By Theresa Pham
I had the lucky opportunity to see Los Angeles indie band Youngblood Hawke a bit over a year ago at a local radio station's holiday show, but nothing prepared me for their headlining show at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago with Caught a Ghost. Make sure to keep reading for my thoughts on the evening and pictures of the concert!
When it comes to the Chicago music scene, I am proud to say we have some of the best and most interesting venues in the United States. WIth that in mind, I do prefer some over others. The Bottom Lounge has a special place in my heart as home to not only my first venue interview, but also my first concert with a friend. This was the first non-classical music event where we did not have any parental guidance and golly did I feel cool. Plus, they have some of the best all-ages shows in the city! Youngblood Hawke's Pressure Tour was no different.
First up on the lineup was Caught a Ghost! The electric-soul outfit brings a fresh perspective on music from bygone eras. From Motown to Doo-Wop and even Gospel, Caught a Ghost covers the entire spectrum of genres and will have you catching the ghost, or as my old choir director use to say "felt the holy-spirit", by the end of their set. Caught a Ghost was funny, engaging, and oh-so talented. The audience was also blessed by a surprise visit by lead singer Jesse Nolan's father who is credited for exposing him to the various genres the band draws from. What seperates Caught a Ghost from every other neo-soul contemporary is their incorporation and not revival of Motown. The band has their own intricate aestethic. All their songs include hypontically addictive, electronic inspired melodies crafted around a Motown sound we are all familiar with. This juxaposition of old and new will make your knees wobble and hips shake. I should also mention they had a horn section! I am a complete sucker for horn sections at concerts.
I have had their debut album Human Nature on repeat since the show and even got a polite late night call from my neighbor to please keep it down. I will be at their next Chicago show and hope I don't have to wait too long for that to happen!
Finally up on the lineup was Youngblood Hawke (YBH)! YBH's upbeat and optimistic pop tunes are some of my favorites especially when I am having a stressful day.The moment the lights went out, the crowd went wild. YBH's set was bursting with energy and the lighting effects with the drums were pure visual perfection. I don't like saying never, but I honestly do not think I have ever seen a lead singer who worked the stage like Sam Martin did. Martin did not let the limited space constrain his artistic expression. The band cranked through their set and made sure to give each member the opportunity to shine, from bandmate Alice Katz's strong vocals in “Dreams” and “Live and Die”, to drummer Nik Hughes' grounding beats. What makes YBH such a pleasure to see live is each band member's versatility. Each member seemed to be some sort of multi-instrumentalist and were are constantly switching between various pairing of parts flawlessly. Their ferocious set did take a surprsing;y romantic turn when the band played "Forever". It was such a sweet moment that I hope all the couples in the room appreciated as much as I did alone. The band closer was their hit song "We Coming Running" with all six members pounding drums and cymbals in unison. It was so mesmorizing and powerful that when the band members left the stage, I was left staring in awe at the trail of sweat they left on the stage.
Youngblood Hawke's set was perfect for a fun-filled Saturday night out with a friend. They jump on Panic! at the Disco's The Gospel Tour (that I absolutely loved) starting next week. The things I would do to see that tour again... If you're one of the lucky few with a stop coming up, get your tickets now! I promise you will not regret it!
Youngblood Hawke's Dates on The Gospel Tour
8/12 - Cincinnati, OH @ PNC Pavilion at Riverbend Music Center - http://bit.ly/1dqGQHO
8/13 - Charlotte, NC @ The Uptown Amphitheatre at The Music Factory^ - http://bit.ly/1hLQzQv
8/15 - Boca Raton, FL @ Mizner Park Amphitheatre - http://bit.ly/MVLnvB
8/16 - St. Augustine, FL @ St. Augustine Amphitheatre - http://bit.ly/1mtcfPK
8/17 - Atlanta, GA @ Chastain Park Amphitheatre - http://bit.ly/1bGVcbT
8/19 - The Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion - http://bit.ly/1ecmgPt
8/20 - Austin, TX @ The Moody Theater - http://ticketf.ly/1ewT3z0
8/22 - Dallas, TX @ South Side Ballroom - http://bit.ly/MVLB5V
8/23 - Oklahoma City, OK @ Zoo Amphitheatre - http://bit.ly/1c2l6ag
8/26 - Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theatre - http://bit.ly/Q8vyU4
8/27 - San Diego, CA @ SDSU Open Air Theatre - http://bit.ly/1fnQfWj
8/28 - San Jose, CA @ San Jose State Event Center - http://bit.ly/1mDFLG7
8/30 - Seattle, WA @ Bumbershoot - http://bumbershoot.org/
8/31 - Portland, OR @ Edgefield - http://bit.ly/1itRPYU