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« Review: The Walkmen & Father John Misty @ the Vic, 1/18 TNK Fest Recap: Night 3 - Free Energy @ Schubas, 1/18 »

Tomorrow Never Knows Sun Jan 20 2013

Review/Photos: Tomorrow Never Knows - Chelsea Wolfe, The Amazing, King Dude & Sabers @ Schubas Tavern 1/19/13

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Chelsea Wolfe wasn't just the most unusual musician playing in a night of quite varied and unique bands but she might very well be one of the strangest and most intriguing musicians in the entire world at large. She is striking in her very tall, thin stature and she seems like she comes from a totally different time and place, like the silent film era for instance. Wolfe possesses the kind of eyes that make her seem irreconcilably lost. Her music is typically experimental and distorted as in the case of her second full length album Ἀποκάλυψις, which is also referred to as Apokalypsis. She has become known for a sound that is unpredictable and as wild as it is strange so this reviewer wasn't quite sure how a more acoustic set was going to work.

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Chelsea Wolfe possibly seemed even more vulnerable with the stripped down approach, though she still had a violinist and another bandmate on synth keyboards as well as her own acoustic guitar. One gets the idea she may not necessarily feel comfortable on the stage, despite her obvious talent. There's also something to be said about that kind of feeling, because it makes you realize that each performance is a sort of gift and an exercise in trust. Wolfe had her audience chilled and breathless with the sound of her voice alone, which sounded fantastic and was often looped to create a symphony with herself. Her range and sense of control is admirable but one can also make the case that her delivery is equally strong.

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Wolfe didn't talk too much between songs, though it was clear she was sick as she kept spraying her throat with medicine. She didn't sound raspy or raw. however, so she managed to hide it quite well. One could tell she realized she was respected on stage and was thankful for her admiring fans. She played a few songs from Apokalypsis as well as at least one new song and it was really nice to hear her cover Sybille Baier's "The End" as an encore.


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Sabers started out the night with a very intriguing mix of edgy rock songs not afraid of a catchy riff and softer ballads where the melodic interplay worked especially well. Those paying attention to the local Chicago music scene these last few years may remember Edward Anderson from 1900s and Mazes and lead singer Josh Chicoine from The Ms and Cloudbirds but it was a treat to see them together on the same stage. Anderson plays bass in this band and the five piece also had accompaniment from drums, keyboards and guitar. They started five minutes early so they could play an extra song and there wasn't a dull moment in their 35 minute long set

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The strangest and most distinctive thing about two piece King Dude was the lead singer's (TJ Cowgill's) voice which at times seemed to fit into an eccentric slightly nasal Indie rock sound. At other times, it was belted out from his chest and thrust forth in a deeply soulful way that was just as irregular but more passionate. Cowgill played guitar with a bandmate on drums in front of a large tattered American flag and most of their songs recalled a darker even more gothic aesthetic exploring such topics of being deeply alone and evil.(At one point, they even suggested the audience could sing along with them in a little ditty about Lucifer.) The songs were at their best when Cowgill's voice was at it's deepest and one felt a little haunted. When the delivery was more nasal and higher pitched, it was not only jarring and off putting (if it wasn't live, one would think it was a different person altogether), but it made the songs lack the spooky quality that made them seem so memorable and worth listening to in the first place.

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The band hailing from the farthest away of the night, The Amazing, also played songs quite different from any of the other bands on the lineup. This time, the audience was greeted by a five piece playing psychedelic folk rock jams that were super melodic though somewhat long and meandering. It was lovely to both linger and get lost in some of those moments, though. The songs were at their best when they included keyboard instead of bass but either way there was always ample guitar melodies to keep things interesting and the intermittent vocal harmonizing was also quite a treat! They added a little humor saying Chicago was the nicest American city they had been to (clearly they hadn't visited Wrigleyville) and randomly mentioning The Blues Brothers.

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Read all our Tomorrow Never Knows coverage.

 
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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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