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Review Mon May 25 2015

Torres Hit Her Stride at Empty Bottle

20150521_232948(0).jpgBefore this concert, I have missed every Torres show she's had in Chicago. Various goings on and last minute changes prevented me from seeing Mackenzie Scott perform songs off her first album and I was always devastated. Scott's lyrics and guitar work is incredibly affecting and instantly hypnotic. i could only imagine how great she would be live. Then she released "Sprinter" and my mind was made up. I needed to see her perform these new more elaborate songs. After seeing her this past week, I severely regret having missed those previous shows. Scott had a performance that every rock singer should aspire to put on at the Empty Bottle. It was a raw and powerful show that resolidified Scott as an amazing musician.

The night started off with Landmarks followed by Aero Flynn, the project of Josh Scott. Both band have strong Chicago connection and they came out with some impressive sets. I had seen Landmarks in the past and they get better every time. Their time on stage set the tone for the night with some great ambient soundscapes that instantly remind me of Deerhunter. Their sound has a pensive psychedelic quality to them that permeates through their songs, tying them together cohesively. This was carried on by Scott of Aero Flynn. His music comes off like a wonderfully hazy dream floating on rapid synths and Scott's whispering vocals. "Dk/Pi" is probably the best example of his sound, combining the quick and high noted tones with Scott nearly murmuring his lyrics. At times throughout his set, the band's songs sounded like lost Radiohead songs, finally recovered and brought to life with ghostly embrace. Both bands were a great fit to open up the night

Before Torres came out, a continuously rising chords became a sort of warning to the crowd. It foretold the coming of Mackenzie Scott and her band, droning on in such a way that it felt like a wordless mantra in preparation for a meditative state. Such was the case as they emerged, with Scott waving around a small bundle of burning sage. It was an interesting and surprisingly compelling moment of ritual that bled into the opening song "Son You Are No Island". Every sound coming from the band felt larger and larger as the song progressed. The song already has an ethereal tone to it, but Scott and her band elevated it to a post-rock cacophony of guitars and drums that expanded over the Empty Bottle.

Torres' performance was probably my favorite I've seen this year. Scott has a mysterious aura around her that is heightened by her lack of banter and her painfully emotive gestures. When she sings it looks like a catharsis, empting out her inner demons with these moments of soft spoken beauty. Songs like the opener and "A Proper Polish Welcome" carry a reluctant heaviness that could feel.

As often as she looked emotionally strained while singing, Scott also let everything out with some loud and particularly vicious screaming. It was a sight and sound to behold as Scott would wail with all her might and bellow out her powerful lyrics. Despite the more mellow moments, these instances of explosion fit in perfectly. Her long singing notes on the chorus of "Sprinter" felt like a much needed release. Her screams reached an unparalleled high during "Strange Hellos" where her first screech caused a few people to jump. After that point in the songs her yells became so guttural that they bordering on pure punk obscene, which is exactly was the song called for and deserved.

What for the longest time seemed to be her last song, "November Baby", the whole Torres team were at a magnificent peak. It was an amalgamation of all of Scott's emotions, blending the quieter moments with the fuller rocking ones. She smiled leaned out to the crowd as she vigorously strummed he guitar, looking elated in the crowd's response.

After what the seemingly unending clamoring for more from the awaiting audience, Torres returned to the stage for one final song. She presented "Ferris Wheel", allowing her tender songwriting to capture what remained of the crowd. She sang softly and let the words of the somber tale ridden with loneliness and absent love leave an undeniable mark on those left to hear it. It was a beautiful end cap to her performance, truly showing how versatile Torres can be.

 
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ARGO_SUPREME / May 29, 2015 9:05 AM

Yes.

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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 »

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