Thursday night brought an incredible act to Chicago's The Empty Bottle, Brooklyn's Tanlines, a group that I have been incredibly excited about for the past 18 months. Fresh off the release of their first full length album, Mixed Emotions, it'd be an understatement for me to admit that I was incredibly excited about this show.
It should also be noted that The Empty Bottle is quite an amazing venue. Part dive bar, serving the best (and incredibly well-priced) libations, the small, triangular stage raised about 2 feet off the ground, the crowd packed in early for the sold-out show.
Tanlines surprisingly opened with a slower and more mellow version of "Rain Delay," one of my favorite tracks off their new album. The crowd became anxious when the first single, "Brothers" began next, and it was clear the mainly young, well-kept audience members were ready to get down. Once the more upbeat tracks began, the crowd erupted. "Yes Way" started and even I became incredibly eager and excited. It was evident that my dance moves were going to need to be showcased that evening.
The best part about a lot of the band's set was just how uncanny and unique they sounded live. I'm always somewhat weary when watching a group that's work is primarily electronic and (for lack of a better word) produced. The vocals were somewhat quiet, but it's difficult for me to blame the band for that (even the openers, Rewards, sounded a little muffled most of the time). But on tracks like "Yes Way" and "Not the Same," where Eric Emm sings with a little more of Morrissey-esque vocal tones, the band sounded impeccable.
Oh, and let me not forget that Jesse Cohen, the bands' drummer, gave a quick shout out to Chicago, saying that it was one of his favorite cities in the US, topped only by Madison, WI, where Cohen attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I made sure to voice my opinion on the fine city from which I used to call my home.
The highlights of the set were harnessed in tracks "Real Life" and "All of Me." "Real Life" was featured on their EP, Settings, as well as Mixed Emotions, and features the best mixture of Tanlines' strengths: fabulously upbeat drums (snare, tom, and bongos) were played so crisp by Jesse Cohen, and equally enjoyable vocal parts and lyrics, including a chorus of "Mass Aloha." And don't even get me started on "All of Me," one of my favorite tracks of 2012, was matched in a live atmosphere by a rousing crowd, dance club-like ambiance, and the mood of the crowd was equally matched by the duo.
All in all, I must consider myself lucky to have attended this show. The Empty Bottle has a listed capacity of 166, an incredibly intimate atmosphere for a band that is destined to blow up soon. Ultimately, as my night wore down, and my ride back to Milwaukee came to an end, I came to the decision that this was the most fun I've had at a show all year, and I can not wait to experience my next Tanlines show. ;(
Below are the rest of the dates on Tanlines' North American Tour:
4/20: Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
4/23: Vancouver, Canada - Fortune Sound Club
4/24: Seattle, WA - Barboza
4/25: Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge
4/27: San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop
4/30: Los Angeles, CA - Echo