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This weekend, Kevin Morby and Sam Cohen took over Thalia Hall on Friday and Saturday night. Kevin Morby brought along a full band (including a flutist and backing vocalists) to deliver a dynamic performance of his new album Oh My God, as well as some older favorites like “Parade” and “Harlem River.” Check out photos from the first of two shows below.
After a handful of support slots for artists like Tim Darcy and Alex Cameron, Molly Burch finally made her headlining debut in Chicago this past Thursday night. The Austin-based singer songwriter instantly captivated the crowd at Schubas with her soulful and alluring sound that’s both reminiscent of the classics like Billie Holiday and Patsy Cline, yet refreshing and unique. Her dreamy vocals combines the perfect mix of croon with just a hint of twang.
Much like Burch’s dexterous singing capabilities, with a range that scales both powerful and delicate notes, her stage presence has an effortless grace about it. Burch remained cool and composed even when belting out the chorus of her debut album’s title track, “Please Be Mine.” That song has always been a favorite of mine from the album, but seeing it performed live by Burch and her bandmates (who lent some harmonious backing vocals to the tune) really brought the ballad to life. Thursday’s night set was also a special treat for me because I got to hear several songs off of Molly Burch’s sophomore album, First Flower, live for the first time, since this was the first time Burch had toured in Chicago since its October release date. The follow up to Please Be Mine stays true to Burch’s signature style but also shows a growth and exploration of new subjects and sounds, and the new songs translated very well in the live sense. It was nearly impossible not to sway along to every song throughout the night.
If you get a chance to catch a show from Molly Burch, don’t pass it up— see her upcoming tour dates here, and check out photos from her Chicago show below.
Listen to Molly Burch’s First Flower in full below.
On Monday night Johnny Marr put on a spectacular show at Chicago’s The Vic Theatre, performing an extensive setlist that featured songs from Marr’s solo work as well as his Electronic and The Smiths catalog. Check out photos from his electrifying performance below, and see where you can catch him on tour next here.
Kirin J Callinan brought his extravagant one-man spectacle to Chicago’s Bottom Lounge on Thursday, May 9th, warming up the stage for Broncho. Callinan’s set included dance moves, outfit changes, crowd participation, an A cappella closer and more— making for one of the best solo performances I’ve ever seen. If you missed out on the fun, check out photos of Planet What and Kirin J Callinan’s set below!
When PUP rolls through your town, you know you’re about to experience a cathartic show. And their recent concert at Metro on May 4 was nothing short of a sweaty, moshing sold out dream. Chicago indie-country rising stars Ratboys helped open up the show playing a few hits off their last album “GN” - out on Topshelf Records now. Songs included “Elvis in the Freezer”, “Molly”, and “Crying about the Planets.” Fronted by Julia Steiner and David Sagan, the duo delivered serious punk rock energy on the stage - even busting a few strings along the way.
Before PUP even began their set, there was a rush of fans to the barriers and electrifying excitement pulsated in the air. It’s been a minute since the band graced the Midwest and it certainly had fans riled up. The band kicked off their set with the single off their recently released album of the same name Morbid Stuff. They played fan favorites such as “Free at Last,” “Scorpion Hill,” and “Reservoir.”
Earlier in the year, the band shared the tabs to their song “Free at Last” on Twitter and asked fans to cover the song. One of the best covers the band received was from Kodakrome, a local Chicagoan act. PUP invited the band to play their version of the song for the crowd and then launched into their version of it. Before playing their final song, PUP announced they don’t do encores and ripped into “DVP”…A grand way to end a masterful first sold out show at the Metro.
The band will return to play the venue once more on May 23rd. Check out their tour dates, many of which are sold out, here.
Photos of Rayboys and PUP on 5/4/19
See where you can catch Black Belt Eagle Scout and Julia Jacklin on tour next here.
After a headlining show at Schubas back in 2016, a handful of opening slots at various venues around town, and a set at Lollapalooza 2018, Matt Maeson returned to Chicago on Monday night for a headlining set at Lincoln Hall. Unsurprisingly, the show sold out weeks in advance.
The same fans who had eagerly bought tickets for the show arrived right on time to get a prime spot to hear Maeson’s heartfelt narratives that blend together indie rock and pop vibes with his soulful vocals and poetic lyricism. This show marked Maeson’s first time in Chicago since his full length debut album Bank On The Funeral dropped on April 5th, but his set opened up with the familiar single “Hallucinogenic” from 2018— it’s slow-building and begins with an acoustic guitar and Maeson’s soft crooning. When the explosive and emotive chorus for the night’s opening song kicked in, the whole crowd could be heard singing along, providing a stereo style singalong. That same style of singalong continued throughout the rest of the night; It didn’t matter if Maeson was singing one of his newer songs like “Beggar’s Song", one of the singles from his full length, or if he was performing his most popular song “Cringe”— the entire room echoed the words back.
Although a vast majority of the songs possess a certain heaviness and sincerity in the subject matter and the tones can be mellow and melancholy, Maeson did lighten the mood with some banter in between songs. During one of the breaks between songs, a fan yelled out something about shiny boots, which had made an appearance in a promo shoot that Maeson did. Sadly, he had to post a follow up video to clear up that he didn’t actually own the $1500 boots and just had them for a photo and video shoot. Luckily, one of the fans in the Chicago crowd heard about the loss of the boots, and she crafted a mini pair of the boots to gift Maeson during the concert.
If you weren’t able to snag a pair of tickets to this sold out show on Monday, check out our photo gallery of the evening for a peak of what you missed!
More on Matt Maeson
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