Four local bands teamed up on Saturday night for something extraordinary: a night of diverse acts, for free, on a bitterly cold night. Â From the delicate folk tinged songs of Venna to the blistering rock of Picture Books, there was something for everyone at Metro on Saturday. Â And even if the music wasn’t to your liking, well, who wanted to go back out into that horrible cold? Â Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Crayolala started the night out on the right foot with their exuberant brand of power pop. Â I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when the group of very young looking men took the stage — for a moment, I was expecting a sort of punk/screamo thing, which, if that’s your deal, more power to you, but it doesn’t do it for me — but I was pleasantly surprised. Â Each band seemed to have brought its own crowd for the event, and Crayolala certainly had some exuberant fans. Â There were girls skanking in the front, no joke, and there was a mini-pit going on (only it was the happiest, bounciest pit I’ve ever seen). Â I felt like it was 1999 all over again. Â I mean that in a good way, I promise. Â Crayolala can next be seen on Tuesday, January 19th, at Ronny’s (2101 N California).
Venna was up next, and they brought an entirely different mood and feel to the evening. Â Where Crayolala’s set riled everyone up, Venna kicked the volume down a couple of notches. Â Chill out, the music said, and that’s just what we did. Â Well, that’s what some of us did; there were a lot of noisy drunk people in the crowd. Â At times it was difficult to hear vocalist Heather Hladish — who reminded me of Zoe Deschanel, both in looks and sound — over the chatty crowd, who would have heard something beautiful if they would have just stopped to listen. Â Their closing song, which started with the simple, unaccompanied line of “be thou my vision,” was beautiful. Â Venna will be taking a break from doing shows for a little while to focus on other projects.
Picture Books took the stage next, after an introduction that was an homage to Thax Douglas, Chicago’s indie rock poet. Â Unfortunately, I think the Thax reference went over the heads of a whole lot of people, because a lot of people just looked confused. Â Picture Books started out with some energetic rock music and didn’t let the energy drop for their entire set. Â The keyboard player looked like he was having the time of his life during the set, which is something that I always enjoy seeing. Â These are all bands who are playing for the sheer joy of it, and that shows in their performance. Â Picture Books will be taking a break from doing shows in order to record their first full length album.
Headliner Kid, You’ll Move Mountains closed out the show. Â Their album Loomings has been getting a lot of attention, including positive reviews from the Chicago Sun-Times’ Jim DeRogatis, being named one of Metromix’s top albums, performances on WGN, and more. Â Loomings has a sort of summery pop-rock feel, and there are some songs which reach back to a ’60s pop sort of sound. Â But don’t let the album fool you; this band knows how to rock. Â And the drummer not only played a maraca (yes, just one) at one point, but he used it as a drumstick, earning the “Most Creative Use of a Maraca” award from me. Â The band played most of the songs off of Loomings, but also tossed in at least one new song, so it’s a pretty safe bet that Kid, You’ll Move Mountains won’t be dropping off of anyone’s music radar screen anytime soon. Â Catch the band on February 5th at Lincoln Hall (2424 N. Lincoln), opening for Â Bishop Allen.
Check out my photos from the showÂ over on Flickr.