With summer in full gear, Silver Wrapper seemingly can do no wrong when it comes to booking shows at mid sized venues in Chicago. So far this summer, they have been bringing in music fans by the droves for intimate musical experiences at the Bottom Lounge, which seems to have become their new home base. This particular evening showcased the muscle of a Midwestern jam band, The Werks, and a local Jamtronica band, IndigoSun, that has been gaining a head of steam and shaking its musical feathers across the region, leaving in their wake amazed fans new and old alike.
Indigo brings with them a slew of instruments and talents, and uses versatile jam fusion talent to feather back and forth through beats. Kyle Liss uses his keyboard, sequencers, and synths like an architect to seemingly dream up smooth soundscapes while Steve Florian labors and pounds away at the drums, creating the frame for the structure that Mike Cantella’s bass guitar and Lucas Ellman’s tenor sax and EWI decorate down to the T. Their opening song “Cosmic Queen” displayed this in full effect. The atmosphere that their music created is almost indescribable. Ellman’s saxophone and EWI evoked happiness and movement, while Kyle’s synth, keyboard, and sequencer lines gave depth, direction, and layers of rhythm. Seeing Steve and Mike drive the backbone of the songs and break out in heavy bass and drum lines every once in a while kept the crowd cheering and dancing throughout their set.
You can tell these guys are just having fun up on stage the way they float in and out of songs, marking every show as unique with flow and originality. Tonight’s show was for me by far the best time I have heard them, but then again I’ve said that about the last 2 times I’ve seen them and fans that have been attending shows for a bit now can tell they have been progressing heavily with showmanship and improvisation over the past year. Indigo abruptly closed their set out with a very eclectic and dancy cover of Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You,” with the crowd entranced by every note creating a sea of bodies in movement and ultimately applause.
(Editor’s Note: I need to reinforce Adam’s opinion that this was the best he’d ever heard Indigo. I’ve been watching this band grow over the last couple of years and this show marked a true turning point: this was the best I’d ever heard Indigo as well. Much like their Chicago jamtronica counterparts The Coop, they seem to have broken through to a new level of polish & professionalism in their sound. I don’t think they’ve come close to their ceiling yet, but make no mistake about it, IndigoSun has fully blossomed.)
I wish I could say at this point that I was down to switch my ears to robot mode, but this was hardly the case. I can say that I have seen Elfkowitz many times before and enjoyed myself thoroughly through a set, but tonight was different; IndigoSun had psyched me up on instrumental live music so much that I couldn’t even sit through more than 2 songs. Elfkowitz does always bring with him a unique set of tracks that actually compliment and flow with music like Indigo, and I would suggest giving his self produced stuff a listen for its originality, but on this particular I just wasn’t having it. I ended up going in front of the venue and socializing with fans, gathering opinions on Indigo which for the most part seemed to match mine; almost everyone I had talked to raved about how well they sounded this evening, and I couldn’t get away from the fans that gloated about their summer camp performances. If your anything like me, your extremely jealous that you didn’t attend Summer Camp and are extremely elated at the prospect that something similar may go down at Whippersnap Music Festival, which by the way is right around the corner!
The Werks headlined the night, bringing with them mind melting guitar solos, funky bass and organ lines, and a drummer with amazing talent in percussion as well as vocals. I came into this show with some familiarity of The Werks studio and live recordings, and left blown away by their stage presence and musical prowess. The powerhouse quartet hailing from Ohio quickly set up and kickstarted the party with “For Today”, a song that tends to tip towards the funky side of the scale but includes very emotional piano breakdowns and uplifting shredding on the Guitar provided by Chris Houser. This track is one of my favorites by them because it showcases the vocal strength of the band with three quarters of the gentlemen belting out notes while simultaneously burning the house down instrumentally. They flexed some of their seemingly endless musical dexterity by dropping “Onslaught” as their next track, bringing a mean, powerful aura influenced heavily by low toned guitar and bass belting with break downs that feature organ lines and guitar work that seemed to tear the roof off the place.
With everyone in the crowd in their grasp, The Werks bluntly broke into a fun cover of Steve Miller’s “Fly Like an Eagle” with Rob Chafin laying down percussions and spot on vocals. Norman and Dino Dimitrouleas injected the song with funky Key and Bass guitar antics, with Norman completely breaking the song down with a synth solo. Chris Houser supplied funky strums and solidarity with back up vocals, making the performance of this song a very memorable one. Right afterwards, Indigo’s Ellman again got the opportunity to move the crowd and capitalized on a performance of “Fall.” Having a sax during that song elevated their set again, just at a time when you didn’t think it could get any higher. Again, the bar was raised with a performance of “2001 Space Odyssey” featuring The Macpodz’ Jesse Clayton on the Keys. This song did nothing but bring the energy level up, and has the potential when unleashed to turn any crowd into a feverish bouncing mass of human beings.
The Werks then attempted to break the crowd off easy with “Hard to Find,” but were thwarted when the bustling crowd expectedly broke out in cheers for an encore. We were treated with an amazing song choice, and needless to even say but everyone went crazy when they broke into “Psycho Killer.” With the night capped, everyone in attendance seemed to have a smile while spewing out the venues doors and on to Lake Street, and I did the same with the sense of satisfaction that only comes after a mind changing musical experience. Thanks to everyone in IndigoSun, The Werks, Silver Wrapper, and everyone in attendance for being a part of another amazing night full of live music and awesome friends. Cheers!