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Live Recap: Catfish and the Bottlemen at Aragon Ballroom 10.05.19

Catfish and the Bottlemen have played just about all size and scope of shows in Chicago; From headlining venues like Schubas and House of Blues to opening up for Green Day at Wrigley Field and playing festivals like Lollapalooza, there’s been endless possibilities to see them perform here. This past Saturday, the band performed their biggest headline show to date to a packed house at Aragon Ballroom.

The venue was a room that Catfish and The Bottlemen had played on other bills before, but this time they were the main act, and their devoted fans filled the room ready to support them. Saturday’s show was also their first performance in the city proper since their third album, The Balance, was released earlier this spring (the band had played Piqniq in Tinley Park over the summer), so the setlist boasted some new material. The band balanced (pun intended) the new songs like “Longshot” and “2all” by also including fan favorites from their first two records The Balcony and The Ride. The crowd remained enthusiastic throughout the whole show, showing appreciation by screaming along to the lyrics and relentlessly cheering, but nothing quite matched the audience reactions during the classics like “Kathleen” and “Cocoon.”

Catfish and the Bottlemen is a band that has consistently delivered captivating live shows, thanks to lead singer Van McCann’s magnetic stage presence that always seems to effortlessly connect with the crowd of any size. If you missed them during this past tour, the band will return to The States for the second part of their US tour this winter—see dates here.

Purchase a copy of The Balance here, or stream it in full below.

Live Recap: SHAED at 7th St Entry 09.30.19

SHAED’s career skyrocketed after they released their hit single “Trampoline” in June 2018; The tune can be heard playing nearly every time the radio is turned on, it’s been featured in Apple commercials, and the trio just recently re-released a new version featuring Zayn Malik. As the group continues to climb the charts, it’s certainly no surprise that their Monday night show at 7th St. Entry in Minneapolis, Minnesota was sold out.

In the moments leading up to the start of Monday’s show with opener Absofacto, excitement coursed through the room full of fans. He hyped up the crowd as fans in the audience screamed back at him after each song was over. His dance moves were electric and fun, which put a smile on many faces. He ended his 9-song set with “Dissolve,” which became a hit after appearing in videos on Tik Tok.  When it was all over, the audience began a chant for an encore.  

As the stage was getting set up for SHAED, fans were buzzing with even more anticipation. They screamed when the setlist came out and analyzed it, determining which ones they were most amped for. Then, the lights went down. A silence came over the crowd and orange lights framed the stage seconds before SHAED came on. 

They started their show off with “Just Wanna See,” the first song they ever released. As each song ended the lead singer, Chelsea Lee, lit up with a smile on her face. Her love and passion for music and performing was clearly apparent in the emotion on her face. They followed that song with “ISOU,” which was released earlier this year. Crowds already knew the words and sang along loudly and joyously. Throughout the show, Lee spoke about not being perfect but still loving yourself because no one is perfect, which resonated with the fans as they looked up to her with admiration in their eyes. 

SHAED closed out the show with their wildly popular single, “Trampoline.” The crowd was absolutely electric. They cherished every moment of that song and sang it back to SHAED with verve, and the band left everything they had on the stage. See where SHAED is off to next here

LIVE RECAP: Faye Webster at Schubas 06.19.19

Just a few short months ago, Faye Webster had warmed up the crowd at a sold out Stella Donnelly show at Schubas, captivating the packed room with just her dreamy vocals, her guitar, and the accompaniment of her pedal steel-player, Pistol.

When last Wednesday night rolled around, it almost felt like no time had passed since that night, but Webster’s return for her sold out headlining show included a full live backing band, as well as a fleshed out set list featuring songs from her latest album Atlanta Millionaires Club, released May 24th via Secretly Canadian. Webster’s band helped create a more full sound and bring songs like “Right Side of My Neck” and “Flowers” from the album to life. While the set primarily focused on the new material, it also mixed in songs from Webster’s 2017 self-titled album and a cover of Atlanta rapper Father’s “Cheap Thrills” that Webster played solo, sans her bandmates. Following a couple of solo songs, Webster welcomed not only her bandmates back onstage, but the yo-yo connoisseur Xion to the stage. Xion and Webster’s own yo-yo skills stole the show and got the audience amped up for the final few songs of the evening.

If you missed out on tickets to the show, see where you can catch Faye Webster next here, and check out photos from the show below.

Keep up with Faye Webster on Instagram and Facebook

PHOTOS: Glades and Frenship at Thalia Hall 05.29.19

Last Wednesday night, Frenship returned to Chicago for their biggest show yet, in honor of their debut album Vacation. The duo shared the Thalia Hall stage with Glades. Check out photos from both sets below, and see where you can catch Frenship on tour next here.

PHOTOS: Local Natives Spiral Choir Tour with Middle Kids at Thalia Hall

Last week Local Natives and Middle Kids took over Thalia Hall for two sold out shows on Thursday and Friday night. Check out photos from the Chicago stop of the Spiral Choir tour below.

See where you can catch Local Natives on tour next and listen to their fourth album Violet Street in full below!

Live Recap: Molly Burch Makes Chicago Headline Debut at Schubas 05.16.19

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.

Live Recap: Canadian Punk Rockers PUP Deliver a Masterful Sold Out Performance at Metro

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

Live Recap: Matt Maeson at Lincoln Hall 05.06.19

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!

Keep up with Matt Maeson on Twitter // Instagram // Facebook and listen to Bank On The Funeral in full below!

More on Matt Maeson

PHOTOS: The Drums at Metro 05.01.19

Last week The Drums returned to The Metro’s stage, in honor of their new album Brutalism, which was released on April 5th via ANTI- records. The Drums filled the venue with positive vibes and good energy, and gave Chicago fans their first live taste of the newest songs.

Check out photos of the May 1st show below, and see where you can catch the band next here.

Keep up with The Drums on Facebook // Twitter // Instagram and listen to Brutalism in full below!

PHOTOS: LÉON and Morgan Saint at House Of Blues 04.29.19

On Monday night, LÉON returned to Chicago to headline the House of Blues in honor of her debut, self-titled album. Check out photos of the show, also featuring Morgan Saint below.

Keep up with LÉON on Twitter // Facebook // Instagram and see her other upcoming tour dates here.