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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: Kevin Garrett Makes His Return to Lincoln Hall

The first time I saw Kevin Garrett perform was way back in 2015, when he opened up an X Ambassadors show at Lincoln Hall and he only had one EP (Mellow Drama) to his name. This past Sunday night, I got to see Kevin Garrett return to the very same stage—only this time he was headlining, and he had a lot of new material under his belt.

Between the first time and this most recent show, Garrett has been back to Chicago performing on several different stages, and he independently released 2017’s False Hope Ep and his 2019 full length debut Hoax. His debut album had been a long time coming, and it followed a significant touring hiatus. “Some people thought I died last year,” the singer had joked during his set when he mentioned his time away. While it may have been a significant break, fans old and new filled up the room, eager to soak in long-time favorites and brand new songs. Garrett and his live band beautifully delivered everything they had as they performed songs from the album for the first time and put a refreshing spin on some of the older material. They even performed “Pray You Catch Me,” which Garrett had written with Beyonce for 2016’s Lemonade. The dynamic setlist truly went full circle— beginning with the first track from Hoax, “Warn,” and ending with Garrett’s most popular track, “Coloring,” which is the first track off his debut EP. Throughout the 90 minute set, Garrett’s signature falsetto vocals never wavered, pulling the crowd in with the vulnerable and raw quality of his songwriting. Fans joined in on the cathartic singalong of course, which didn’t go unnoticed by Garrett. “I’m in Chicago and you guys are singing songs I wrote in my bedroom,” he said as he thanked the audience for their continued support throughout the years.

There’s an undeniable sense of authenticity to Kevin Garrett’s music and his live performances, and it’s clear that as long as that quality remains, Chicago will be showing up to support him for a long time. See where you can catch Kevin Garrett on tour next here, and see photos of his latest Chicago performance 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

Live Recap: Aly & AJ Provide Sanctuary for Their Fans at House of Blues

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

Pre-order Sanctuary here and listen to the latest single “Don’t Go Changing” below!

Live Recap: The Japanese House and Art School Girlfriend at Bottom Lounge 4.29.19

This past Monday night, my week started off on a high note with a sold out show from The Japanese House and Art School Girlfriend. The moniker for English musician and songwriter Amber Bain, The Japanese House is no stranger to Chicago, having played sold out shows at Lincoln Hall and Bottom Lounge in the past, and performing at Lollapalooza. This show marked Bain’s return to the Bottom Lounge and her first performance in Chicago since releasing her debut full length album Good At Falling on March 1st.

While I was able to catch The Japanese House’s set at Lollapalooza in 2017, this show was my first time seeing a headlining show from Bain and her bandmates. I arrived at the venue early to catch the opening set from Art School Girlfriend, the stage name for solo musician Polly Mackey from Margate, UK. Mackey took the stage on her own and captivated the audience with her experimental electronic sound, which had hints of influence from the likes of Zola Jesus and The xx. When Art School Girlfriend’s set started, the Monday night crowd had still been pretty thin as everyone still made their way to the venue from work— but by the end, the room had mostly filled in.

After a short changeover, Bain and her band took the stage to a hazy intro track, which faded into “Face Like Thunder,” from 2016’s EP Swim Against the Tide. Right away, Bain hooked the audience with her dreamy vocals, mesmerizing harmonies, and a tightness with her bandmates that brought the songs from her album to life in a really vivid way. Early on in the show, an audience member shouted out, “you’re my favorite artist!” (a sentiment that I think many people in the crowd shared) and passed a bouquet of flowers to Bain. That moment set up the night to become even more special, as a room full of strangers bonded over a shared love of an artist. Bain also did a great job at crafting a setlist that highlighted the best parts of The Japanese House’s discography, including a throwback to “Still” from her 2015 debut EP, which the crowd seemed to love. The audience also eagerly soaked up the performance of newer songs, like “Follow My Girl” and “Lilo” from the the new album.

The Japanese House’s show on Monday provided an oasis-like escape for fans to hear some of the new material performed live for the first time. If you weren’t able to attend, relive some of the magic by checking out photos from the evening below, and see where you can catch The Japanese House on tour next here.

Listen to Good At Falling in full below and keep up with The Japanese House on Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

If You Don’t Like It, Book It: A Recap of Book Your Own Fest

Content Warning: discussion of sexual assault


While interviewing the organizers of Book Your Own Fest, we ended up discussing our shared love of indie punk band, Camp Cope. Organizers Tia and Tayler Krabbenhoft told me that last summer they got a chance to see Camp Cope live, and afterwards got in a word with drummer, Sarah Thompson. When they relayed their stories of speaking out against abusers in the music scene Thompson replied “you’re pissing off the right people.” Keep this sentiment in mind as you read.


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Not many music festivals can say they were begat from a meme. Except for Book Your Own Fest, which just had its inaugural event this past March in Fargo, ND. You can thank Tayler Krabbenhoft, the main organizer of the festival, for the cool name. Or you can thank fellow Fargo music festival, The New Direction Fest (TND), for the conversation that spurred it. Back in January, Krabbenhoft posted a moderately innocuous meme on Facebook poking fun of TND Fest’s dude-heavy lineup, and a former TND volunteer took to commenting “if you don’t like it, book your own fest.” And so Krabbenhoft did exactly that.

“I wanted to prove that with less money, less resources, and less time we could get a lot of diverse acts— genre-wise and people-wise,” Tayler tells me during a break between sets. It’s the final day of Book Your Own Fest and I am sandwiched in Tayler’s tour van along with her sister and bandmate Tia Krabbenhoft, longtime friend and fellow organizer Cydney Berlinger, and a case of Hamms.

Performances at Book Your Own Fest ranged from ambient spoken word to fast punk sets and, poignantly, not a single act on the bill was all-male. But Book Your Own fest almost didn’t happen. The sisters recently received a particularly unsettling threat that made them hesitant to continue for safety reasons. But unfortunately, the sisters seem pretty used to handling this type of thing. Their band, Free Truman, earned a reputation last summer when they publicly called out a man who non-consensually kissed a woman at another local venue. After doing so they were met with outrage and online harassment from various men, and after Tayler’s meme caught wind, she endured another round of online barrages, eventually ending in someone leaking her address. It seems impossible to discuss Book Your Own Fest without also discussing sexism and rape culture. It’s all inextricably linked. “People who… aren’t so much with [Book Your Own Fest], would be like ‘oh they’re just causing drama, they’re just starting things’” continues Tayler. That word, ‘drama’, sparks palpable frustration in the van. Being accused of drama is one of the oldest ways in the book to diminish women’s feelings and write off the importance of their ideas. Is DIY an ethic or a middle school hallway? (P.S does anyone wanna book Drama Fest next? I’ll cover it.) Conflating “drama” with “talking openly about experiences with sexual assault” seems to be all too common of a confusion. Quieter, but still adamant, Tayler reminds us how often it happens (sexual assault that is, not drama) ”Things like this affect more people than you even know… it happens all the time in the music scene.” With all that said, I down a shot of tequila from one of several red plastic cups littering the floor of the van and go back inside, trying to reorient myself.

Book Your Own Fest is held at Red Raven Espresso Parlour. A cafe and venue that Cyndey is a barista at. But inside it’s easy to see why Red Raven would be the logical choice regardless; Adorned with pieces of kitsch decor and various anti-Trump memorabilia, I think it’s safe to assume this is where any DIY kid would scamper off to in a small town. And hey, they even had gender neutral bathrooms (which is honestly ahead of a lot of venues on that curve). Given the high visibility of it all, I assumed there would be more righteousness in the air. That it would feel radically different to see performers on a stage where they weren’t being evaluated as comparisons to men. But perhaps the chip on my shoulder is weightier than that of Tayler’s. I also couldn’t help wondering if some of the fun of Book Your Own Fest comes from a community showing that they could do everything the boys could and more. But there was an extra layer of safety. I felt better taken care of in Red Raven Espresso Parlor than I have in many a house show. I moved in the space, unafraid to take up room. I didn’t feel like that, at any moment, a late twenties man in a leather jacket would use me to start a mosh pit at an uncalled for period of time. And, although Fargo, ND is far from a queer oasis, my tired boyfriend who I bullied into driving me 3+ hours and I were able to curl up in a booth at the cafe with no side eyes. At one point a friend nicknamed ‘Coach’ announces to the Krabbenhofts that the baked potatoes were here. Which encompasses part of the feeling of being at Book Your Own Fest. Tayler and Tia had been cooking all week so that there would be homemade food at the fest. And, evidently, they ordered baked potatoes as well. There’s nothing quite like home-cooked food that says “I want you to be here”.” The warmth of the atmosphere suggests the fest has happened before and will happen again. Not to mention that the schedule ran on time (for the most part). At one point the vocalist of Lincoln, NE band Histrionic said “I suck. No I don’t suck” as they tuned between songs. “I know if I say that you’ll all be like ‘no you don’t!’ Whatever.” During Free Truman’s own set, Tia’s drumstick briefly went flying, which was only met with cheers. There was room for mistakes at Book Your Own Fest, and there was room for support.

Book Your Own Fest is special, it’s one of the first of its kind. But it also isn’t exactly hard to find non-men, and queer folks, and black and brown folks making music. So if this is who’s making music, shouldn’t festivals generally reflect that? However, I have a strong feeling that anyone condemning an ask for a more inclusive lineup are the same people who are on social media asking if anyone “knows any good female-fronted bands.” In case you were curious, TND Fest did eventually book more “diverse” acts. Seven to be precise. That would be seven acts that aren’t all male out of twenty one. A whopping one third. Take that, sexism! To clarify, Tayler did not just sit around making memes at the ready. She actually met with a TND organizer to have a conversation regarding the lack of… women. The organizer apparently had the audacity to ask her “is this not enough for you?” No. It isn’t. Book Your Own Fest is the result of years of tokenization. Of being a band comprised of two latinx women who are used as check mark in the diversity box. Don’t throw us a bone and expect us to treat it like a feast. Book Your Own Fest is the feast. It’s the lineup that made me drive over three hours to a city I barely knew existed. All because I wanted to bear witness to something that seems impossible for music scenes, whether they be DIY or industry giants, to understand: a lineup with many acts that aren’t cis white dudes. The whole night, something nags me. Where are you looking in which there are not any non-male bands? Where are you looking in which no POC bands exist? Or is your milktoast lineup the result of not looking at all because it’s far easier to pretend you’re not part of the problem and offer up flimsy excuses? Defending lazy lineups by way of sending threats to young women?…Perhaps the lady doth protest too much.

It is a potent time to be an artist with an opinion, particularly a non-male artist with an opinion. Book Your Own Fest feels like a call to action in this sense. Music doesn’t have to look like that. Book Your Own Fest exudes a you-can-do-it-too attitude. And it only takes one. That first time you see someone who looks like you doing something you love, it changes you. Free Truman themselves wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for seeing Cydney’s former band, Uncle Grandpa, play a show when they were younger. And now Free Truman is providing that same affirming mirror, both as a band and with Book Your Own Fest. Earlier Tayler told me, “It’s literally life changing to see someone who looks like you playing music.” I hope someone in the audience feels that same way.

The music industry is so often viewed as a boys game, and if you want to gain entry it’s advised that you play like a boy. But the Krabbenhofts developed their own strategy. Book Your Own Fest thrived without a single all-male act on the bill. It thrived with a differently natured community. Which begs the question, if three young women in a small town can put together an inclusive two day festival in under three months, why can all professional bookers and promoters scrounge up for us is an opener?



Keep up with Free Truman on Instagram + Twitter  and Cydney Berlinger’s band Plumslugger on Facebook





Live Recap: Stella Donnelly's Sold Out Soiree at Schubas Tavern

“I just took a Malört shot to the eye!” Stella Donnelly exclaimed to the sold out crowd at Schubas Tavern on Friday night, March 29th. *Record Scratch, Freeze-Frame* You’re probably wondering how we got here…so let’s start at the beginning, when Faye Webster opened up the show at 9PM.

The music room had filled in, with fans eager for the evening’s performances, when Webster took the stage accompanied by only one bandmate; Pistol, who played a pedal steel guitar. Webster’s gentle vocals made for the perfect way to ease everyone into the concert, with Pistol’s pedal steel providing a dreamy, surfy vibe to the songs to put everyone in the room in a groovy trance. Webster threw in some surprises during her set too; first with a creative cover of “Cheap Thrills” by Atlanta rapper Feather and second, when she pulled out a yo-yo to show off some tricks she’d recently learned. The best surprise came when Webster invited an audience member by the name of Xion onstage to perform some serious yo-yo tricks, which were greeted with thundering applause and cheers from the crowd.

After the exhilarating yo-yo tricks at the end of Webster’s set, the room was buzzing with nothing but good vibes when Stella Donnelly took the stage shortly after. The last time I had seen Donnelly, she had played a solo set opening up for Natalie Prass at Lincoln Hall, and her debut album Beware of the Dogs had not yet been announced. At the Lincoln Hall show, Donnelly had completely commanded the room with just her voice, her guitar, and her witty banter. And at the Schubas show on Friday, Donnelly once again showed off her chops as a solo performer by opening her set playing a handful of songs sans her touring bandmates. For most of this first portion of the show, Donnelly had an infectious positive attitude about her, and she kept the mood light with some cheeky humor. When it came time for Donnelly to perform “Boys Will Be Boys,” a weighted song that tackles the subject of sexual assault, she gave a content warning about the subject matter before sharing that the song was inspired by an incident that happened to a close friend. Donnelly’s candid and fearless approach to her songwriting comes across on many of her songs, but particularly in this track, which acts as a timely reminder for everyone to believe and support survivors.

When it came time for Donnelly’s full live band to join the mix, the infectious energy that she had exuded on her own only multiplied, and you could feel the joy bouncing between bandmates as they looked to be having the time of their lives playing together. They all had such an easy-going manner and their chemistry as bandmates came across as natural, like they were all just old friends jamming out. Between the laid-back nature of the bandmates and Donnelly’s flawless vocal execution and charm, you couldn’t help but be hooked on this performance. The feel-good mood came to a high when Donnelly invited Faye Webster and Xion (and their yo-yos) back up on stage for the ironically upbeat tune “Die.” The bandmates, Webster, and Xion ended the song in a coordinated dance, which was obviously met with deafening cheers by the audience.

Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for...the Malört shots. Earlier in the set, Donnelly had mentioned between songs that one of her bandmates had yet to try the infamous Chicago liquor, which is a rite of passage for anyone visiting our city. Luckily for Donnelly’s band members, Malcom Brown (of Whitney) was in the crowd that night, and he saved the day by bringing up a tray full of Malört just as the final full-band song of the night, “Tricks,” was coming to a close. Cue: Donnelly taking her shot and getting some of it in her eye. Like a champ, Donnelly went on with the show and wrapped up her first sold out headline show in Chicago with a solo rendition of  “Mechanical Bull,” throwing in some improvised lyrics; “There’s Malört in my throat” in place of “You've been at my throat.”

Between the impeccable musicianship, cheery stage presence, and moments of humor, I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect start to the weekend than Stella Donnelly’s show. Easily one of the best shows I’d seen in a while, Stella Donnelly is not to be missed if she’s performing in a city near you. Check out her upcoming tour dates here, and relive the fun of Friday’s gig with the photo gallery below.


Better Oblivion Community Center Takes Over Lincoln Hall for Two Sold Out "Meetings"

This past weekend, the collaborative project of singer songwriters Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst took over Lincoln Hall for two very sold out shows, marking their debut performances in Chicago. Deemed Better Oblivion Community Center, the duo just recently announced their musical partnership with a self-titled ten track album, released January 24th via Dead Oceans, and their current tour has treated fans to live versions of every track on the record.

In addition to playing the entire record, Bridgers and Oberst also performed another brand new single they had written together as Better Oblivion Community Center, which was available for fans to purchase as a 7” at the merch table. Throughout the setlist, Bridgers and Oberst both took on the challenge of singing lead vocals on one another’s songs; with Bridgers singing Bright Eyes’ “Lime Tree” and Oberst enchanting the crowd with “Scott Street” and a sped up version of Bridgers’ melancholic “Funeral.” During the entire show, there was a spirit of camaraderie—both between the bandmates on stage and between the audience members soaking in the experience—that filled the entire room, making the evening truly feel more like a community gathering than a spectacle.

See where you can attend the next Better Oblivion Community Center meeting here, and check out photos from March 24th’s show below.

The Setlist for 3/24/19

  1. Didn’t Know What I Was in For

  2. Dylan Thomas

  3. Service Road

  4. Big Black Heart

  5. Sleepwalkin’

  6. Lime Tree

  7. Exception

  8. Forest Lawn

  9. Little Trouble

  10. Chesapeake

  11. Can’t Hardly Wait

  12. Bad Blood

  13. My City

  14. Scott Street

  15. Funeral

  16. Dominos

Live Recap: Barns Courtney and The Kooks at The Riviera 02.21.19

This past Thursday night, The Kooks returned to Chicago for the first time since the release of their fifth studio album, Let’s Go Sunshine.

After Future Feats opened up the show, singer-songwriter Barns Courtney warmed up the packed house, getting everyone ready for The Kooks with a blaze of energy. Courtney burst onto the stage to join his live band as they opened up with an unreleased track “Fun Never Ends.” The high energy song set up the crowd to expect a good time from Courtney’s set, and he definitely lived up to that expectation as he sang through songs from his debut album and some new singles. As Courtney sauntered across the stage and put his all into his music, an appreciative fan shouted “you’re the coolest person ever!” Based on the amount of audience members dancing and singing along, both on the floor and in the balcony, it seemed that most agreed with the enthusiastic fan. The spirit of Courtney’s set culminated during the final few songs “Kicks” and “Fire,” in which the singer first crowd surfed, and then finished out the set singing the latter in the middle of the crowd.

Needless to say, Barns Courtney’s set left the crowd buzzing and ready for The Kooks, who hit the stage performing one of their classics “Always Where I Need To Be.” From their years of playing together, the band members had a sense of chemistry and ease about them that perfectly complemented lead singer Luke Pritchard’s captivating stage presence. Alongside the band’s long history of playing together and their lengthy setlist that pulled songs from every chapter of their extensive discography, The Kooks also had an impressive light show that added another special touch to their live show without being overpowering.

While the mood remained very energetic for most of the night, allowing for Pritchard to show off his dance moves, the set did slow down during the performance of “See Me Now” from 2014’s Listen, which Pritchard dedicated to his late father. Pritchard performed the emotional song at the piano, sans his bandmates. Although a hush fell over the crowd during this song, with everyone giving their undivided attention to the stage, the energy quickly picked back up when the full band rejoined Pritchard for “Pamela” from the latest album. While the band members kept their onstage chatting to a minimum in order to focus on the music, they didn’t shy away from fleshing out their songs with special, one-of-a-kind live arrangements. During “Bad Habit,” the band extended the introduction as Pritchard and the audience members partook in a call-and-response style chant, and during “Seaside,” the audience sounded like a choir backup Pritchard’s vocals in the simple song.

Eventually the time came for The Kooks to leave the stage, but it didn’t take long for the crowd to request an encore performance. Instead of the traditional “one more song!” or “encore!” chants, the crowd asked for the band to return by chanting the vocalized introduction to “Bad Habit” once again. The band obliged and returned with “No Pressure” and “Naive.” Before they began the final song of the night, Pritchard dedicated that night’s performance of the 2006 single to fan named Jeffery, giving one lucky fan a very special memory of the evening.

The Kooks wrap up their North American tour this week— see their live dates here, and check out our photo recap of Thursday night below.

Listen to Let’s Go Sunshine in full below