Filtering by Tag: Varsity
Get tickets to the next ANCHR Showcase with Town Criers, The Edwards, In the Pines, and Dreamboats here.
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
It’s mid-January in Chicago, and you know what that means, right? Tomorrow Never Knows Fest kicks off this week! You’ve got your 5-day pass (or at least I hope you do—they’re already sold out), and now all that’s left to do is plot out your schedule for this annual indoor winter festival extravaganza that takes place across different venues in the city, like Lincoln Hall, Schubas, Sleeping Village and Metro. If you didn’t happen to snag five day passes, some of the shows still have individual tickets available, but read up on our recommendations and act quickly so you’re not left out in the cold for this year’s TNK!
Active Bird Community
Brooklyn-based four piece Active Bird Community combines long-term friendships with a candid, yet playful demeanor to deliver a live show full of punchy riffs and inside jokes told between songs. Tom D'Agustino, Andrew Wolfson, Zach Slater, and Quinn McGovern have been playing music together for more than ten years, which translates as a true sense of camaraderie both onstage and on their records. Every time I’ve seen this band, I spent their set bopping my head along to their upbeat melodies and laughing at their stage banter, making their set one not to miss at TNK. This past Fall, they released their third album Amends, which follows up 2015’s I’ve Been Going Swimming and 2017’s Stick Around, so their set at Lincoln Hall will be sure to feature some new music. For more on Active Bird Community, check out our interview here.
For Fans Of: The Frights, together PANGEA, Vundabar
Start With: “Pick me Apart,” “Virginia,” “Amends”
Where to catch them: Wednesday, January 16th at Lincoln Hall with Charly Bliss and Girl K
The project of London-born, Chicago-based singer songwriter Lillie West (AKA Lala Lala) has been garnering buzz throughout the city the last few years, and recently nationally since West and her band toured nearly non-stop last year with bands like Frankie Cosmos, Wolf Parade and WHY?. 2018 saw the release of Lala Lala’s second full length album, The Lamb, which showcases West’s knack for honest and introspective storytelling through her lyrics. West also fearlessly dives into different sonic territories on the album’s twelve tracks, blending together different genres that portray the various emotions explored in the songs. The Lamb is easily one of my most listened to albums of 2018, and the band puts on one of the best live shows. If you need even more reason to add this to your TNK itinerary, this gig will be the last chance to catch Lala Lala in town for a while (they embark on a two month tour afterwards). Don’t miss it!
For Fans Of: Madeline Kenney, Jay Som, Soccer Mommy
Start With: “Water Over Sex,” “Scary Movie,” “I Get Cut”
Where to catch them: Thursday, January 17th at Metro with Varsity and Snail Mail
What began as a solo, bedroom-recorded project of songwriter Wyatt Grant has since blossomed into the full four piece that is current day Pool Holograph. With Zach Stuckman and brothers Paul and Jake Stolz joining Grant, their sound has filled out and developed in order to transition well in a live setting, making Pool Holograph’s show a must-see at this year’s TNK. The group recently followed up their 2017 album Transparent World with two new singles “Contours” and “No Escape,” which both highlight the band’s versatile sound that blends together elements of post punk, art rock, and lo-fi genres— or as Grant describes their sound, it’s like “a closed Urban Outfitters store circa 2008.” For more fun facts about the band (if that one didn’t already sell you), check out our interview with them here.
For Fans Of: Omni, NE-HI, Clearance
Start With: “Heat Map,” “Contours,” “Stratus Sheets”
Where to catch them: Wednesday, January 16th at Schubas with Bad Bad Hats, Video Age, Con Davison
With their polished indie rock sound and memorable melodies, Chicago’s Varsity has an air about their music that is familiar without being derivative. Over the past few years, the group has toured regularly and shared stages with the likes of Japanese Breakfast and SALES, earning them a well-deserved fanbase that extends outside of the city. In the midst of touring (and sharing members Paul and Jake Stolz with Pool Holograph), Varsity still managed to release their sophomore album Parallel Person and two singles, “The Dogs Only Listen to Him” and “UFO,” in 2018. On top of all of that fresh music, the band teased the possibility of another brand new song being ready for their TNK set this week, so hopefully you already snagged tickets to this sold out show!
For Fans Of: Japanese Breakfast, No Vacation, Alvvays
Start With: “UFO,” “Downtown,” “A Friend Named Paul”
Where to catch them: Thursday, January 17th at Metro with Lala Lala and Snail Mail
Whether it’s her musical transformation from lead singer of a punk band to a sweet and soulful solo artist, her thoughtful marketing strategies, or her humor on social media (I mean have you seen her lip-sync videos??), Jordanna’s artistry knows no bounds. Her buttery vocals and sultry, smooth tempos are equally enthralling and soothing for her listeners and audience members, and she brings a sense of authenticity to everything she does. Jordanna’s debut EP, “Sweet Tooth,” features tracks like “Lucky For You” and “Sugar” which will be sure to have you grooving and swaying along. Her show at TNK is sold out, so hopefully you have a ticket or a 5 day pass— but if not you can also check out Jordanna at her own annual event on February 23rd: Candyland.
For Fans Of: Your Smith (FKA Caroline Smith), Tasha, The Marías
Start With: “Lucky For You,” “Eu Quero Você,” “I’m Your Girl”
Where to catch them: Thursday, January 17th at Schubas with Still Woozy, Victor!, Monster Rally
Adrian Galvin (aka Yoke Lore) is part musician, part visual artist, part dancer, and part spiritual guru. He’s even an expert on pirates (more on that here). Despite the fact that Galvin has so many creative passions, he still manages to excel in all aspects of his art. Through his message and his music, Galvin radiates motivation and positivity that can’t help but lift your spirits when you hear it. By blending ethereal vocals, the occasional twang of a banjo, and sweeping melodies, Yoke Lore’s music is easy to love and hard to forget. Yoke Lore’s show is one of the sold out ones on this list, but if you were smart enough to snag tickets ahead of time, be prepared to be blown away at his show on Saturday night.
For Fans Of: Overcoats, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, Lewis Del Mar
Start With: “Beige,” “Goodpain,” “Cut and Run”
Where to catch them: Saturday, January 19th at Schubas with Sontalk, Shortly, Ester
Bad Bad Hats
Minneapolis’s Bad Bad Hats earns a place on this list as one of the few non-Chicagoan bands with their bright, effervescent indie pop-rock. The trio, consisting of Kerry Alexander, Chris Hoge, and Connor Davison, has released two albums (the most recent, Lightning Round, just came out in August), and both records deliver a multifaceted, layered and diverse soundscape. Their sophomore album especially explores different genres and hues that set each song apart as a separate chapter, yet each track seamlessly complements the rest of the album perfectly. Their show at TNK will certainly keep the audience on their toes with the band’s dynamic catalog of songs.
For Fans Of: Hippo Campus, Maggie Rogers, Hala
Start With: “It Hurts,” “Midway,” “Psychic Reader”
Where to catch them: Wednesday, January 16th at Schubas with Video Age, Con Davison, Pool Holograph
With their groovy bass lines that you can’t resist dancing to and their live production that adds an extra layer of sparkle and shine, it’s impossible not to smile while at a Sports show. The band’s feel-good, synth laden music and the infectious energy that the band members all exude with their stage presence will make their show on Sunday night at TNK the perfect end to the five day festival. This past August, Sports followed up 2016’s album People Can’t Stop Chillin with Everyone’s Invited, so their set will be sure to feature some new tunes since their last show here in Chicago.
For Fans Of: POND, St. Lucia, Triathalon
Start With: “Panama,'“ “You Are the Right One,” “Don’t Tell Me”
Where to catch them: Sunday, January 20th at Lincoln Hall with Pavo Pavo and Arlie
The brain child of Chicago-based singer songwriter Kathy Patino, Girl K, has provided a refreshing addition to the local rock scene, making a huge splash in a relatively short amount of time. Much like a few of the other artists on this list, the project began as a solo endeavor for Patino in 2017 before she added a full roster with musicians Ajay Raghuraman, Alex Pieczynski, and Kevin Sheppard. Girl K has kept Chicago music fans hooked by regularly playing shows around the city and releasing music— In 2018, Patino released three singles to follow up her debut full length Sunflower Court, and her recent live shows have featured performances of brand new material. 2019 is gearing up to be an even bigger year for Girl K, so don’t miss them kicking off TNK on Wednesday night.
For Fans Of: Beach Bunny, Lunar Vacation, Slow Pulp
Start With: “Dog Year Lungs,” “Cinnamon,” “80’s Baby”
Where to catch them: Wednesday, January 16th at Lincoln Hall with Active Bird Community and Charly Bliss
The Hideout sent off some of our favorite hometown bands to SXSW over the weekend leading up to the fest. If you weren't able to come out to the kick off, relive the stacked line up by checking out photos from the entire day. The line up featured James Swanberg, Varsity, Moonrise Nation, Bunny, The Waco Brothers, Pixel Grip, and Ariel Zetina.
Stay tuned for more SXSW coverage coming soon!