Live Review: Two Sets of Eyes/ Gazebo Effect @ Tonic Room (11/13)

Monday nights in the middle of November are often dreary, but thanks to performances from Two Sets of Eyes and Gazebo Effect on Monday, November 13 at Tonic Room, this particular night was more than just tragic cold and rain.

The night kicked off with the progressive rock trio, Two Sets of Eyes. Having had their first performance only a month ago, it’s evident the band is new to playing live shows together as the three took some time before falling into the groove of the show. While the band may be young, the musicians are well-seasoned artists with a great sense of musicianship over their respective instruments. They ran through songs from their upcoming self-titled debut (out November 25). The vocals on a few of the songs were rough, but most of the pieces where instrumental heavy, creating dynamic arcs with guitars and synth. A standout tune was “Sunshine, You’re Standing in My Sunlight”; an eerie and almost psychedelic instrumental piece that builds around an ear-bending synth melody.

It’s rare to find a band with a kickass guitarist who understands the art of soloing. What’s even rarer is finding three such guitarists on a single stage as part of the same band. Each guitarist from the nights’ second band, Gazebo Effect, shared lead duties and did an amazing job coloring the songs with intricate riffs throughout. Not only did the band exhibit amazing guitar lines, the rhythm section, as well as the vocals, were superb. The band played the songs from the 2017 EP Turtle Rock, with a standout piece being “Laraway Drive” as it encompasses everything the band does right from killer guitar riffs, steady rhythms and catchy choruses. Aside from providing a rich sound, Gazebo Effect’s stage presence exhibit passion and energy without overdoing it.

Two Sets of Eye’s next performance will be on Saturday, November 25 at Quenchers Saloon.

Gazebo Effect’s next performance will be on Friday, January 26 at Co-Prosperity Sphere.

Live Review: The Million Reasons/ The Shades @ Township (11/2)

Sometimes the best shows in Chicago are the ones played during the week in the back rooms of small bistros and bars. This was precisely the case on Thursday, November 2nd as a small touring act opened for two local bands at Township located in the heart of Logan Square.

The night started off great with a solid performance from The Hacky Turtles of Grand Rapids, Michigan opening for The Shades of Chicago. The local pop trio shined as always with their beautifully arranged 3-part harmonies and catchy tunes. They treated the audience to a few covers including their creatively original approach to Chance The Rapper’s “Sunday Candy” while also highlighting songs from their recently released record Miles Made of Inches. 

Headlining their first show The Million Reason took the stage last. The 4-piece rock band took full advantage of their space, utilizing every inch of the stage from the back corner to the right side runway. The second the first note sounded, the jittery crew bounced about in true rockstar fashion, breaking guitar strings and all. Standout pieces included “Hooked” opening with its catchy guitar riff before leading into Scott Nadeau’s grungy vocals singing “You’ve got me hooked/ with just one look,” and “Earlybird” with it’s driving rhythm section and a touch of southern rock twang. As The Million Reasons closed out their set, the crowd cheered for an encore. Nadeau announced the band had already played through all their originals so they opted for a rendition of Wolfmother’s “Joker and the Theft”, ending the night with the same energy and enthusiasm in which they started.

Live Review: Xoe Wise Band/Panic Priest @ Emporium (10/26)

Emporium Arcade Bar in Wicker Park kicked off the Halloween weekend with two solid musical performances on Thursday, October 26. The night included sets from Chicago’s Xoe Wise Band and Panic Priest, both embracing the energy of the holiday with their individual dark takes on pop music.

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Live Review: Church Booty/Tara Terra/Faintlife (7/1) @ Elbo Room

The members of Church Booty took the stage of Elbo Room on Saturday, July 1st and announced that Church Booty was no more. In the midst of releasing a new EP, expected in August 2017, the band will be operating under a new name that has yet to be announced to the public.

The night’s news called for a celebration, and Church Booty did not disappoint. Their energetic performance covered a number of the band’s past tunes as well as upcoming singles filled with funky beats, electric sax and impressive vocal deliverance. Their sound is mature and songs clearly crafted, but they hold some jam band elements with long instrumental lines and of improvisations. All in all, they’re professionals when it comes to putting on a show, leaving audiences without disappointment as they end their time as Church Booty.

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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.

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Live Review: Secret Bad Boy (5/26) @ The Empty Bottle

On May 26, Secret Bad Boy played their first hometown show at The Empty Bottle, opening for Chicago’s Parent and London’s Happyness. The Chicago stop took place toward the end of their week-long tour in support of their new recordings.

The members of Secret Bad Boy are undeniably talented, featuring a variety of recording members from successful musical groups such as Vulfpeck, Mild High Club and I Fight Dragons. Fronting the electronic punk band on vocals, guitar and keyboard is Chicago’s Ben Joseph of Ezra Furman and His Boyfriends. While the recordings of Secret Band Boy feature a number of musicians, including Ezra Furman, the live trio features drummer Mat Roberts and bassist Paul Cherry, a group of young men whose professionalism and musicianship on stage are equally matched between each member.

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Live Review: Laik/Red Jr/American Cosmonaut/The Dead On/Lost But Happy (2/3) @ Double Door

Like any great Americanized genre, there is no right way to rock. Thanks to its variety of styles, rock music has grown to include elements of punk, folk, metal, pop and so much more. On Friday, February 3, five local bands came together at Double Door and treated audiences to a few of the many different facets of the legendary sound.

The night started with a bit of twangy grunge brought to listeners by the obsolete sounds of Lost But Happy. While they definitely get an A for energy and a strong instrumental presence, the vocal harmonies were a bit shaky. Their set did end on a high note with the tune “Lost But Happy”; a theme song complete with catchy kazoo lines and a bit of banjo (because you really can’t go wrong with a kazoo and banjo).

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