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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Q&A: Sunjacket

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.

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Q&A: Honeystone

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.

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Profile: Wild Skies

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.

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Q&A: The Shades

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.

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Q&A: Namorado

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.

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Q&A: Zigtebra

It’s hard to pinpoint it, but there’s something about Emily Rose and Joe Zeph, the duo behind Zigtebra, that makes them impossible not to admire. They’ve spent the past four months traveling the United States; playing shows, writing songs and producing music videos, yet they bounce into Sip Coffee House with such energy and enthusiasm, you’d never know they’d only just returned to Chicago the day before.

Emily Rose falls onto the plush couch, coffee in hand, apologizing for her mere one-minute lateness as Joe Zeph takes a seat in the armchair across from her. They playfully banter, the admiration between each other evident as they recall their crazy endeavors of the last couple of weeks.

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