Category Archives: Concert Reviews

Acoustic Folk! Ballroom Thieves opening for Phillip Phillips at House of Blues Chicago (April 6, 2018)

The Ballroom Thieves have a cool indie rock vibe that gives off a Portland, Oregon vibe. However, they call Boston their home. They perform as a trio with Devin Mauch on drums, Martin Earley on guitar, and Calin Peters on cello / bass.

“When my husband left me, he fled in the dead of night” they sing on Blood Run Red.

They close with “Anybody Else” which includes a giant singalong,  “Oooh, I never wanted anybody else!” It’s a beautiful piece of acoustic folk.

See their PlaylistHQ page here.

Quinn Delaney

Also, Phillip Phillips rocked. See our past review of him here.


Hilarious! Spring Fling at Second City (April 3, 2018)

A woman is slumped over a couple of chairs, clearly wasted. She yells, “College! Woohoo!” The man looks embarrassed. “Mom, I think it’s time for you to leave.” The crowd erupts in laughter. She goes on to say that she wants to be his Wingmom. “That’s not a thing!” he says. “Sure it is”, she says. “I got the number of that cute girl at the party and put it up on the dry erase board!” This is a great opening sketch that sets the tone for a very funny show.

Later on, a couple is dancing up on each other. The woman is getting low and twerking. The man is right up on her throwing his arms around. Then the announcer says, “Ladies and Gentlemen, the father of the bride!” Again, it’s the surprise reveal that a character is the parent, and it works so well in this short blackout sketch.


The parent/child theme continues with an improv scene. A guy is playing a high school kid who asks his father if he should do drugs. The audience member, aka, his dad, says no. But then later, admits that he did drugs, “just the one time”. The kid then asks why he divorced mom. After thinking for a while, the man quietly replies, “because she was a bitch”. Everyone is cracking up, including the performer. He then slowly goes over to another audience member and says, “Hi Mom.” She looks very embarrassed. After a short pause, he continues, “Why did you divorce Dad?” After a while, she finally blurts out, “Because he is a woman!” With hilarious responses like this, improv is easy. He can let the audience members be the center of attention and he does just this with style.

This performance shows why the Second City is famous across the nation for comedy. Get tickets now for Spring Fling on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Up Comedy Club!

Quinn Delaney

Electronic Soul! Son Lux at Lincoln Hall (March 29, 2018)

Son Lux is the creation of composer, Ryan Lott. He plays the keys along with Rafig Bhatia on guitar and Ian Chang on drums. However, their music sounds much larger than just a trio. It creates a deep atmosphere on top of which they layer melodies and vocals into a very full sound. One of the highlights is a song called “You Don’t Know Me”. The crowd sways along to the beat and some people join in singing the poetic lyrics, “You drank your wine from my heart.”

Before the last song, Ryan invites Juan and Ally onto the stage (at 1:22:22 in the video). They are a very young couple, probably about 20 years old. He nervously proposes and she awkward accepts. Ryan congratulates them and then launches into their last song, “Lost It To Trying”. It’s a rocking song that they extend with a long jam, complete with slow and fast moments. The entire crowd soaks it in happily and leaves with smiles of their faces.

The performance is currently available on YouTube courtesy of AudioTree.

Quinn Delaney

A Spectacle! Justin Timberlake at the United Center (March 27, 2018)

A Justin Timberlake concert is quite a spectacle. To start, there are three stages across the United Center floor. First, there is a large main stage at one end where his full band sets up. The two other stages are connected by a winding walkway. One of them is a small circular stage directly in the center. The other one is a medium size platform at the other end of the floor. Throughout the show, Justin is moving between all these stages utilizing the space like a true showman.

Towards the end of the show, a gas powered fire pit is raised onto the medium stage. Justin grabs a guitar and sits and plays while other performers sing covers such as “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac and “Come Together” by The Beatles. It’s an interesting idea, but the choice of these random cover songs is bizarre. Acoustic versions of Timberlake songs or even N’Sync songs would have been better.

“Say Something”, which features Chris Stapleton on the album, was a highlight of the night. It featured Timberlake on guitar and the whole crowd singing along. “Rock Your Body” also got the crowd up and dancing. “I’m gonna have you naked by the end of this song” was repeated multiple times at the end of the song, as it should be. It’s a great line.

See the full setlist here.


Great! Dear Boy opening for Rogue Wave at Lincoln Hall (March 22, 2018)

Random Thoughts and Facts about Dear Boy

They are self-described as bitter-sweet alternative rock.

They are from Los Angeles, which is far warmer than Chicago on this winter night.

This is their first time in Chicago and they are off to a great start.

They are reminiscent of The Cure, which is excellent company to be in.

The lead singer has to constantly push his hair off his face.

Their performance has a few great solos that really showcase their musical talent!



Soft Rock! The Weather Station opening for Bahamas at the Metro (March 10, 2018)

The Weather Station are from Toronto, just like the headliner tonight, Bahamas. The lead singer, Tamara Lindeman, asks the crowd, “Are you ready for a slow one?” At first, it seems like a joke, since most of the songs so far have been slow. However, the next song is extra slow as they drag out the notes. When music is at this pace, each note counts, and the band sure does use each note wisely. Their soft rock / folk sound is reminiscent of Aimee Mann. Lindeman also resembles her a touch in appearance and this is good company to be in. This young band is off to great start!

And of course, Bahamas killed it again. See our past reviews of them here.

Quinn Delaney

Excellent! Mat Kearney at Riviera Theatre (March 10, 2018)

Mat Kearney has been coming to Chicago often since he released Nothing Left to Lose in 2006. He started at Schubas and has since played at the Metro and at the Chicago Theatre. He says playing a packed Raviera Theatre for the first time is enough to make him die happy. He has built his fan base solidly through all this touring and by releasing a solid stream of albums.

A highlight of the night is when he plays “Heartbeat” from the 2015 album, Just Kids. It’s a great dance and pop tune that makes for a joyous live performance. Kearney is all smiles and he runs around the stage. Also, in a tribute to Tom Petty, they play a bit of “Free Fallin’” in a cool slowed down version that becomes a big sing along.

For “Where We Gonna Go from Here”, it’s just Mat on acoustic guitar. It’s great when a band can switch gears like this. To have slow parts and fast parts really creates a full show. At the end of the encore, he closed with “Nothing Left to Lose” from 2006 and it sounds just as fresh as it did 12 years ago!

Quinn Delaney