Ok...to start, let’s list out the bands that played night #15 of the Red Bull Sound Select #30DaysinChicago:
Built to Spill
At the legendary EMPTY BOTTLE
The night started very relaxing, as people were being turned down at the door for the sold out show, and attendees entering the venue to receiving Red Bull gifts, grabbing a drink, and hanging out as Good Willsmith took the stage first. The local ambient garage rock trio took the stage, and felt very humble to be there, as they were saying that they “have been coming to the Empty Bottle since they were 21, and even tried to sneak in before” they were of age. Thanking the crowd numerous times, Good Willsmith warmed up the crowd on a chilly Wednesday night in Chicago.
Up next, local punk trio Meat Wave. You’ve probably heard them on the station, as they have had a good amount of airplay through their albums Delusion Moon (2015) and Incessant (2017), as they have been on rotation surrounding their releases. Upon taking the stage, the band set forth the attitude that “ok, so we need to burn through our set, so we can get to the next bands”. And that’s basically all they did. They ripped through their heavy punk sound, wooing fans, but also being a good pump-up for the follow acts.
Following, we had the last-minute surprise act: Built to Spill. I, and probably like many others, was surprised to see Built to Spill added to this lineup, especially after the show had been sold out for quite some time. It’s been about two months since they played in Chicago at Riot Fest, where they featured their album “Keep it Like a Secret”, and played an aftershow with Dinosaur Jr. Having said that, I was hoping they weren’t going to play much of that record, and that’s exactly what they did. Built to Spill took the stage as a 3-piece, and put out a surprisingly full, balanced (and loud) sound. They played a good variety of songs from their large catalog such as “Big Dipper (There’s Nothing Wrong With Love, 1994)”, “Living Zoo (Untethered Moon, 2015)”, and a rarity: “Randy Described Eternity (Perfect from Now On, 1997)”. Seeing Built to Spill at the Empty Bottle was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
And time for the post-punk headliner: Parquet Courts. Having just released a collaborative album “MILANO” with the works of Italian composer Daniele Luppi and Karen O, and A. Savage’s debut solo record just released not too long ago, this quartet has been awfully busy as of late. However, for this show, they kept the set to their prior releases. They came out with a handful of tracks from their Grammy Award winning 2015 release “Human Performance” such as “Dust”, “Human Performance”, and “Paraphrased”. What took me by surprise was that there wasn’t a mosh pit for the first half of their performance. Which was odd as the last time I saw Parquet Courts (2015 at the Metro), the crowd got rowdy quick. But once it started, it didn’t end as the electricity and excitement from the crowd translated into the band’s performance. It isn’t a Parquet Courts performance without their blunt stage banter. A Savage commented that “Red Bull is bad for you to drink”, however, they did complement on Red Bull for putting together this festival, and specifically the lineup for the show they were playing. They were trying to be health conscious, and deliver some of the health questions that arise from drinking a lot of energy drinks, but thankful for the opportunity that Red Bull presented to them, the other bands, and the attendees.
As previously mentioned, this was a once-in-a-lifetime show, and I will never be able to experience a show like this one again. Great bands, great intimate venue, and one amazing festival. Stay tuned for more coverage from the rest of the #30DaysinChicago!!