Ghost’s Popestar Tour

Papa Emeritus III and his nameless ghouls put on an abbreviated version of their ritual last week at Tinley Park as the opening act for Iron Maiden.

For those who have not seen Ghost before, I can only imagine what must have been going through their head. Papa Emeritus III plays the role of the demonic Pope, dressed in full regalia, but with inverted crosses and his face painted like a skull. The other band members play in identical black outfits (minus the one symbol that identifies them) and face masks. Despite the satanic messages their songs may preach, their heavy music is surprisingly poppy.

The majority of Thursday night’s setlist came from their 2015 album, Meliora, and only one from their most recent EP, Popestar. The remainder of their 8-song setlist was split evenly between their first two albums. Ghost’s set was overflowing with power and kept the attention of everyone at the venue, even those who originally went for Iron Maiden. My only issue with their performance was that the set was too short and didn’t contain enough songs from their first album, Opus Eponymous. Considering set time is not determined by them, I can’t hold it against them…I will just consider their show at Tinley Park to be a teaser for the next time they come through on their own tour.

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Gang of Youths plays Chicago for the first time

Gang of Youths’ introduction to the Australian music scene came in 2015 with the release of their debut album The Positions and 2016’s EP Let Me Be Clear. Although they were the new kids on the block, their popularity spread like wildfire and they quickly became one of Australia’s best live acts. Gang of Youths played at Schubas Monday night, and I almost immediately shamed myself for not having heard their music before. Like someone seeing colors for the first time, I was transfixed by their effortless stage presence, connection to the crowd, and their well-defined sound.

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Lewis Del Mar @ Thalia Hall

Lewis Del Mar is an experimental pop/rock duo from Rockaway Beach, NYC consisting of two best friends — singer/guitarist Danny Miller and drummer/producer Max Harwood. The two played an amazing set at Thalia Hall with the help of their friends/band mates. They band first started getting recognized when they released their single Loud(y). Shortly after, they released their EP which was followed by their self-titled album. They had a lot to bring on stage, and they executed it perfectly. I couldn’t believe my ears when the band started out their set with the fist song Such Small Scenes. The audience and I felt a rush of euphoria and exhilaration when the bass of the song hit followed up by the sound of blissful guitar playing. We later couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw Anna Wise join Lewis Del Mar on stage to cover Kanye’s song Runaway. At that point, everybody lost it and has a kick-ass time singing along. Don’t miss out–give these guys a listen. I promise you won’t regret it!

Review and photos by Brian Fuentes

GGOOLLDD Shines at The Empty Bottle

After having spent 3 weeks recording in a cabin, GGOOLLDD was happy to to be back on the road again. The band took the stage around 11:30pm on Wednesday night to an excited crowd. Within the first song, it was easy to see how comfortable the band is performing live for audiences. They have a very natural and charming stage presence that draws fans in and gets them singing and dancing from the get-go. There was even a decent number of guys who fist pumped unabashedly throughout the set. GGOOLLDD’s stage presence combined with their catchy, unique sound makes me think that they will go far in the music business. I’m excited to see where they pop up next!

Getting Rowdy with Beach Slang

“My granny told me to dress your best for the people you love which is why I’m looking smooth as fuck!” Those at the House of Blues Thursday night for the Bayonne + Beach Slang + Minus the Bear show knew they were in for a treat when singer James Alex and the rest of Beach Slang took the stage. Immediately connecting with the crowd like few other bands manage to achieve, the band had the crowd dancing and conversing with them from the stage within the first 10 minutes.

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The ladies bring the heat!

Last Friday featured co-headliners The Courtneys and Jay Som at Schubas. The Funs, although billed as the opening act, brought the energy levels up with their unique sound. Crazy Courtney put it best between songs, saying that she is constantly in awe of The Funs, and that hearing their music is like being at a spa where you are immersed into freezing cold water. At first, you experience shock and slight discomfort as your brain tries to make sense of their unconventional sound. However, once you become accustomed to it, then the bath salts are introduced which make your mind go wild.

The Courtneys were sandwiched between The Funs and Jay Som. Their sound is upbeat, carefree, and makes me think of summer. Despite the fact that there are only three members, the ladies manage to create a very full sound which got fans bobbing along as they played. Between songs, we were privy to their quirky sense of humor. The trio were telling us about the custom buttons they had made, which have hair coming out of them, and urged us to check them out after their set since they will surely go down in history as one of The Courtneys’ best pins. We were further welcomed into their minds as we listened to a song about Kiefer Sutherland and heard about the time they wrote a song about Keanu Reeves and sent it over to his people, you know, just in case they wanted it for something. The Courtneys finished their setlist of 8 songs before their time slot was up, so we were treated to an encore song.

Jay Som was last on the bill, and seemed to have quite the following at the show. I was immediately enamored with the sound they flawlessly wove together. The instruments flowed fluidly between each other, filling all the gaps and creating a floaty, endless sound. Vocalist Melina Duterte’s voice was perfectly in tune with the instrumentals which served to make their sound even more rich. I look forward to seeing where these bands show up next!

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