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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Live Review: Fever Queen/ Bestman/ Bardo/ Anti Beyond (12/15) @ Subterranean

Four local bands came together on Thursday, December 15th at Subterranean for the release of Anti/Beyond’s first full-length self-titled album. The brutally cold night was filled with a diverse group of artists exploring various genres ranging from synth pop to hip-hop.

The night opened with the debut performance of the duo Fever Queen made up of Eleanor Rose and Adam Wayne. Their psychedelic rock sound was composed by a blend of bass, keys, guitar and vocals. While Rose’s harsh vocals were definitely on point with feminine grunge, there was something about the live keys that added a bit of 80s pop to the tunes (along with their all white getup). For a first time performance, the band was musically well put together. A bit more work on stage presence and utilizing space and they’ll be sure to draw a loyal following in no time.

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Q&A: Tiny Kingdoms

Ever wonder what it takes for a small doughnut shop to be featured in a music video? Apparently it’s nothing more than a catchy name and proximity to a rehearsal space. At least that’s the reasoning behind Tiny Kingdoms featuring Spunky Dunkers in their latest music video for their song “Odds”. (It should be noted that the band did rave about the doughnuts. One member was even so bold as to claim that the breakfast staples surpass all other doughnuts. However, because no one ordered doughnuts at the time of the interview, that information has yet to be verified).

For a song that would make any early 2000s teen swoon, the quirky shop doesn’t appear to be the obvious choice for a video revolving around cults and the turning of innocent young men into dogs. But to better understand the connection between breakfast pastries and black magic, you’d have to get inside the heads of the four boys who birthed these ideas.

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Profile: Mykele Deville

The sound of Chicago. That’s how vocalist and poet Mykele Deville describes his music. Grounded in the DIY scene, the art is fueled by collaboration and sprinkled with thoughtful lyrics over the beats of friends and local artists. But it’s not just the musical implications that describe Deville’s music or the idea of Chicago’s sound. It’s the voices of protesters. The cries of outrage. The tunes of the streets. It’s everything that the city stands for, music and all.

With two full-length albums and a third before year’s end, Deville has explored many social and cultural issues from race to injustice and personal acceptance through poetically crafted songs and poems. Not only does Deville shine as a musician, he is also a successful poet and actor splitting time between continuous shows and his upcoming role in the U.S. premiere of Octagon by playwright Kristiana Rae Colón.

And that’s just the work of 2016.

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Q&A: The Avantist

Fernando, Erick, David and Luis Arias of The Avantist gather in their parent’s Hickory Hills’ basement which doubles as a rehearsal space. Erick, Luis and David set up behind their instruments as Fernando teases them for always running to their security blankets. The eldest brother sits in a folding chair and chipperly points out how he doesn’t need to hide behind an instrument.

Without missing a beat, each brother sends out a rebuttal concluding that Fernando isn’t behind an instrument because he doesn’t know how to play one. Bickering and insults continue to pass back and forth. It’s brutal and ruthless, but as any sibling knows, it’s all meant with love. Within seconds the room erupts with laughter as they prepare to share their journey on what brought them to these “security blankets” and how they’ve used them to grow with each other.

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Profile: Even Thieves

The lights are lowered in a back room of Music Garage with only a faint glow projecting from the back wall to illuminate the faces of Chicago’s alternative pop-rock group, Even Thieves. Vocalist Adrian Day removes his cap and pulls on the hood of this gray sleeveless hoodie, walking from wall to wall, microphone in hand, as the rest of the band prepares for rehearsal. Slowly, each member falls behind their instruments; Vincent DePierro on guitar, Jeremy Atwood on keys, Tyler Leninger on drums and Joseph Paul Chouinard on bass. A spot among the members remains open for guitarist Olivia Garza, who was unable to make rehearsal.

Each member silently acknowledges one another, signaling their readiness before the room erupts with sound and commotion. This may be only a rehearsal, but to an outsider, the performance is as riveting as any legitimate concert.

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Live Review: Golden Boys/ Genome/ Bifunkal (8/3) @ Emporium Arcade Bar

Wander the streets of Chicago on any given night and it’s never hard to find inspiring live music, especially sounds falling along the spectrum of funk, jazz and blues. This past Wednesday, August 3rd was no exception as three Chicago-based bands took the stage for an exhilarating night of funk at Emporium Arcade Bar in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood.

The night’s festivities opened with Bifunkal, a two-piece group made up of drummer Hershyl Edwards and guitarist/vocalist Jesse Cryderman. The two played a solid mix of lyrical and instrumental tunes. While the vocals were decent, it was Cryderman’s catchy guitar riffs along with the impressive vox bass lines from Edwards that stole the set. For only two musicians, the band was able to project a full sound which was later emphasized by accompanying brass during a handful of tunes.

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Q&A: Sexy Fights

Resting on the corner of Schubert and Kildare stands Kildare Studios; a 35,000 square foot warehouse and rehearsal home to artists across Chicago’s west side. Outside, on this particular day, stands Sexy Fights‘ synth player Phillip Shoemaker, our guide through the studio’s maze of endlessly winding hallways. With a few hundred twists and turns, Shoemaker enters a room to join bandmates drummer Bryan Hart, guitarist Russell Augustine and vocalist Jordan Rose Brzezinski.

After perfecting their sound and releasing their debut album, Too Far Out, the synth-driven psychedelic rock band is ready to draw in their much-deserved attention. In preparation for their upcoming show on June 23rd at Beat Kitchen, Listen Live and Local sat with the group to discuss their music, possible touring plans, smoke machines and glitter.

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Profile: Vinyl For A Cause

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A few years ago, two friends and avid music lovers, Charlie Greengoss and Adam Victorn, sat in a basement spinning vinyl while watching YouTube videos. What started as an average night turned into a business venture after viewing a performance of Brand New’s lead singer Jesse Lacey covering Modest Mouse’s “Trailer Trash”

Prior to playing, Lacey spoke of his admiration for Isaac Brock and Modest Mouse; what it meant for him to cover the song and how honored he would be if given the opportunity to collaborate with the band in some fashion. In awe of the admiration for a fellow musician, Greengoss and Victorn discussed how they could bring local artists the opportunity to collaborate with other bands.

This insight was the spark that ignited Vinyl For A Cause; a record label focused on raising money for charity by releasing limited edition vinyl of bands and musicians covering each other’s music. The next day, Greengoss and Victorn started on a business plan and three years later, they’re now ready to record and release their first records.

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Live Review: Engine Summer (3/24) @ Quencher’s Saloon

Sometime soon, you’ll be scrolling through Listen Live and Local’s Upcoming Shows page, and you’ll see Engine Summer is gracing the stage somewhere in Chicago that night. When this happens, I strongly advise you to put on your shoes, squad up with your best buds and head to the show.

I know that sometimes recruiting your friends to see unfamiliar bands can be a little nerve-racking. “What if I make them come pay money for this show and they don’t like it?” Oh man, I can feel the anxiety building right now. But I assure you Engine Summer is a safe bet. Even the most casual music fans in your group will get hooked by the band’s catchy riffs, high energy and character. As for the music lovers you’ll bring with you, they’ll be enamored by how a three-piece can create such a unique sound.

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