9PM // $15 // 21+
WIDOWSPEAK remain purveyors of mood. Whether painting an image of a basement apartment with blinds closed or conjuring the sweeping openness of a desert, they're an outfit ever preoccupied with the influence of place and the passage of time on personal experience: The way vivid memories can feel like movies or dreams. On their newest album for Brooklyn's Captured Tracks, the group uses familiar aesthetics as a narrative device, a purposeful nostalgic backdrop for songs that ask, «How did we get here?» Sonically, they exist somewhere in the overlap between somber indie rock, dream pop, slow-core and their own invented genre, «cowboy grunge.» At the heart of the band, there is a palpable duality, a push and pull between the delicate and the deliberate: the contrast of lead singer-songwriter Molly Hamilton's strikingly beautiful voice and poignant melodies with the terrestrial reality of being a four-piece rock band. These songs sound like the dark bars and rock clubs they were imagined for just as much as the bedrooms where they were written. Expect the Best sees WIDOWSPEAK finding their greatest balance between opposing forces: darkness and light, quiet and loud, tension and calm.
We're always happy to have CLEARANCE's niche take on throwback, indie-rock with a lo-fi vibe on the EB stage. Last time we caught them they were opening up to a sold-out ALVVAYS Lollapalooza after-party show. The group released its debut LP Rapid Rewards in September 2015 via Tall Pat Records and Unsatisfied Records. Are You Aware — another 7" released on Tall Pat — followed in 2016. Taking equal cues from the Flying Nun school of arty guitar pop, classic British post-punk and otherwise VELVETS-indebted rock, the band mixes eras and styles with ease, resulting in a tightly focused but coolly off-the-cuff sound that appeals to rock nerds of all stripes and sizes.
Returning to our stage is Chicago's own LUKE HENRY & HUNNYBEAR. Former Empty Bottle intern (!!) LUKE HENRY credits NEIL YOUNG for saving his soul in the 7th grade. Quite the dude to have rescue you, so you gotta hit him back somehow (right?) and these boys go the extra mile with their heartfelt, American folk rock. Their sound is reminiscent of the golden age with a self-aware, modern touch.