Saturday was a long day. Between the California Wives early set at the Apple Store, trying to sell our car and dealing with the geniuses over at AT&T, I was worn out by 7 p.m. By the time I got to Beat Kitchen my eyes were getting heavy, and my mind was telling my body that it was getting to be about that time.
Lucky for me, then, that the set got off to a blistering start. Geronimo! is a 3-piece group featuring one guitar (KJ Blaze), drums (Matt Schwerin) and a one-man band on his own banging keys, blowing trumpet, laying bass lines and singing lead and backup vocals at times (Ben Grigg).
They came on stage with enough energy to send Marty McFly back to 1985, and it didn’t let up until the final song had been played. They played hard, loud and fast, and really got the crowd going. The only thing I think was missed was the opportunity to wow the crowd with their rendition of “Another Night” by The Real McCoy. I mentioned it to them after the set, and was promised that next time they’ll make good on it.
Panda Riot played second, and provided a palette-cleansing set of moody dance-pop. Reminiscent of The xx or the most recent Beach House album, the band built a good bridge between the fast, hard rocking of Geronimo! and the psychedelia-infused rock of Secret Colours.
The headlining set by Secret Colours was again led by some high energy. The crowd quadrupled in size for the last set of the evening, and all were treated to a toe-tapping, head-nodding good time. I was lucky enough to be standing next to lead singer Tommy Evans’ father for the first part of the show, and he fed me some info about the band.
My favorite thing he told me was that Tommy loves the melodica. His father said it was a “Damon Albarn thing,” which I found both humorous and intriguing. If I had to pick someone that influenced Secret Colours, I don’t know that Albarn would be the first name that comes to mind.
The band ripped through some songs before announcing that this was the “OFFICIAL” record release party. They seemed excited onstage, but I don’t think any of them were as excited as Tommy’s dad. He was almost literally beaming with pride.
There were a couple treats that the band threw out for the audience. A new song, called “Follow the Drone.” Also, a cover of The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Both were very good, and the Beatles’ cover felt like something Secret Colours would have written themselves — were they a band 44 years ago.
In all, it was a good night. I left more tired than I was when I got there, but it was totally worth it. I do owe a special thanks to Jayson Kramer of California Wives, who showed up to check out Panda Riot. He was kind enough to chat with my wife and I for a while about all things music and Chipotle related. He also gave us a pair of earplugs so we could avoid early age hearing loss. Thanks, Jayson!
- Secret Colours, based in Chicago, is comprised of Tommy Evans (vocals/guitar), Dave Stach (guitar/vocals), Dylan Olson (bass), Justin Frederick (drums/percussion) and Margaret Albright (keys/vocals).
- Check out Eric Hughes’ review of Secret Colours’ new album here on Chicago Tunes.
- Purchase the self-titled album on the band’s official website for $10.
Secret Colours performing “Follow the Drone”