Supporting your local music scene is one of the most fun ways to get acquainted with new music. Friday, April 6th brought a great local showcase (of sorts) to Chicago’s Subterranean that was just as entertaining of a show as any other. The lineup for the night included Joie de Virve, Into It. Over It., The Please & Thank Yous, and Droughts.
Droughts started out the night fast and heavier than the rest of the night, but there’s nothing wrong with that. They had an interesting combination of lighter, reverberant instrumentation juxtaposed with more aggressive yelled vocals, which was tied together with the tom-heavy, and rather impressive drum work.
The Please & Thank Yous took the stage next, keeping up the energy from the previous set. The Please & Thank Yous have a very cool sound that their Facebook deems “post pop punk”. This seems to be a fitting description, as they clearly have punk rock roots, but go beyond the basic song structure associated with punk. The whole set was lots of fun, and the crowd bobbed their heads in agreement. The capstone to the set was undoubtedly they closing song “Fucking Honesty”, and as well it should be. The song itself is pretty great, but there’s something that makes it even better when you get to enjoy it with a crowd of other people who are enjoying it just as much as you.
Into It. Over It. (Evan Weiss) then faced an amped up crowd, with nothing but a couple of acoustic guitars, and his songwriting skills. This was my third time seeing IIOI this year alone, and it’s clear that Evan really has his performance down to a ‘t’. Although many of the studio versions of his songs are full-band recordings, when played live, it’s usually just Evan and his guitars. This is sometimes tough for a crowd to take in, and throughout the set you could hear numerous conversations. This is something Evan’s certainly used to by now, and he even made light of the situation by jokingly dedicating a song to “that guy who won’t stop carrying on”. For those of us paying attention to the set, it was impossible to deny that Evan has found some very impressive ways to fill out a song with a combination of rhythm and lead guitar, with a single guitar. The setlist was a good mix of songs off his latest Proper, a handful of older songs from assorted splits and other releases, a cover, and a Stay Ahead of the Weather song (one of his other projects).
Joie de Virve marked this as a return to music since disbanding 4/6/11 (ironically one year ago to the day) but I think they had reconvened during that year at some point. I went into the show not knowing much at all about Joie, except that they’re an emo rock band from Rockford, IL, and that according to some of the facebook feedback from The Please & Thank Yous, they were all there to have some fun for the night. They didn’t disappoint at all. On top of guitars, drums, and bass, the band adds in some keys, and what really pulls it together, a trumpet. It’s really a great sound, sort of like if The Get Up Kids played Neutral Milk Hotel songs (is that a fair comparison?). Their set was full of fans yelling along, and truly enjoying seeing Joie back on stage. A note on the venue security, however. You guys book rock shows, please treat us concertgoers like we’re at a rock show. I get that there are liabilities attached with crowdsurfers, and mosh pits, but at a show like Friday night’s, nobody is there to hurt each other. In fact, it seemed the people doing the crowd surfing in this case were all friends, and were enjoying every second of it. So, fine, no crowd surfing, it’s not too much to ask. But can we be told that like adults? I saw most of the offenders ripped down from their friends hands, and in at least one case, saw the guard then push the kid up against the wall. This is too much. Small things aside, this was a great show. I’m excited to familiarize myself a bit with some of these locals’ catalogs and be able to join in a bit more next time!
My name is Jake, and I am an Audio Arts and Acoustics, and Music Business major at Columbia College Chicago. I've had a passion for live music for many years now, and average seeing 80+ bands/year. This is my attempt to put words to some of the shows that I enjoy so much.