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Preview Mon Oct 12 2015

Local Band Sunjacket Shooting For The Bonnaroo Chance Of A Lifetime @ Lincoln Hall On 10/17 (Oh, and BRONCHO is playing too)

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Bonnaroo 2016 may be eight months away, but the Tennessee festival already has its eyes on filling the lineup with exceptional bands. This month, it's teaming up with Angry Orchard to put on a Spotlight Series featuring former Bonnaroo acts and local bands in five different cities. The Chicago show will take place at Lincoln Hall this Saturday night and feature BRONCHO, Twinsmith, and hometown heroes Sunjacket, who are competing for Battle of the Bands votes against the local entries from Philadelphia, Boston, Seattle, and Raleigh. The band with the most votes by November will get the opportunity to play down on the Farm next summer.

For Sunjacket, the chance to play Bonnaroo is secondary to the thrill of playing Lincoln Hall for the first time.

"We had talked to Matt Rucins, who does a lot of the booking at Lincoln Hall," said Garret Bodette, the band's drummer. "We had talked to him a couple of times about trying to play there because we love the venue so much and we're trying to build up and play bigger places...and then a couple weeks later he brought this show to us and we didn't really know much about the Bonnaroo thing at all, it was more just a chance to play Lincoln Hall."

Superfly, the concert promoter helping Bonnaroo and Angry Orchard put together the series, said that Sunjacket was chosen with the input of both Lincoln Hall and BRONCHO as an ideal opener. "Our teams tapped the music community in each city to find the local band we thought would fit our vibe and really rock the stage at Bonnaroo in 2016 if they were selected," the company stated.

Now that they find themselves in the midst of the nation-spanning battle of the bands, Sunjacket has to quickly shift some of its efforts into a vote-getting campaign. Up until the band landed the gig, they had been focused mostly on integrating their new bass player and recording their next album, due for an early 2016 release.

"We've been so heads down focused on this record," said Bodette. "We were three people writing parts for four or five people...I liken it to the way Radiohead recorded their album and then had to figure out how to play it live."

The band is shifting from the more edgy guitar-driven sound of their 2013 Demos to a sparser aesthetic that prominently features electronic drum pads and synths, and the Lincoln Hall show will serve as a testing ground for the new material. "We've got about a half hour set, so that'll be seven songs or so," said vocalist/guitarist Carl Hauck. "And it'll be all new."

It'll certainly be an exciting night for Sunjacket. Even if they don't get enough votes to win the Battle of the Bands--and they don't plan to aggressively market the competition, preferring to save their social capital for their album release--the show will be the biggest they've played and the first public performance of their fresh songs. It would be amazing for the city's music scene to see a large crowd come out and push Sunjacket to victory.

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Of course, BRONCHO will also be at the show, and that's reason enough to attend. The Oklahoma-based indie rockers have been touring incessantly over the past year in support of their 2014 LP Just Enough Hip To Be Woman, a slice of lo-fi heaven that features the infectious "Class Historian." Frontman Ryan Lindsey is excited to be returning to Chicago for the Bonnaroo Spotlight Series show.

"We've opened up for people at Lincoln Hall, I think we've played like three shows there," he said. "So yeah, it's a big deal for us to go there and play our show as opposed to somebody else's."

It's a step up for a band that takes the punk attitude of The Ramones or The Stooges and adds a touch of teenage blitheness. Lindsey thinks that BRONCHO makes a lot of sense in smaller venues like Schubas, which they've played before, but with the success of Just Enough Hip To Be Woman--the very success that landed them at Bonnaroo this past summer and thus opened up the opportunity to headline Lincoln Hall on Saturday--BRONCHO's days playing in the back rooms of bars are probably over. They'll be headed off on another tour in November and the Spotlight Series, a one-off show that they'll be prefacing with a couple stops in between Oklahoma and Chicago, will get the band back into live performance mode. "We just were off for like a month and a half, and it's always kind of nice to get back in and remember songs," said Lindsey. "In some ways I think that we could probably show up and not even rehearse because we've played so much over the last year."

"But I think maybe we'll rehearse."

If you want to see BRONCHO and Twinsmith and support Sunjacket in its bid to play Bonnaroo 2016, you can buy tickets to the show here and vote for Sunjacket here.

 
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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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