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.
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.
Band dynamics are a funny thing. As much as we’d like to believe our favorite bands are the best of friends on and off stage, that’s often times not the case. However, every once in awhile, a band comes along whose members genuinely enjoy each other’s company.
The level of comfort and admiration is apparent as soon as the three members of The Inventors gather around a small patio table outside of a Starbucks in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. Even with a show only a few hours away, their nerves seem at ease; an odd feat for such a new band with only two recorded singles and a drummer with less than a year of playing experience. Nevertheless, the boys hold their poise. They’re confident the show will go over well.
“Even though I’ve only been playing drums such a little time, we kind of know each others’ tics,” explains drummer and lead singer Joe Mango on why the band feels such ease on stage. “If someone is speeding up or they’re about to end, we know.”
Sunjacket takes a solid first step on their way to stardom this week with the release of their debut album Mantra. This exquisitely produced mix of haunting vocals, bold brass, alluring guitars and enchanting synth has set a promising future for the four-piece synth rock band. The album is filled with beautifully crafted pieces making it hard to pull the out favorites with each tune progressing into something equally as appealing as the last.
Over the last few months, Sunjacket has released three singles featured on Mantra. The first single “Not Enough” is an eerie synth tune with airy vocals gracefully accompanying a strong rhythm section. Their next release, “Creepy”, which contrary to the title is not at all ominous but bright like an 80s roller disco jam. The latest single, “No One’s Around You”, which was released late last month, is probably the best of the three; an easy listen with catchy melodic lines and lyrics.
What happens when a few metal heads, an R&B singer, an indie god and a closet Paramore fanatic join forces and start a band?
No worries, this isn’t the start to a bad hipster joke. Actually, it’s the foundation of Chicago-based band, The Pact. It may have taken nearly four years of reformations and sound searching, but the alternative pop group has finally established themselves with the perfect blend of unlike genre gurus.
With less than a year behind their current formation, The Pact has already played a number of icon Chicago venues (House of Blues, Bottom Lounge) and shared the stage with national touring acts (HalfNoise, Spirit Animal). Combine this with the success of a recent EP release and an upcoming January 28th show with Tribe Society and The Karma Killers, and one might think The Pact has had a pretty easy ride.
But with any great story of success, there must first be failure.