Bad bad hats, Basement, and The Front Bottoms review

Kailah (K.P.) Peters | October 2017

October 26th, The Front Bottoms put on a night to remember at the Metro. The first band to perform was Bad Bad Hats. Though this band doesn’t have big following they made a name for themselves that night. They played their more popular hits, “It hurts” and “Midway.” This band is a mix of mid-western manners and hard rock and roll. The crowd was thrown for a loop when lead singer Kerry Alexander opened her mouth to talk.

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Her mid-western charm came out. Her talking voice was sweet, well-mannered and almost shy. This is not what you’d expect from her harsh and honest lyrics. After she chat with the crowd she played a more aggressive song. I was astounded when the sweet mannered Kerry shredded her guitar solo. Their Minnesota origin doesn’t soften the edge of their music.

After Bad Bad Hats revved up the crowd Basement kicked it into high gear. This British rock band got the crowd pumped. During their performance crowd surfers came out (and got shut down by security). Their guitar riffs and energy shook the building. You could feel the bass of their songs in your bones.

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As the crowd waited for the Front bottoms to perform the venue played “Say it ain’t so” by Weezer. The whole crowd united to sing the modern classic. Words can’t describe the feeling of unity and bliss this moment evoked. Even without live music Metro managed to capture the beauty of concerts.

The Front Bottoms took the stage and everyone was thrilled. Their performance included more than just audio. The band set up screens on both sides of the stage to project visuals that aligned with the songs. This performance was mostly new songs off their latest release “Going Grey.”

The Front Bottoms opened with “You Used to Say (Holy Fuck).” The crowd jumped and danced along to the indie hits. A large portion of the crowd brought alien balloons with lights in them. These were thrown around the crowd. Bouncing over heads and on stage, the balloons created a euphoric atmosphere.

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At one point the crowd started throwing items up on stage. The first was a hand-made The Front Bottoms banner. It included the Chicago skyline and the band’s name. Brian Sella, the lead singer, held the banner above his head so the crowd could see. Then he had stage hands hang it up. Next a fan threw a hat on stage. After laughing at how sweaty it was Brian gave the hat to drummer Mathew Uychich to wear. Immediately afterwards another fan threw a Chicago hat. This hat landed on Brian’s guitar. After a good laugh he decided he had to wear it.

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As Brian said, this concert was definitely a night to remember. With old and new songs coming together I’d keep an eye out for where The Front Bottoms goes next.

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Billie Eilish @ Schubas Review

Kailah (K.P.) Peters | October 2017

For such a young artist, Billie has built herself a large following. Last week on October 12, Billie Eilish played a sold out show at Schuba’s. For those of you not there, my sincere apologizes let me fill you in.

The performance started with an ambiguous feel. As the theme song for The Office played, Billie and her brother Finneas O’Connell took the stage.  Though Billie was sick and couldn’t reach her high notes, she still gave an energetic performance. The 15-year-old star bounced around the stage, letting the music move her.

At one point in the set, Billie let her brother take the mic. He performed an acoustic version of “I’m in Love Without You” and left the crowd in awe. His voice is deeper than Billie’s, giving the show a fun variation. He still maintained the sad acetic that Billie is notorious for. After that performance, I will anxiously await more music from Finneas. I have no doubt this family has talent running through their veins.

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When Billie picked up her Ukulele the crowd got excited. We all waited for the ring that would cue up “Party Favor.” Instead, she performed a ukulele cover of “Hot Line Bling” then made the transition to her song.

When performing her hit “My Boy”, Billie and Finneas present a dance. This was one of the coolest parts of the set. The artist let her shoulders bounce with the beat and kicked her feet to the bass.

Eventually, the set had to end. Billie closed the show with “Bellyache,” revving the crowd back up after “Ocean Eyes.” If you missed her this time - be sure to catch her the next. As long as she keeps making sick music, Billie is only going to get more popular. She started by selling out Schubas but it won’t be long before she is selling out shows at Thalia Hall.

Warm Glow EP by Hippo Campus

K.P. Peters | September 2017

Hippo Campus is back with an unexpected EP titled Warm Glow. The EP contains three songs: “Baseball,” “Traveler,” and the title track.

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           The band successfully delivers hypnotic melodies with complimentary guitar. They mix a folk feel with an indie rock sound and create the irresistible appeal that is known as Hippo Campus. The lyrics of each track are meaningful and catchy. My favorite line goes, “my bones are tired of the body that woke me up today.”

            “Baseball” starts the EP off with a sound slightly different from their past. The first few lines are missing the band’s iconic harmonics. Though the vocals are different than expected, the song still maintains their notable sound.

            “Traveler” is the ideal middle song. It has all the things we’ve come to love about Hippo Campus: lyrical annunciations that create a unique melody, beautiful guitar and a sing song feel that anyone could sway to. This song centers around the idea of waiting for a girl who keeps letting them down. It’s beautiful sadness disguised in a pleasant song. Personally, I can’t wait to see the crowd screaming, “for a girl that I can’t see” along with the band.

            The EP concludes with the title track. This song is more mellow than the rest of them. Riding on slow guitar and sweet vocals, it is the perfect end to the new release. I strongly recommend you start every “warm glow” morning off with this band set on repeat.

Remo Drive and Hippo Campus

K.P. Peters | May 2017

Last night, Hippo Campus closed out their tour at the Metro. They were opened by rock band Remo Drive. Remo Drive is a three-piece band made up of Erik Paulson (vocals/guitar), Stephen Paulson (bass), and Sam Mathys (drums). This band combines powerful lyrics that are reminiscent of 2000’s pop punk bands, with catchy riffs and enticing drums. Erik Paulson sings with a pop punk vocal style, but somehow makes this band something more than all the other pop punks. Remo Drive uses interesting drum fills and guitar riffs to take their sound to the next level. They moved the drummer to center stage, allowing the crowd to see his energetic performance (possibly the most captivating drummer ever). Apart from their music, he was the best part of the performance.

After Remo Drive revved up the crowd, Hippo Campus took the stage. The band filled the venue with a sold out show, and boy did they deliver. The band describes themselves as “kinda pop.” That is the best way to describe their upbeat and melody driven, yet mellow sound.

Hippo Campus started the show with “Sun Veins”, and slowly progressed into “Way it Goes”. I’ve listened to this transition a number of times on the album, but there is nothing like seeing it live. Hippo Campus effortlessly blended the tracks together and took the crowd away with their smooth vocals.

I won’t lie, I was a little weary going to see this band live because their songs maintain a strong vocal presence that often changes octaves suddenly. Hippo Campus put those worries to bed.  The band executed every harmony, and transition flawlessly. They worked together like a well-functioning machine. Even from the crowd you could tell that they were all close friends. When they weren’t dancing all over the stage or reaching out to fans, they were interacting with each other.

I was more than impressed by their performance of “South”, and taken away when they brought Remo Drive on stage to sing with them during “Buttercup”. Personally, I can’t wait to see them at a number of music festivals this summer including Lollapalooza.

Judge Judy and Executioner Takes the Stage

K.P. Peters | April 2017

Max Bottner, DePaul Dropout, performed a solo set for his band Judge Judy and Executioner April 8th at Club Soda. 

After deciding to leave DePaul’s film program, Bottner is refocusing his energy on music. The artist says he realized that film wasn’t what he really wanted to do, but making music makes him happy. With only two quarters under his belt, Bottner has tons of love and support from the DePaul community, which was clear by the friends that cheered him on in the crowd.

Though a solo set is unusual for the band, Max did an excellent job. He won the crowd over with musical talent, humorous stage presence, and great tunes. Throughout his performance, Max matched his baritonecore style music with mouth-organs and guitar playing. For those of you not at the show, baritonecore is how Bottner describes his music, which is shaped around deep vocals. Mouth-organs refers to the plethora of harmonicas he played. This music is something you shouldn’t miss out on again.

 

KO from MØ

K.P. Peters | March 2017

Though pop is a guilty pleasure of mine I must admit, MØ was an amazing performance. She owned the stage like it was the only place she could have been, even though she spent very little time there. MØ performed laying down, in the crowd, on the balcony; basically anywhere and everywhere she could. She was high energy and the crowd loved it. This sold out show had everyone singing along and falling in love with her amazing performance. One of the most notable things, besides her high energy, was the use of strobe lights. They were set back stage, illuminating MØ from behind. This gave her an otherworldly appearance. The show truly was surreal.

MØ is a young Danish singer-songwriter, most notably known for hits like Kamikaze and Final Song. Her mix of powerful vocals and bubbly synths makes every song a hit. She combines romantic lyrics with a fun beat and a powerful performance, all this means I would happily walk through the snow to see her anytime.

If you are a fan of Grimes, Twin Shadow or anything in that genre I strongly recommend you give MØ a listen.

Sofar, So Good

K.P. Peters | March 12, 2017

Last night, March 12, Sofar put on a private show just for DePaul students.

It showcased Kaina (@kaifu), Femdot (@femdotdotcom), and Iris Temple (@iristemplemusic) all of whom are DePaul musicians.

This Sofar concert was the most intimate show I have ever been too. All the musicians kept the music as simple as possible and expressed the emotion behind it in a beautiful way.

The first act, Kaina, blew the crowd away with her amazing vocals and harmonies. The best of her songs was Run. After her soulful performance Hip-hop star Femdot took the stage, or carpet. His quirky personality illuminated the room, making the crowd smile by performing into a remote and including us in all the songs. Last but not least was Iris Temple, who performed an all acoustic set. Their performance gave off a very folksy vibe, which is much different from their fully produced work. The band seamlessly mended both vocalists with the guitar and drum.

All in all, SoFar was so good. Anyone interested in the most intimate concert experience should attend a local show. Impressively, SoFar has roots in over 300 cities. Though it started in London, Chicago has become its 4th largest city. I know I am definitely looking forward to going to another show, and you should too.

Check out more information about SoFar Chicago and SoFar global at the links below.
https://www.sofarsounds.com/chicago
https://www.sofarsounds.com

"The Whistle Song" - The Slaps

K.P. Peters | January 2017

The Slaps are back at it again releasing a single to mark the start of the winter quarter. If you have been following their Instagram you are already aware that these boys spent their holidays in Kentucky self producing a new record. This record has been promised to bring the beach blues vibe that The Slaps have become notorious for.

Sadly, the first single isn’t all that we have come to expect from them. While it still maintains the eerie echo of Rand’s voice that seems to make a college girl’s heart swoon, it lacks the upbeat melody that the band usually brings to the parties they perform at.

The single starts with slow guitar strings humming and a beautifully sung first line. Then the drums come in and the listener is still left only swaying to the tune. I’m not saying the song is bad, just not what I expected from their first released single. Maybe the fault is in the slow tempo.

Usually a single from an EP is the best song to listen to on repeat, the one that brings about the most upbeat response, not the one that makes you want to curl up with coffee and a good book. After listening to their set tonight I heard a few songs that would better suit the role of a single, and better grasp the typical sound of their songs.  

Maybe the fault is in the simplistic approach taken on this track. If one goes to listen to “See Her” on our YouTube you will note that the track has a strong melody, good flowing drums and excellent vocals and lyrics. To contrast, this new track relies more heavily on the guitar, with minimalist drums that follow the strumming rather than contrasting it to make a layered effect. Yet, it is possible that the problem is our expectations.

The Slaps quickly became one of the most well known DePaul bands, filling up living rooms with eager students in minutes. Just consider the crowd that appeared tonight, the room was so packed many people stood or sat on the ground. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that expectations of what they can do are high, and while “The Whistle Song” isn’t bad it also isn’t great. Regardless, the band’s dissonant “whistling” ( I say that in quotations because, despite the song title, it is not a whistle) is still surprisingly pleasant. It evokes the feeling of late nights singing lazily with friends and is, in my opinion, the best part of the tune. The lyrics remain as heartbreaking/romantic as their other songs, repeating the phrase “wasting your time” multiple times throughout the five minute track. Despite our critical review we still maintain our high expectations for this group.

A video of this song can be found here

Treehouse Records Open House

K.P. Peters | November 2016

Treehouse Records was any Chicago musician’s wet dream. The record label had plenty of rooms for practicing, not to mention an entire back area that was being expanded into more recording spaces. The studio owned stacks of amazing guitars, organs, basses and amps. Vibe employees even managed to play around on one of the organs. I got to talk to one of their recording artists, Charlie Lubeck, who gushed about the companies $35 an hour price. No I didn’t miss-type that, working with people these amazing is seriously that cheap.
 
I thought free beer and being in a recording studio was going to make the night unbeatable until The Break took the stage. This band broke up about four years ago, according to the drummer and Treehouse co-owner Matt Gieser, but put on one reunion show. The bass player, Paul Ansani, overwhelmingly dominated the show. His stage presence was almost indescribable. Paul held the bass straight in the air, head banged like no other, gave the crowd a glare and pressed his back to the lead singer, Sean Cahill-Lemme. If you missed this amazing performance there is no need to fret. I talked with The Break’s guitar player, Miles Mailn, about what they are up to now. Miles informed me that he and Paul are in another band called The Evening Attraction. They will be performing at the house of blues on December 3rd for a just as amazing performance.

OHKAY Pop Up Shop

K.P. Peters | November 2016

Last night, November 16, Chris Brown set up a pop up shop for his upcoming brand. Brown, a DePaul freshman, runs his own international clothing line, OHKAY. The clothes suit an indie skater boy aesthetic and have been compared to other brands like Supreme and Obey. The pop up shop quickly filled up around 7 when the local band The Slaps took the stage. The crowd enjoyed the show and the audience danced and sang along to some of the bands classics (which you can find on our YouTube page). Many of the audience members seemed to be familiar with The Slaps, lending to a fun environment. After the set Rand, the lead singer, congratulated Brown on his hard work with the brand. The band brought up Brown to give a small speech. The shop was a great time filled with memorabilia, good vibes and great music. If you are interested in buying from this line they can be purchased online here.

Transviolet & LANY @ Metro

K.P. Peters | November 2016
Last night Transviolet opened with their song “Bloodstream”, immediately drawing a reaction from the audience. The band didn’t hesitate to turn the volume all the way up, creating powerful floor vibrations and infusing the atmosphere with those infectious Chicago vibes. It was mesmerizing to watch Sarah, Transviolet’s lead singer, as she let the music flow throughout her entire body. She took absolute control of the stage, doing back bends, jumping off the bass drum, and holding hands with an audience member.

After Transviolet’s fantastic performance, I was able to talk with the members of the band, all of which were friendly, witty and fun. This was their 4th performance in Chicago and Sarah noted that this audience had good vibes, citing variances between performing for teenagers and adults. We even addressed how she acts in concerts herself. 
    
After we talked for a while, the band came out to join us. The guys, Jonah, Mike, and Jon, were full of good times. Jonah and I joked around, taking a selfie in our matching hats before he let me give him a fake tattoo, pictured below.
    
After our talk, I returned to find that LANY had taken over the stage, already captivating the audience. Paul, the lead singer, was undeniably cool, letting his long locks flow as he danced around, complimenting his incredible voice with the skilled strums of his mint green guitar. The New York- and LA-based band thrilled the crowd, pronouncing Chicago “the best place to perform” before performing a special song and prancing around the stage with the iconic W flag around his shoulders. LANY teased the audience by “ending” the concert with a beautiful performance of “Current Location”, later coming back for an encore of “Bad, Bad, Bad,” and “ILYSB”, delighting the audience and perfectly finishing the truly memorable night.

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