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Review Mon Sep 05 2011

Review: Sleeping in the Aviary, Dastardly, Paper Thick Walls @ Schubas

There is this unique phenomenon at smaller music venues in Chicago. Promoters smash together random bands (usually all under the general "indie" category) and see what happens. Sometimes the Frankenstein created is hideous, but other times, like Friday night's "Orange Tree" music video premiere at Schubas, it is legendary.

The line-up for the night was odd and seemingly backwards in intensity. It started with the energy and fury of Sleeping in the Aviary, moved to the rock-infused bluegrass of Dastardly, and ended with the sweetly catchy pop of Paper Thick Walls. But the sequence worked for the Schubas crowed, who got riled up with Sleeping in the Aviary and rode the buzz through the video premiere.

I was initially drawn to Friday's show because of a familiar name. Sleeping in the Aviary was a hit Madison-based screamo band (in the best sense of the word) when I was a Badger (back in good ole 2008). I was jazzed for a piece of college-life nostalgia even if SITA is now officially a Minneapolis band. I was pleasantly surprised to find the band has matured from emotionally-fueled rockers to a more ridiculous, less serious and more varied rock group. SITA jammed from classic indie rock to '60s pop with barely time for a key change in between. The band seems to have learned growing up right means letting go of the angst and embarrassing the insane. To start their opening set, lead singer Elliott Kozel, took off his shoes and threw them at (not into) the crowd. With his feet free, Kozel, along with the rest of the band, jammed on stage heavy with bass and guitar with an occasional touch accordion and plenty of rock n' roll antics. SITA gave show reminiscent of a classic rock era with a strange familiarity to a drunk '70s prom band. The set could only have been better if it ended with a pantless encore.

A surprise favorite of the night was Chicago-based Dastardly, a solid, rock, Indie, bluegrass blend band. Dastardly combines the spirit of rock with the heart of bluegrass and the accessibility of Indie. Lead singer Gabe Liebowitz has an amazing ease with the audience, talking to the crowd like an old drunk college friend (although his impressions could use some work as his Jewish mother sounds oddly familiar to a flamboyant gay man). Besides the basics of a traditional bluegrass band, Dastardly's Sarah Morgan added the sharp beat of a snare drum and the admittedly hammy Joe Rauen, added a punch of clarinet. But beyond the unique instruments, the band has solid talent and some incredible harmonies that hopefully gives them some staying power in the Chicago bluegrass scene.

Paper Thick Walls wrapped up the night with their first-ever music video premiere of "Orange Trees," a video directed by Kevin Pickman and Stefeni Tormanen. By the time the video premiered, Schubas had filled to the brim and fans delighted in the four-minute video. Paper Thick Walls followed the premiere with a live version of "Orange Trees" that stuck in my head throughout the night and into coffee the next morning.

Friday night at Schubas proved to Chicago fans that all Indie music may not be created equal but occasionally it can all come together and make a night wild, soulful and sweet all in the span of three sweaty hours.

 
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Challs / September 6, 2011 10:01 PM

I've seen Sleeping In The Aviary several times over the years and at no point could they ever be described as a screamo band. They deserve more credit than that, you goofballs.

Niki / September 14, 2011 4:42 PM

I did say screamo in the BEST sense of the word. But yeah, I guess, for most, screamo has a pretty negative connotation. I happen to relate it to fond memories of youth and my much worn The Used t-shirt. But the error of my ways has been shown and I shall never again call a band (esp. one I myself am quite fond of) screamo. Cheers.

Niki / September 14, 2011 4:43 PM

P.S. If you want to check out the very non-screamo SITA, they are playing this Saturday at double door!

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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