlessly, and the graceful and humble nature displayed by Jordan on Thursday night was that of a seasoned, veteran performer.

Throughout the rest of the set, Jordan’s humility remained, paired with an effortless and natural stage presence that kept the sold-out crowd hypnotized. Whether it was to songs from the album, like “Let’s Find An Out” and “Deep Sea,” or earlier material like “Thinning” from Snail Mail’s 2016 EP Habit, the audience never stopped singing along. When it came time for Jordan to perform the lead single from the album, “Pristine,” she invited a couple of guests up onstage to lend a hand as backing vocalists. As the night began to wind down, Jordan closed out the set sans band to give a solo performance of “Anytime” and “Stick.”


If you missed out on tickets to the memorizing TNK show, see where you can catch Snail Mail next here.


Photos of Varsity, Lala Lala and Snail Mail at TNK night two

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

Live Recap: Billie Eilish Brought Her Sold Out Headline Tour to Metro Chicago 10.28.18

Just about a year ago, I first caught Billie Eilish at her sold out Chicago debut at Schubas Tavern. While the Schubas show was still packed to the brim with devoted fans, after catching Eilish again at The Metro this past Sunday night, it became clear that her debut was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a Billie Eilish show. This time around, Eilish was not only equipped with more experience, but she brought along a bigger live band and a spider-shaped production rig that filled the entire stage.

Eilish began the set hidden behind a part of the stage as her band members took their places, and after building suspense, the singer jumped out to start singing “my boy” from the 2017 EP dont smile at me. Immediately the young crowd loudly sang along with the repetitive and catchy chorus, sticking their phones in the air to document the start of the show. As the night went on, the pace of the music sometimes shifted, but the enthusiasm of the audience and the momentum of the show never waned; fans sang and danced along no matter what song Eilish was performing. Whatever energy the crowd gave Eilish, she continuously fed back to them, and she never stopped expressing her genuine gratitude. Eilish also made it clear she cared for the crowd’s well-being, and early on in the night paused her set to make sure everyone felt okay had plenty of water.

For the majority of Eilish’s set, the mood remained upbeat, most of her hook-laden pop anthems allowing for the crowd to dance along with her and the booming bass. Songs like “Party Favor” and a short cover of “Hotline Bling” that Eilish performed armed with a ukulele highlighted her versatile sound by stripping back some of the heavier production featured on some of her other material. Towards the end of the set, the singer slowed things down and staked out a spot on a stool that was stationed center stage, where she sang her latest single “when the party’s over;” a falsetto driven piano ballad.

The first chapter of the show closed out with another popular song from Eilish’s debut: “bellyache.” The singer briefly left the stage after that song, but didn’t make the overzealous crowd wait long for an encore, as they quickly filled the room with overwhelming shouts for more songs. The crowd of about a thousand that packed The Metro on Sunday mimicked that of a room of 10,000 with their deafening noise levels.

In just one year’s time, Eilish was able to sell out a room five times the size of her debut show, beef up her setlist with a handful of new singles, and deliver a show accompanied by full stage production, so there’s no telling where she’ll be at the next time she performs in Chicago. Catch Billie in a city near you (dates here) and check out photos from Sunday’s performance below.

Keep up with Billie Eilish on Facebook // Twitter // Instagram