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The Head and the Heart at the Chicago Theatre

By Ben Moskow

Photos by Leah Dunlevy

Dec 6, 2018

I’ll admit, I thought of Seattle-based The Head and the Heart as one-dimensional before seeing them at the Chicago Theatre. As far as I knew, the group made strictly high school cross-country team montage music. The one song I knew well, “All We Ever Knew,” featured a classic buildup to an anthemy OneRepublic-like chorus, but it lacked in experimentation and lyrical content. I was pleasantly surprised with their versatility in this performance.

Opener Mt. Joy dropped their folky, relaxing debut album earlier in 2018. It’s the kind of album that fits well with a nighttime drive through the woods. The band delivered a similar tranquil sound in their set, incorporating lush, dreamy instrumentals into several tracks. A personal favorite was “Dirty Love”, which featured crackling cymbals and frontman Matt Quinn on the ukulele. They also craftily fit in a verse of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” to their track “Julia,” where keyboardist Jackie Miclau showcased her piano mastery. While the set mostly consisted of slow burners, “I’m Your Wreck” stood out for its sense of urgency in terms of tempo and intense strumming. The lights remained a faded blue color for the entire set, which matched Quinn’s raw, authentic vocals. One thing’s for sure, Mt. Joy did not hide behind gimmicks.

As The Head and the Heart took the stage, the crowd began to reflect the big “SOLD OUT” on the marquee. The smell shifted to the kind of wine your mom probably drinks as older fans took their seat. The crowd was on their feet from the moment they launched into “All We Ever Knew,” their first song of the night.

The Head and the Heart’s repertoire varied from stripped-down acoustic numbers to passionate alt-rock ballads. Frontman Josiah Johnson delighted with both his well-supported falsetto (Shake) and rich low notes (Down in the Valley). He also had a powerful moment with the audience where he took the stage alone and reflected on the band’s stream-of-consciousness creative process: “Most of these songs are written in our heads.” He followed this up with a vulnerable solo performance of “Oh My Dear” under black and white spotlights. I had mixed feelings when this moment was cut short with an abrupt segue into the up-tempo “I Don’t Mind,” where the rest of the band returned to the stage.

Violinist and vocalist Charity Rose Thielen blended well with Johnson on her backing vocals and knocked it out of the park on closer “Rivers and Roads,” where she displayed her strength in the alto register. Her dyed red hair and rose-red top served as a refreshing departure from the sea of plaid that engulfed the Chicago Theatre. When this was coupled with red lighting on the closer “Rivers & Roads,” it amounted to a red-splosion.

You could sense the chemistry between the bands too; not only do they make similar styles of music, but both groups seemed to really appreciate being onstage with one another. When The Head and the Heart performed “Lost in My Mind”, Mt. Joy joined them onstage to provide accompaniment in the form of shakers and tambourines. Johnson also shouted out Mt. Joy multiple times during transitions, describing them as “just as sweet as you would imagine.”

Unlike the up-and-coming Mt. Joy, The Head and the Heart are veterans of the indie subgenre, having been making music for the better part of the new millennium. Look for both groups to continue releasing quality music, though, as The Head and the Heart plans to drop a new album in 2019 and Mt. Joy’s sound is sure to reach new heights with their next projects. For those as not as familiar with the indie genre, listening to these two groups can serve as a solid introduction. Basically, you can’t lose.

 

SONG RECOMMENDATIONS:

Mt. Joy

  • Astrovan
  • Bigfoot
  • Sheep

The Head and the Heart

  • Let’s Be Still
  • Shake
  • Oh My Dear

MT. JOY SETLIST

  1. Bigfoot
  2. Jenny Jenkins.
  3. Astrovan
  4. Dirty Love
  5. I’m Your Wreck
  6. Mt. Joy
  7. Younger Days
  8. Sheep
  9. Julia
  10. Silver Lining

 

THE HEAD AND THE HEART SETLIST

  1. All We Ever Knew
  2. City of Angels
  3. Ghosts
  4. Rhythm & Blues
  5. Another Story
  6. Let’s Be Still
  7. Lost in My Mind
  8. Winter Song
  9. Oh My Dear
  10. I Don’t Mind
  11. Living Mirage
  12. 10,000 Weight in Gold
  13. Sounds Like Hallelujah
  14. Down in the Valley
  15. Your Mother’s Eyes
  16. Library Magic
  17. Shake
  18. Rivers and Roads
The Japanese House at Lincoln Hall

By Ronit Kitei

Photos by Jess Collins

Dec 4, 2018

Armed with a guitar and a turtleneck sweater, Kamran Khan kicked off his set with atmospheric songs that got the crowd swaying more than anything. Khan, frontman for the British band Fake Laugh, was flying solo tonight, opening for The Japanese House while also playing bass in her backing band. While unfamiliar with Fake Laugh before the show, I quickly became a fan not just of their music but also of Khan’s humility and graciousness while on stage. He moved around the stage fluidly, transferring his constant high energy to the audience. I especially liked his songs “Better For Me” and “Short of Breath.” His voice is smooth and calming, and, like Amber Bain’s, fills a room effortlessly.

Shockingly, Amber Bain, the lead singer of The Japanese House, has never been to Japan. The name actually stems from a house she stayed in with her family when she was 6 years old, where she pretended to be a boy named Danny for an entire week. She later found out that the house was called The Japanese House, and belonged to Kate Winslet.

Bain’s music is just as whimsical as her band name suggests. Ranging from the catchy “Face Like Thunder” to the brooding “Against The Tide,” her music either had the crowd banging their heads and jumping or simply swaying softly. Lincoln Hall was a perfect venue for The Japanese House’s performance. The sense of intimacy was almost surreal, and the crowd was completely enthralled by her performance. A testament to her incredible stage presence, the crowd was almost completely phone-free. Unlike most concerts, where I feel at times as if I’m watching an artist through the many phones in front of my face rather than in person, the crowd was involved in every single song, rarely taking out their phones to take snapchat videos or endless photos.

At times, the bass was so heavy I felt as if I was vibrating along with the entire room. The disco ball on the ceiling reflecting the stage lights made Bain’s white blonde hair appear almost silver at times, adding to the otherworldliness of the show itself. One of my favorite moments of the show was when she played an unreleased song off her newest album, called “You Seem So Happy.” The song had a noticeably different vibe from her first project, Pools to Bathe In. Unlike the calming and at times haunting melodies from her first EP, “You Seem So Happy” was unfalteringly catchy and upbeat. By the end, members of the audience were singing along, leading Bain to remark “You guys seem to know the words better to a song you’ve never heard before than I do!”

Another highlight was the acoustic version of the title track from her latest EP, “Saw You In A Dream.” This version, in my opinion, was even better than the original. Her voice was fragile yet beautiful, and I was completely entranced. Bain closed the show with “Leon,” a song from her 2016 EP Swim Against the Tide, and after she left it felt as if I could still feel echoes of her voice in the room. I’m incredibly excited for the release of Bain’s first full album on March 1st, and for her next visit to Chicago.

AlunaGeorge at Bottom Lounge

By Ronit Kitei

Photos by Rachel Kupfer

Dec 3, 2018

Akenya, a Chicago native, took the stage to the shouts of her friends. “Jack, is that you? I love you girl!” she screamed, her excitement apparent. Akenya’s easygoing attitude translated into her performance as she effortlessly shifted from lighthearted, bubbly runs to fast-paced rap. Her voice was gritty at one moment, and airy the next, holding onto whistling notes that seemed impossibly high pitched.

“Decay,” a song about Akenya’s personal battle with Lyme disease, was definitely a highlight of the set. Her voice felt raw and rich, and the strength in each and every word was apparent. Her delicate musical runs and impressive vocal range were on full display. In addition, she donates all proceeds from the song to children suffering from Lyme disease. Another highlight was her song about unrequited love, a soulful ballad where she not only sang but also played the keyboard. Although most of the audience was unfamiliar with Akenya at first, she had the entire crowd rapt with attention as her set closed.

After Akenya’s set, a rather eclectic crowd soon filled Bottom Lounge. A teenage boy wearing a ripped black shirt, eyeliner, and a tattoo choker seemed equally excited as the middle-aged man with a spiky blue mohawk and glittery eyeshadow. As AlunaGeorge took the stage, I was entranced. In an all-white outfit, complete with a chiffon train flowing from her hair and a clear jacket, Aluna Francis looked ethereal.

She opened her set with “Champagne Eyes,” the title song of her latest EP, and immediately the crowd began screaming the lyrics and moving to the beat of her electric guitar. What struck me most was that Aluna almost did not seem present; it was rare to see her not dancing, and when she was singing her eyes were often closed. She was completely in her own world, yet at the same time was working the crowd. When Aluna took one of her copious dance breaks, the crowd did the same; it was easy to get lost in her music.

The variety in her setlist was surprising. She played songs from 2013, 2016, and 2018, yet the crowd knew all of it. She wasn’t afraid to play lesser-known songs and often took breaks to explain their personal significance to her. Crowd favorites included “Body Music,” “Your Drums, Your Love,” and “Kaleidoscope Love,” all released in 2013. When she sang “Outlines,” I felt like I was in a dream. The hazy pink and blue lights combined with the bedroom set behind her, which included a fluffy white teddy bear, created a surreal feeling. Aluna closed the night with “Hurting,” a collaboration with SG Lewis, and “You Know I Like It,” a collaboration with DJ Snake. The energy in the room was palpable, and it was difficult to find a person not dancing. I doubt anyone in the audience will be forgetting this performance anytime soon.

Ieuan at the Elbo Room

By Kennedi Holloway

Dec 2, 2018

I was especially excited for up and coming artist Ieuan’s concert on Sunday. After mistakenly ubering all the way to the Elbo Room the day before thinking that was when the concert was, I texted Ieuan repeatedly to ensure I was going to the right place, at the right time, on the right day. I’ve been fortunate enough to know Ieuan for a few years now, so finally being able to see him perform was an amazing experience. As both a phenomenal singer and performer, Ieuan is the artist to keep your eye out for.

The Elbo Room is a small venue. The top floor is a bar, and the basement is where the concerts take place. I walked down, texting Ieuan and asking him where to meet. He responded, “Behind the black curtain, but don’t let anyone see you, I’m hiding!” So I walked into the tiny curtained-off space and we caught up while he drank his pre-concert tea and diet coke.

His fans were young, and there were only about 30 people in the venue. However, Ieuan remarked that he didn’t care that there weren’t that many people because he knew these were the fans that really cared and would know all the words, so he could just have fun on stage singing with everyone.

Ieuan put on a fun, energy-filled performance, starting with “Midnight In the Bay” off of his first pink era album. Each of Ieuan’s albums are color-coded and themed, with him changing the filters on his social media pictures accordingly.

Accompanying him was Chicago-based DJ Mielo, with whom Ieuan performed the remixed version of “Pretty When U Cry.” Ieuan interacted with the crowd regularly, at one point yelling out, “Make some noise if you’re emo!” before playing “Saint California.” Fans were equally as interactive, with some waving their phone lights during “Nicotine.” Ieuan even dropped his mic during my personal favorite song, “Ramona,” but shook it off and exclaimed, “I’m just so clumsy, gotta keep swimming!” During “Love it When U Love Me,” he jumped between both sides of the stage, having the crowd sing the words. During his final song, “Honey Lavender,” Ieuan referred to the song reaching one million views thanks to the furry community by asking if there were any furries in the crowd. There weren’t any.

Be sure to check Ieuan out, his music is gonna be huge soon!

The Devil Wears Prada at Bottom Lounge

By Isabelle Johnson

Nov 23, 2018

I got Mike Hranica’s hair sweat in my mouth. This was the not the first time that hundreds of droplets of The Devil Wears Prada’s lead singer’s sweat flew into my face, and it wouldn’t be the last.

On November 23rd the metal band The Devil Wears Prada performed the entirety of their album With Roots Above and Branches Below at Chicago’s Bottom Lounge as part of the album’s 10 year anniversary tour.

Before the headliner’s long-winded set, noise punk band ’68 started the night with a loud bang and a little confusion. “Experimental” barely begins to describe the duo’s unusual sound and methods, and some of vocalist and guitarist Josh Scogin’s antics included climbing on top of the drummer’s setup and conducting a casual conversation with him as if they were the only two in the room. Their performance was engaging to say the least, and Scogin even carried the drum set off stage piece by piece as the drummer continued to play during the final song. While some of the leather-adorned crowd stood with arms crossed in confusion, most of the audience cheered and laughed at the dissonant sound effects and infectious energy of the duo. Their vibrant youthfulness and experimental methods mixed well with their old school punk sound, and fans of the genre should definitely give them a listen.

More in line with the headliner, metalcore band Fit For A King brought the “heavy” to the stage in the next set. The four piece’s sound lies somewhere between emo and deathcore, and their mix of melodic vocals with mosh-inducing breakdowns really captured the entire audience.

“When I count to three you know what to do! If someone falls down, you pick them up!” lead singer Ryan Kirby commanded the crowd just before the breakdown of “Pissed Off.” The floor shook in the crowded space of Bottom Lounge as the down-tuned guitars exploded through the speakers and the mosh pit opened up in middle of the venue. Crowd surfers took off as Kirby released a series of growling deathcore vocals, and fans screamed along with the lyrics.

Fit For A King’s set multiplied the energy in the confined and boiling hot space of Bottom Lounge with both catchy, clean hooks and grueling breakdowns. During their final song, the walls began to drip with moisture, and the familiar stuffiness, crowd surfing, and circle pits of a heavy metal show set up the night’s headliner in a perfectly brutal way.

I had attended two Devil Wears Prada shows before, and neither of them could prepare me for the excitement of this one. A few years back, they had headlined another show at Bottom Lounge, but Hranica’s performance had been sloppy at best. His vocals were strained, and his eyes bugged out as he stumbled around the stage. At one point, he staggered into the front row directly on top of me where I was drenched with the infamous hair sweat as myself and a few others barely supported his tattooed frame from falling. However, this show was different since I was reporting, and it was an anniversary tour.

Rather than opening with the anniversary album, the metalcore outfit from Chicago riled the crowd up with fan favorites such as “To the Key of Evergreen” and “Born to Lose.” It happened during the latter song. The main riff and dual breakdowns in “Born to Lose” are some of my favorite moments in all metal, and I was intent on capturing the adept guitar playing of Kyle Sipress. So of course, I failed to notice the forever shirtless Mike approaching the crowd where I had positioned myself for shooting. In one swift flip of his shoulder-length hair, I was sprayed.

That being said, Hranica sprinted across the small stage with the energy of a man half his age, and when “Sassafras” (the first song off With Roots Above and Branches Below) began, the entire venue swelled with energy, as if the audience was possessed by a beast. Minimalist blue and green lights flashed behind the five-piece band, and fancy effects took a backseat to the music itself. Like many anniversary tours, this show was for the devout fans who knew every word to every song. It was heavy metal, pure and simple.

Atreyu at House of Blues

By Isabelle Johnson

Photos by Wendy Li

Dec 2, 2018

Jason Voorhees crosses the stage, guitar in hand, as he is followed by Jigsaw, little Georgie, and eventually Freddy Krueger.  It’s a head-banging horror show, and the fourth time that I’ve seen “Ice Nine Kills.” For those who don’t know, the name of this costumed, metalcore band is a reference to a deadly substance in Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Cat’s Cradle. Nearly all of the band’s songs are inspired by literature or film, and even though they were only the second opener, Ice Nine Kills easily performed above all three other bands including the headliner, Atreyu.

Sleep Signals, a lesser known, run of the mill metal band from Minnesota, opened the show with a few, generic riffs. Even though the songs ran together, the new comers certainly gave it their best. Lead singer Kyle Hanson’s clean vocals definitely had potential, but innovation from the rest of the band was lacking and fairly unimpressive. But that’s nothing unusual for the first opener at a concert, and despite this, Chicago’s House of Blues was already packed to capacity.

Just before Ice Nine Kills walked on stage in their Halloween get-up, the house was as packed as it was going to be all night. Sweating metalheads crowded the venue wall to wall with barely an inch to breathe, and even the walkways between the pit and the bars were inaccessible from the sheer density of people. As the intro to their first song, “The American Nightmare,” faded out, and lead singer Spencer Charnas released a manic howl into the microphone, the wooden floors shook with the earthquake of energy that was the audience. Throughout the set, crowd surfers continuously flew across a swarm of fans as the crowd became a living organism of moshing, sweat, and beer.

While the band played more songs than I would prefer from their newest album, The Silver Scream, they still returned to their older, heavier work. When the impressively fast-paced yet brutal breakdown of one of their most popular songs, “Communion of the Cursed,” blasted from the speakers, Charnas jumped into the crowd to stand on top of their outstretched hands in an acrobatic feat that I had witnessed many times at their other shows. This might have been the fourth time I had seen Ice Nine Kills, but it was just as incredible and impressive as the first.

Once Ice Nine left the stage, so did much of the crowd, and I was thankful for a little more breathing room within the suffocating pit. However, Memphis May Fire, the third opener and another “core of the genre” metal band, proved to be a disappointing follow up. The band’s campy and uninspired choruses and four chord structure felt like pop music disguised as heavy metal, and I felt myself and much of the crowd grow bored as the set dragged on. The mosh pit was virtually nonexistent, (a rarity at a metal show), and the audience stood relatively still as the scrawny lead singer hollered clichés from the safety of the stage. Even when they played their most popular song, “The Sinner,” as their closer, only a handful of devil horns shot into the air.

An older and very drunk woman turned to me halfway through the set as she slurred her words, “Atreyu is better. I promise Atreyu is better!” She didn’t have much persuading to do, as Memphis May Fire was definitely the weakest link of the night.

Finally, the floor to ceiling drapery of Atreyu’s skull symbol appeared on stage, and stacks of stage lights flashed blue as the five-piece band made their entrance. As one of the most well-known names in metal, I had high hopes for the more established group: I was sorely disappointed. While certainly not as lackluster as Memphis May Fire, Atreyu’s sound and performance fell short of expectation.

At this point in the show, a noticeable amount of fans had left the venue, and those that had stayed were so visibly unimpressed that I actually felt bad for the band.  Rather than sticking to their older, metal sound, Atreyu had all but gone pop punk. Their first song, “In Our Wake,” set the tone for most of the set. It’s upbeat, poppy chorus and complete lack of guitar work was indistinguishable from most of Blink-182’s songs. Not that Blink-182 is a bad band, but Atreyu was simply a very confused and poor version of them.

Atreyu had a classic case of regression, or “old people trying too hard to act young.” Vocalist Alex Varkatzas hopped around stage with out of style frosted hair and a flimsy silver tie. 36-year-old guitarist Dan Jacobs sported emo-style eyeliner and a black Mohawk. But even though their appearance was youthful, their energy was still lacking. Plenty of older bands successfully manage to appeal to both younger and older crowds, but Atreyu is unfortunately not one of them.

Phosphorescent at The Vic

By Zoe Huettl

Photos by Leah Dunlevy

Nov 30, 2018

Before either Liz Cooper and the Stampede or Phosphorescent took the stage Friday night at the Vic, there were two cardboard cutouts posed by the mics. A part of LC’s team (probably the videographer, which will come up later) pulled out a feather duster and made a show of dusting the cutouts before whisking them offstage. After this slightly confusing performance, lead singer/guitarist Liz Cooper, bassist Grant Pettyman, and drummer Ryan Usher appeared. Their music, in and of itself, was dynamic. Their sound has a heavy vintage influence, drawing from the old-school rock of the 60s and 70s, along with more contemporary pop earworms. Their infectious basslines, coupled with Cooper’s floating vocal, made for a really  broad sound for a three-piece band. The best of their set was “Sleepyhead,” a fun, light song with a great bass line, though the slower “Motions” let Cooper’s vocal talent shine.

On the level of the music, Liz Cooper and the Stampede were remarkable. But throughout the performance, there were odd moments of incongruence and little ‘bits’ that felt less like an inside joke and more like a ploy to be memorable. LC’s music spoke for itself–they aren’t a band who needs to create a spectacle in order to be worth discussing. There were moments of silliness and sweetness, like when Usher pulled out maracas shaped like bananas. But then when he and the other group members staged strange dance moves, or when cardboard cutouts began the performance, it felt like they were trying to compensate for an issue that wasn’t even there. The effort didn’t stop at small gestures either. The same man who dusted and then removed the cutouts jumped out on stage during the final song. He ran from one side of the stage to the other, danced, and then grabbed a video camera to film the band. These moments were odd and incompatible with the solid music the band played, which would have shone beautifully on its own.

Phosphorescent followed. The setup was wide-ranging, with an extra percussionist, organist, and pianist. All these different musicians meant that the indie rock outfit could fully render their sound, including the airy, effect-laced guitar parts. “New Birth in New England” let the organ come through, while tempering the more ethereal guitar parts with lead singer Houck’s more rusty voice. “The Quodtidian Beasts” was another great moment for the guitar effects. A similar sound could probably be achieved with synths, yet the more traditional band setup let the rhythm guitar pull double duty. It could back Houck’s lead, or create the rising and falling chords that make Phosphorescent’s sound distinctive.

When they began “Christmas Down Under,” Houck started having trouble with his guitar. During an intense solo moment, the audio cut out and it seemed like Houck was genuinely frustrated with his equiptment. He made a few rounds of the wires onstage and even tossed his guitar on the ground in frustration. A few minutes later, after the song ended and his guitar seemed to be working, he joked: “This is the time on the tour where amps, voices, and guitars get broken” Despite this complication, the rest of the show continued without any technical difficulty. “Nothing was Stolen (Love Me Foolishly)” saw the more airy rhythm guitar ground the song in a more traditional sound, which made for a great end to the first part of the show. The encore saw Houck return to his start as a singer-songwriter, playing solo “C’est La Vie No. 2” and “My Dove, My Lamb.”The intimacy of these moments was awesome, but part of the wonder of the show was watching the whole group of musicians from the distinctive, recognizable Phosphorescent sound.

JPEGMAFIA at Masonic Temple Roller Rink

By Beck Dengler

Photos by Beck Dengler

Nov 21, 2018

 

If you’re crazy: Listen to JPEGMAFIA

If you want to get crazy: Listen to JPEGMAFIA

If you don’t want any exhilarating, euphoric, heart-pumping craziness in your life: Listen to JPEGMAFIA while your phone is muted so he at least gets the streaming money.

Performing at artist Danny Brown’s fifth annual Bruiser Thanksgiving, held the night before the holiday, JPEGMAFIA delivered his usual hyperenergetic performance. This is not to say anything about his performing style is ordinary. The man sings possessed. Shirtless, sweating, screaming: he convulsed with his music as though he were the wildest individual in a mosh pit. At one point in his performance, JPEGMAFIA even went into the audience and started his own mosh while rapping at maximum human volume.

JPEGMAFIA aka Peggy aka Black Ben Carson has fully embraced rap counter-culture. Many artists have turned themselves into memorable characters while making music which appeals to the lowest common denominator of listener, such as Tekashi 6ix9ine, Lil Pump or a countless amount of other trap rappers. Peggy refuses to do this, instead making music that revels in its unacceptableness. On Peggy’s 2018 album Veteran the track “I Cannot Fucking Wait Until Morrissey Dies” presents the lyric, “Pull up on a Cracker bumping Lil Peep” followed by a gunshot. On a collaborative track with artist Freaky, Peggy sings “I might vote for Donald Trump just to say I did it.”

Topics of violence and politics are in no way new to music or rap, but Peggy uses them in a satirical, almost nihilistic way. On Veteran he makes fun of people with liberal arts degrees, while he himself has a master’s degree in journalism. During his freestyle, the same one that he admits to doing at each of his shows, he yells, “When Donald Trump dies we going throw a party!” On his track “Macaulay Culkin” Peggy raps, “Feminist, pistol whip your wife first, that’s chivalry.” Peggy is not a conscious rapper. If anything, he is a troll: laughing at our ideals, telling us we live in a fantasy world, telling us he does too.

Amidst this craziness, Peggy won’t be anyone but himself. Some will think JPEGMAFIA is too much. His eccentric, self-produced, noise-rock-rap beats give him a canvas to throw an entire container of lyrical paint onto. It’s almost impossible to capture his pure energy without watching it yourself.

 

Rating:

1/1 Support for a veteran

1/0 Times I laughed at this NSFW Peggy Interview

10/10 CRAZINESS

 

Tor Miller at Schubas

Photos by Liz Solleder

16 Nov, 2018

 

Tor Miller and openers The Prams played a great Friday night set at Schubas on November 16. Touring in support of his sophomore album Surviving the Suburbs, Miller was just taking off on a nationwide tour when he hit Chicago. Check out some of the highlights below:

 

Chase Atlantic at Bottom Lounge

By Kennedi Holloway

Photos by Abigail Everding

Nov 13, 2018

On a freezing Tuesday night, Chase Atlantic completely blew up the Bottom Lounge with an amazing performance. Even with a slipped disk in his back, singer Mitchel Cave delivered a fast paced, high energy set.

Chase Atlantic is a band from Australia, made up of brothers Mitchel and Clinton Cave along with their long-time best friend Christian Anthony. Their music is a tasteful mix of R&B, pop and rock. Songs with catchy beats backed by Clinton’s saxophone make up their discography. After their set, I immediately knew why three girls I met traveled all the way from Georgia to see three of their shows.

The show started off with first opener, R I L E Y, whose songs were mellow hip-hop/r&b beats. For an opener, the crowd was super engaged and interactive.

Then followed Cherry Pools, whose punk rock style contrasted to their very pop-like sound. The lead singer had dark blue hair, chain necklaces and a spiked choker, wearing funky green glasses and a fuzzy jacket that he eventually shed. The guitarist was wearing a crop top and tight black jeans. I unfortunately could not see the drummer from where I was standing. At one point, the band played a fun cover of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.” Their overall set was very fun with catchy songs and great stage energy.

Then Chase Atlantic came and completely transformed the stage. They started with “Swim,” jumping around and hyping up the crowd with smoke machines bursting at the crescendos of the song. Although their music is mostly about girls, drugs and money (with a song literally named “Drugs and Money”), their songs are catchy and feel very deeply emotional. I fell in love with Chase Atlantic when I saw them live at Warped Tour this past summer. Their stage presence and energy transformed their music into an amazing rock experience, and I knew I had to watch out for them. Clinton’s sax solos and the band’s r&b beats take their music to a different place I haven’t heard rock music go before.

The guys played many popular songs from their recent album, Chase Atlantic (Except for “Cassie,” unfortunately). At one point, the band left the stage for a quick “break” and then played their new unreleased song, “Devilish.” One of my favorite parts of the show, however, was when Mitchel sang “Ozone.” Before he started, he remarked the song was special to him and went on to sing it with incredibly raw emotion. The band really knows how to take their audience through a range of emotions.

The band’s on-stage chemistry was amazing as well. Christian and Mitchel constantly embraced each other throughout the performance. One girl threw a bra on stage and Christian jokingly picked it up and put it on Mitchel’s head. During “Okay,” their last song, both R I L E Y and Cherry Pools came out on stage to dance.

Even during their slower songs like “Angeline,” Chase Atlantic had the crowd on high energy the entire time. I had a cramp from jumping and dancing so much. During “The Walls,” Mitchel remarked that this might be his favorite show of the tour.

It was definitely one of my favorite shows of all time.