Swizzle Steve Presents
The Outfit, Bobcat Williams, The Bishop
1572 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL, 60622
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 8:30 PM
This event is 21 and over
"Where's my crowd? / I wanna win," muses vocalist Peter Jennings on The Western's consistently-evolving "Reminders," and even if he's not singing about the state of his own act in Chicago's bustling indie scene, they certainly deserve a notch in the W column. Here is a six-piece band with inherent focus on songwriting, texture and dynamics (not flash, filler or volume) that could truly blow up, yet their previous release - last year's The Damp Times full-length - seemed to have gotten lost in the shuffle amongst other local output. But no matter, because The Western is all the better for it: Their current material is far more intricate and groove-based in comparison to the aforementioned discography.
The Western's story begins in Ohio, with members Karl Blomberg (keyboards), Ben Larson (guitars/vocals) and guitarist/songwriter Tim Butler meeting and forming the band Saint T on Miami University's campus. The trio relocated to Chicago and added Jennings on vocals and Andy Bryant on bass, playing their first show as The Western in March of 2010. Current drummer Doug Gallow joined the band earlier this year, and Larson looks to that as a catalyst for the group's new direction. "Since Doug joined the band, we have seen significant changes in our style," he notes.
Setting The Western apart from many area bands is the fact that Butler, and not lead vocalist Jennings, is the main songwriter. "The lyrical content is a very personal, narrative style," explains Larson. "Basically, Tim is putting his life on paper. He normally brings the outline of a song to the band, with lyrics, and we fill out all the music. It is a very collaborative process once he presents the song."
The Western's overall sound is a stellar, multi-layered mix of echo-heavy guitars and vocals that set a mood of enchanting detachment. "Reminders" sashays around your headphones on a delicately-restrained surf beat, laying low one minute and expanding canyon-wide the next. "Captain" opens with a cavalcade of effects, eventually presenting a brilliantly simple chorus, and addressing the protagonist's issues balancing emotions with communication ("I know I ask a lot / But still, here you are / If I'm miserable / Why are you still hanging on?"). These are a pair of world-weary, but powerful singles in the vein of Interpol, The National or Sharon Van Etten that need no additional production or mixing to become huge via popular music blogs.
"We are extremely focused on our sound and where it is moving, how the songs fit together, and how each song contributes to our overall sound," says Larson. "Our writing process is very meticulous, and everything we present in a live setting or recording has been dissected (and) reworked multiple times until we find what we want. After almost three years of playing, I think we are just now embodying our sound."
In early 2012, four musicians got together on the North Side of Chicago with a purpose of creating something new out of their collective inspiration and skill. With a spectrum of influences ranging from soul-stroking Blues and Jazz, to the screaming, in-your-face Rock ‘n’ Roll, The Outfit is an audio-visual escort service that you’ll call again and again to treat your ears right.
Lesleigh Arratia, a classical pianist from L.A. with blindingly fast fingers, has a voice like a diamond locomotive—unbelievable power that flows like a silk waterfall. She shares the microphone with Brian Weinert, a never-satisfied Blues guitarist with a soulful voice who honed his skills on the banks of the Mississippi. Albert Amey, a Chicago native with a demonic flair for four strings, backs up the melody with stampeding, bass lines that dig down to that part of your gut reserved for only the dirtiest Rock ‘n’ Roll. Michael Tassone, also a Chicago native with the stamina of a team of horses, shows no mercy on the drum kit. He artfully keeps the beat driving forward between precisely timed, thunderous fills.
The Outfit owes its driving sound to the legends who inspired millions. From Muddy Waters to Jack White; from Etta James to Grace Potter; from Hendrix to…well, Jimi stands alone. The Outfit performs all over the Chicago area, and has been privileged to play such venues as METRO, Lincoln Hall, Schubas, The Cubby Bear, The Abbey Pub, and Goose Island, and has upcoming shows at Double Door and the House of Blues. The group has also set out to release their debut album in 2013.
Bobcat Williams is only a myth of a man that may or may not have lived. His story is translated by a team of anthropologists, scientists, and electric engineers with hopes that someday the world can hear the message of the man, the myth, the mystery. When a tree falls in the forest, Bobcat Williams heard it--and that's what he is trying to tell you.
The Bishop was formed in 2009. The almost immediate synergy amongst the members spawned an outpouring of creative energy that resulted in the release of their debut self titled CD in 2010.
The Bishop's lineup is as talented as it is inspired. They are anchored by principal song writer / lead singer / lead guitarist Bill Giricz, who is the driving force musically in this powerful band. The soulful voice and multi-instrumental excellence of Paulette Bertrand gives The Bishop an added unexpected dimension. Dan Passarelli's rock and roll soul provides The Bishop a lethal jagged edge. Chicago rock veteran, Luke Smith, drives a solid, hard charging sound. Darin Gregg provides unique song writing depth and energy that is the lifeblood of this band.
The Bishop's influences are many and varied and are reflected in some of the cover material they choose; Radiohead, Rolling Stones, Weezer, The Black Keys, Sublime, David Bowie, Wilco, Red Hot Chili Peppers, No Doubt, The Darkness and Tom Petty, to name a few.