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.
One of the upsides to attending an art college as a dedicated artist is being surrounded by other talented individuals who are willing to indulge in creative projects. It’s a great place to build working relationships, and sometimes those relations grow into solid professional structures. As Savanna Dickhut and Julian Daniell of Elk Walking share before their performance at the SubT Lounge, it was a chance meeting during college that pushed the two songwriters to pursue a career in Chicago’s music scene.
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.
Roughly two years after the release of their debut EP Gardens, a record praised by the local press for its dream-pop melodies and folk instrumentation, Sedgewick (Sam Brownson, Oliver Horton and Jake Hawrylak) has released their first full-length album Collapse. The new compilation perfectly responses to the bands’ early work, building from the calmness of the first album into fully orchestrated pieces complete with a large range of sounds and colors.
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.
For a band who thrives on the dark and heavy synth sounds found on their 2016 debut album Mantra, the four men behind Sunjacket are surprisingly upbeat and goofy. Their banter flows like a well-rehearsed comedy act, no one missing a beat as they play off each other’s comments to poke fun at one another. Even when discussing shared passions, such as their music or love of foosball, Garret Bodette, Carl Hauck, Bryan Kveton and newest member Jeff Rukes can’t help but turn lighthearted conversations into subtle roasting sessions. Even through the malicious giggles, the 4-piece successfully shared their journey of the last year along with their plans for new music and shows.
A residential rooftop in Chicago’s South Loop became the latest stop in Honeystone’s collection of intimate showcases this week. The four-piece rock band, who has regularly been performing private parties, charity gigs and Sofar Sound shows throughout the city, says they enjoy smaller performances because it allows them to interact with fans. They make sure to take time before and after sets to speak with audiences and show their appreciation, knowing their support system plays a role in their success.
“We’ve been pretty fortunate with a lot of good friends and fans helping us out, [letting us know when someone] is looking for new bands for an event,” says lead guitarist John Nordquist.
The boys may be too humble to admit it themselves, but their success doesn’t solely lie with the word-of-mouth marketing of their friends. Honeystone has spent the past year creating a sound that brings together the best of old and new rock. Their well-crafted tunes along with their level of professionalism on stage have brought them to a number of musical milestones. With their summer tour complete and a batch of singles almost ready for release, Nordquist, bassist David Koslovsky, drummer Nathan Taylor and vocalist Justin Honigstein share what’s next for the band.
The Midwest’s largest city may not seem like the ideal hotspot for up-and-coming folk bands but through the thicket of Chicago’s noise, Wild Skies is making an impression on the city’s local music scene. Just months ago, the four-piece band buckled down at I.V. Lab Studios with Chris Harden to record their debut full-length album Far From Below. It’s a compilation filled with rich folk instrumentation, lyrical hooks, catchy grooves and vocal harmonies; a creative step forward from the band’s 2015 self-titled EP.
Only two years of writing songs together and the trio behind The Shades have already established an impressive musical resume. Their song “Take You Home” has been featured in American Songwriter Magazine and was chosen as one of ten finalists in NewSong Music’s International Songwriting Competition. They’ve performed on local morning shows such as WGN and have even gained national recognition when vocalist Andrew DeMuro was selected as a member of Adam Levine’s team on the eleventh season of NBC’s “The Voice”.
Now, after spending time perfecting their acoustic pop sound built on 3-part vocal harmonies and rhythmic guitar lines, The Shades will be able to add an official release to their list of accomplishments with their debut EP out Thursday, October 5th after their release show at The Elbo Room.
If the four faces behind Chicago’s Namorado look familiar, you may have caught them onstage during their Urbana-Champaign college days as A Cool Hand. Although, now nearly two years into their new formation, the faces of lead guitarist/vocalist Mike Altergott, drummer Charlier McCarthy, guitarist/vocalist Jack Keating and bassist/vocalist Adam Howarter may be the only things to spark familiarity.
After moving to the city of Chicago, the four bandmates had a serious discussion about the evolution of their songs from standard indie rock to well-composed music built on guitar riffs and vocal harmonies. With a new EP in the works, set for release in early 2018, Altergott and Howarter gathered at their Avondale rehearsal space to share the ins and outs of their latest endeavors and what it’s like as a band maneuvering through the Chicago music scene.