The Billiken Club’s first-ever Bene-fest kicked off last night to an amazing start. Despite it being a rainy Thursday night, many people came out to hear Ohtis, Anathallo and Aloha and to support The Urban Studio. It was a great day for our blog, as well! We had our own table and banner and err’thang. Tons of people drew up Tupac sketches, check back for those later! Anyways, the show:
Normal, IL’s Ohtis were the first band to hit the stage. They had a very folky sound, rounded out with Americana-esque vocals and arrangements. You could tell the boys in Ohtis were quite young and downright excited to be playing a show with Anathallo and Aloha. Striking comparisons to Grizzly Bear and Band Of Horses, the guys had good stage-presence and successfully warmed up the crowd for the other two bands. Highlights of their set included a Daniel Johnston cover and the lead singer’s bandanna-print shirt. CRAZY.
Anathallo’s intricate and thought-out set was received warmly by the Billiken Club crowd. The band’s familiarity and inclusiveness made the audience feel welcome and made you want to clap and sing along.
With comparisons to Dirty Projectors and headliners Aloha, Chicago-based Anathallo utilized quirky percussion and vocal techniques to produce a meddled but resonating sound throughout the club. The audience loved them, and they loved us back. Their set was very celebratory, full of clapping, chanting, stomping, and shouting both on and off stage. They played a new song about a trip to Guatemala from their new album, Canopy Glow, expected to be released whenever “someone with a large sum of money wants to give that money to us”, according to lead-singer Matt Joynt.
By the time Aloha took the stage, most of the audience had left (wtf?). They were trippin’. Anyways, despite that minor set-back and a hospital visit for an eye-infection, the band gave it their all and showed those who remained in the crowd that they were true musicians. Drummer Cale Parks pounded out complex rythyms while T.J. Lipple’s skills on marimba and piano really shined. Although we didn’t really hear much from their latest EP, Light Works (which is fine, because I’m still on the fence about it) they played rousing renditions of “Let Your Head Hang Low”, “All The Wars”, “You Escaped”, “Brace Your Face”, and many more. Having seen Aloha a few times before, there wasn’t much variation from past performances but I don’t mind at all. They are always entertaining and are excellent at what they do.
Two more days of fun! The Billiken Club Bene-fest carries on tonight with The Bureau, Riddle Of Steel, and School Of Language (kick-ass Field Music side-project).
Saturday is the last day of the Bene-fest, with Target Market, the 1900s, and British Sea Power!
All ages, FREE, open to the public! Doors at 8, show at 9.