The new year has only just begun, but Zoofunkyou has already entered 2018 in full swing. On January 19th, the Chicago-based jam band will be embarking on their first extended tour starting with a hometown show at Chop Shop. The tour covers most of the Midwest and a number of funk-infused cities across the south and follows their first 2018 release; a live album recorded during their October 27th show at Bottom Lounge.
Vocalist and guitarist Derek Dare, guitarist Bryan Scheinkopf, bass guitarist Matthew Coglianese & the band’s manager Andy Boyd gathered in their practice space at Kildare Studios to share their tour details and to discuss the rest of their plans for 2018.
Major changes for bands, such as a new name, often mark a step in rebranding. It’s a chance to set new goals, build a new foundation and prepare for a new adventure. While new endeavors are definitely a desire for Like Language, formally known as Wilder, their name change had less to do with an extreme evolution and more to do with differentiating themselves from other artists.
“We changed our name because there are too many Wilders,” says Matthew Murray, one half of the Chicago-based pop duo. “When we chose the name [Wilder], we wanted one word, something simple. As time went on, I was on Spotify browsing an indie new artist playlist and I saw Wilder was on there and I was like, ‘Oh man, this is the best day of my life. People are noticing us!’, and then it ended up being the another Wilder.”
Forming an 8-person band with members in two states whose music blends pop, folk and contemporary concert music may not sound like the most logical road to successful, but so far, the nontraditional approach has been working in favor for Matthäus. The band, with members in both Chicago and St.Paul, started as a small project from composer Ben Montalbano, adding bold horn sections, piano lines and other intricate instrumentations to a variety of folk-rock tunes. The group has since grown into a collaborative chamber collective made up of Ben Montalbano, Joe Meland, Justin Peters, Lars-Erik Larson, Samuel Peters, Alex Blomarz, Hugo Seda and Chris Shuttleworth.
With a new music in the works and a December 14 show at Schubas just days away, Montalbano, Peters and Meland gathered in a cozy window seat at Wicker Park’s Wormhole to discuss the band’s plans for the rest of the winter and the new year.
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.
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.