Live Review: Broken Cycles, Dig Engine, Tougher Than You Thought (6/15) @ Elbo Room

A collection of primarily Chicago-based bands gathered on Thursday, June 15 at Elbo Room for a night covering a wide spectrum of rock from alternative to pop punk and metal. The concert featured performances by Broken Cycles, Dig Engine, Tougher Than You Thought and the Moline-based metal band Within the Grey.

Starting out the evening was Broken Cycles. The three-piece alternative rock band performed a mix of covers and songs from their 2016 debut EP The Cost. Their original tunes were formed with catchy riffs, well-developed choruses and strong instrumental sections, but there was a lack of standout appeal. In terms of stage performance, lead vocalist and bassist Chris Cortez stole the show. He may have let his energy get the best of him as he knocked over his microphone toward the end of their set, but in true rock fashion, Cortez played on and pull through the song as if nothing had happened.

Up next was the rock band Dig Engine, a well-rehearsed group with a sound resembling old school rock. They played songs from their 2016 EP Horeli Asoli. Steady and impeccable instrumentation, heavy rhythms and dirty guitar lines backed the powerful vocals of Tammy Masau with limited stylistic flaws from song to song. Musically the band was a standout for the night, but it would have been nice to see them utilize the stage more. Their presence felt a bit stiff and disengaged from the audience.

The last Chicago band to perform for the night was Tougher Than You Thought. If there’s one thing that stands out about this band, it’s their ability to interact with an audience. They were clearly having fun as they actively joked and told stories between songs; a useful tactic for when the lead singer/guitarist had to take an extended break after breaking a string in the first song (lucky the Chicago music scene is filled with cool kids and a musician from another band was kind enough to lend his guitar). Much like the first act of the night, bits and pieces of original tunes were great, such as snarky lyrics and upbeat rhythms, but the overall songs were average.

Catch up with each one of these bands by following them on social media and/or checking out their official websites for the latest show dates and news.

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