On Monday night, Schubas kicked off October by welcoming the London-based trio Dream Wife. The group made their debut as headliners in this city by delivering a great show, sending a powerful message, and promoting femme fronted artists. For the first set of the night, Dream Wife put the spotlight on Chicago’s own Girl K; Prior to the tour, Dream Wife opened submissions for local non-binary and female fronted groups to open for them, and Kathy Patino’s indie pop project had been hand-selected for this show. As Patino and her bandmates played through songs released in the last year, like “Cinnamon” and “Division Club,” the audience continued to trickle into the room. In Chicago, Girl K has quickly become one of the buzziest local bands, thanks to the amiable mix of indie pop and rock that easily complements any lineup, and it didn’t take long for the music to win over those in the room unfamiliar with Girl K. Patino even performed a couple of brand new songs back to back during her set, both of which received an enthusiastic response from the audience.
Next up, the crowd warmly welcomed Russo, the brainchild of singer-songwriter Cailin Russo. The new outfit from Los Angeles had the chemistry of groups who have been playing for years, even though Russo’s debut EP House with a Pool just came out in July of this year. Despite the mention of her being sick, Russo and her bandmates brought a boisterous energy to the Schubas stage on Monday night, combining the spirit of a punk band with the cheekiness of pop music and they commanded the room’s undivided attention. Russo exerted all of her energy into the show, still delivering topnotch vocals as she danced and jumped around stage, while guitarist Tyler McCarthy kicked and trashed as he strummed, and drummer Hayley Brownell could be seen throwing every ounce of her gusto into her drumkit. As Russo played through the songs on the EP and a few newer tracks, the crowd loudly showed their appreciation for the showmanship being displayed.
Last but not least, Dream Wife closed out the night with a bang, returning to the city for the first time since their debut Lollapalooza performance in August, which also included an after show at Thalia Hall. The room at Schubas filled up with music fans eager to see Dream Wife hit the stage here as the main act, and no one left the show disappointed. The set list contained the majority of Dream Wife’s debut, self-titled album that they had released in January of this year. One full listen to the album, and fans knew that Dream Wife wasn’t just another rock band; they’re here to have their voices heard and they’re not afraid to deliver their message. One of the most important songs on the album (although they’re all empowering in their own way) is “Somebody,” and lead singer Rakel Mjöll set up the band’s performance of the song by saying, “This next song is a big fuck you to gender norms. Gender is a construct.” She then called forward all those who “identify as bad bitches” and dedicated the song to them. At this point in the set, the energy that had been bouncing between the audience members and the band members the entire night only amplified, and it continued to grow as the set closed out with the gritty anthem “F.U.U.” and flirty, feel-good tune “Let’s Make Out.”
If Monday night’s show is any indication, all three of the acts on this bill are set up for even more success in 2019, and both Russo and Dream Wife will be welcomed back to Chicago with open arms whenever they can return. Check out photos of the show below, and see where else you can catch Dream Wife on tour here.