reppin: chicago, usa // 5 days of music and comedy // jan 2018
sounds like: a winter urban wonderland with a side of beer
featuring: ron gallo // diane coffee // rayland baxter // hinds
Hey Chicagoans..we are some lucky humans when it comes to the want to explore music in this city. On any given night there are nearly two dozen shows of touring bands around town amongst the thousands of local outfits that stretch to the suburbs. This city overflows the brim of pint glasses with music and we can’t get enough of it. Nothing could be more apparent as Tomorrow Never Knows Fest came back for another killer year in the dead of winter. Not often do you hear the word “festival” during this time of the year...in fact, few dare to put together such a stellar event in January, but the Music God’s answered for this one. Schubas and Lincoln Hall have been pouring live music into our ears for years (Schubas just kicked off their 30th year) and they are way up their on the finest venues in the city list. For a decade now, TNK has brought us up and coming indie artists and bands, comedians and a hell of a fun time for a few days. This year was no different and probably one of the bigger ones as nearly every venue was sold out on the nightly.
I was fortunate enough to catch the latter half of the festivities, planting my booty over at Lincoln Hall for three incredible, yet very different shows this past weekend. In short, we saw two upbeat, moving around type of shows sandwiched in between a nice chill one. Earlier in the week, the likes of Allan Raymond, Yumi Zouma, Cuco brought some music love to our ears as I sadly could not attend. However, the weekend capped off the fest in all the right ways.
Ron Gallo // Diane Coffee
Friday night featured two rocking talents, Ron Gallo who shreds the guitar and has funnier jokes than you followed by the eccentric Diane Coffee. I’ve written about Ron before, as he has frequented Chicago over the past year and he gets better and funnier every time he comes through. His rock n’ roll presence, given his personality, is almost funny since he is, well, a pretty hilarious dude. Having no recognition for the norm, he hops around stage, shreds the guitar and gives the audience a ton of energy. The heavy distortion and overalls attire round out a killer set every time. Diane Coffee closed out the night with his band and trio of chorus singers. Man does this dude have a wide range of vocals coming from his mouth hole, Flamboyant and eccentric, there is never a dull moment with him. It is even hard to put his music into one genre, but it is a ton of fun to watch.
The meaty part of the sandwich was the one and only, the chill, Rayland Baxter. Armed with his guitar and two of his friends on the drums and keys, he gives off a sing-a-long type of vibe that casts a happy spell on you. His alternative/indie/folk is persistent and loud, yet relaxing at the same time. He really set the tone by opening with the classic, “Ol’ McDonalld” which garnered a few laughs. Hailing from Nashville, you can even hear a tad of country twang in him, but is unique and sets himself apart when it comes to the songwriting. It was a true delight to watch and hear Rayland play, especially with some tracks off the killer album, feathers & fishHooks, his debut from 2012. His latest album, Imaginary Man, although a few years old, is still a super ear friendly listen. If you got to check out No Age or Typhoon that night by the way, I salute you for hitting up an equally as dope show.
And finally, to cap off the weekend, Hinds jetted over from Madrid to have some fun with us Chicagoans. They may as well call this city their second home having played here numerous times in such a short timespan the past year or two. They also befriended Chicago’s own Twin Peaks while touring with them which will get the green light of approval just about anywhere on the music spectrum. Four fun chicks who can party better than you do come out onto the stage and the smiles are infectious. Their messy grungy sound blends so well with the layered vocals, their personality and ability to work the stage. The blanket of happiness is felt throughout the crowd as the constant jumping up and down means, yes, I like this and am having fun. They have a new album coming out April 6th, I Don’t Run (pre-order), and I have sneaky suspicious feeling that we will all be hearing a lot more from these ladies in the months to come.
As a super fan of music, I always think about what I want out of getting to show. These type of weeks it is clear that a diverse schedule of musicians and bands can bring together a diverse group of people who all have a common goal of feeling something, forgetting something, remembering something. Whatever it is for you, it is one of the best feelings in the world. Cheers to Tomorrow Never Knows.