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Review Wed Apr 29 2015

Shy Girls and Young Ejecta Shined at Schubas

shygirls1.jpgRecently I've seen my fair share of minimalist musicians in a live setting and every time I'm blown away. The transition from the studio sounds to the live in person experience is massive. There is an added expansiveness to their sound, making the already emotive experience all the more affecting. Young Ejecta and Shy Girls were no exception at their Schubas show this past weekend. Both bands were completely different from what I was expecting, with Young Ejecta delivering more with fewer members and Shy Girls creating instant R&B classics with relative ease. They were a fantastic pairing that fed on the audience's energy, putting together a passionate show.

youngejecta.jpg Typically,Young Ejecta is the duo of Leanne Macomber and producer Joel Ford, but Macomber had the stage all to herself. This ended up for the better, allowing her to move and dance to her hearts content. Macomber was filled with an urge to bounce about, using every bit of room that she had to embody her music. For "Recluse" she laid down on stage and let the music slowly build her up to the mic where she echoed out the appropriate lyrics "You said you would wait for me". She seemed to get lost in her dancing as much as she did her singing, fully devoting herself to their respective moments. Macomber used her microphone as a stand in for the dream she wanted to come true during "Silver", listlessly holding and grasping it as she sang.

young ejecta.jpgAnyone else putting on these dance moves would come off as too weird, but Macomber managed to make it look like a natural extension of her sound. Even the eventuated voguing and flexing fit along with her musical style perfectly. The crowd was eating it up too, giggling and dancing with Macomber as her antics grew more expressive. Her songs have an unforgiving bluntness to their lyrics that rarely pull back. "Welcome to Love" talks about a mismatched pairing where one person loves far too much and the other is ambivalent. Her voice flows along with the twinkling production so well, it's hard to believe anyone would be ambivalent to Macomber. She left the crowd with a smattering of kisses, thanking the incredibly receptive crowd.

20150425_223510(0).jpgWhile the number of members on stage for Young Ejecta was reduced to one, Shy Girls upped their band members considerably. Shy Girls is chiefly the project of Dan Vidmar, but his live setting often incorporates some amazing musicians to bring even more life to his minimalist sounds. Noah Bernstein added his god-like sax to the mix while Akila Fields and Ingmar Carlson framed the stage sitting in front of their keyboards, the later of whom also switched to some lovely guitar. In the middle of the whole affair stood Vidmar, surrounded by light shining from the floor and ceiling alike.

shygirls2.jpg"Renegade" seemed to be the first peak of the night. Within moments of the song's finish someone in the back let out a boisterous exclamation of "That was fire!" Everyone was certainly in agreement and from then on every song was bookended by high pitched cheers. "When I Say I Love U" went straight into "Second Heartbeat" which the crowd popped for even louder. There was no hiding it, Schubas was hot for Shy Girls and they wanted the band to know it. They could certainly tell and the band surged on it, especially during Bernstein's sax solo later on in the night. "You all are crazy" remarked Vidmar and he wasn't wrong.

shygirls.jpgIt's not difficult to see why the audience was so enamored with Shy Girls. There is a universal empathy of love, both bad and good, that Vidmar touches on with his R&B tinged songs. "Xhampagne" looks at toward the love gold diggers while "Synthesize Me" has desperation for affection no matter how false it may be. Vidmar empathizes this with a twist of Stevie Wonder's "Isnt She Lovely", turning the rhetorical question unto himself in hopeful aspirations. These songs were accentuated with Vidmar's intensity, transforming the quiet songs into new majestic expressions. His voice rang smoothly as he stretched up in slow and adoring gestures, reaching for something beyond his grasp.

Shy Girls.jpgThe crowd kept up their enthusiasm throughout the night and it paid off. Shy Girls' set was punctuated with one final song, a hauntingly beautiful cover of Brandy's "Sitting Up In My Room". It had slow tempered beginning that shined and completely differentiated it from the original. Vidmar's voice was as affecting as it was all night, carrying the pulsing beat until the big drop that engulfed the song. It was a prime example of the minimalistic nature of Shy Girls erupting with a maximalist sound, maintaining a subtlety and passion the manic live setting.

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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.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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