I can’t write this show review without also writing about the opening acts, Marmalakes and Wild Child.
I’m going to get this over with. I really don’t like to talk shit about bands unless I’m with friends. I’d heard some Marmalakes before. I liked it. Which made listening to them last night just fucking awful. You’re in a room with a capacity of 160, there is no fucking need to mic all the drums and cymbals in your kit. And please, please try not to sweat on me. Towels. Get them. Use them. The over-compensation of LOUD vs. good was all too apparent. (I was the chick that when the music dipped unexpectedly said WHAT? in response to a comment I couldn’t make out) When I heard they still had 10 minutes left in their set I wanted to cry. One more thing and then I’m moving on, if you’ve got two acts following you, get onstage ON TIME.
I’ve adored Wild Child since I first heard of them roughly a year ago. They have many elements I love, a strong female vocalist, folk sound and witty lyrics about murder. They were such a pleasure to see live last night. That was the one thought that came to me over and over during their set, what a pleasure. And they were loving it too. The crowd was really warm and receptive to them and I could easily see them carrying the bill the next time they roll through. There is going to be a new album coming out end of summer, really looking forward to it. What they played off of it showed growth in their sound. A little more spit and polish. And thankfully, none of that spit was aimed at us. They were really a perfect opener for Shakey Graves.
So, ugh, how great was he? I bought a shirt. That great. It was really a combination of things though. Schuba’s itself was just the perfect venue. I had been imagining the show in my head for a while, I do that, and in imagining the small room, the heavy wood, all the elements of that room, really, I couldn’t help but think, perfect. What I couldn’t imagine was the crowd. We were front and center, so I can’t really tell you what the make up was but I can tell you they were boisterous, funny, loud between songs, again, perfect. The room was hot, which was exactly how you wanted it to be for this show. I think the most fun was watching him react to the audience. First time in Chicago and we blew him away. To see the smile crawl across his face. The almost disbelief that we knew his lyrics. The banter and give and take. Performance was spot on.
And how often do you catch yourself staring at the feet of a performer? When they go onstage I tend to check their shoes, it’s a thing. (Collectively, the band with the best shoes is Sea Wolf) If I don’t like a band, I have an internal monologue in my head about their shoes to find a redeeming quality about them. Like, music sucks, good shoes, ok. That’s not so much the point of where I’m going here but I’m tired. Back on track, Shakey Graves, his feet doing double duty on percussion are just…. fun to watch. I envy my friends in New York that will be seeing him on Sunday. He’ll be back though, and I’ll be there.
Last but not least….