Posted by: Elise McGannon
I don’t use the word “silly” often – but it’s the perfect adjective to describe L.A. based singer/songwriter Michael Collins, aka Drugdealer, and I use “silly” as a compliment. Collins’s fun and personable attitude on stage at their Chicago show this late July added another layer of joy on top of the already jaunty feel of the groups performance.
“Raw Honey,” Drugdealer’s latest album, came out a few months ago and I haven’t stopped playing it since – or I should more accurately say haven’t stopped dancing to it yet. From guitar to piano to trombone to drums to bass, this band has a wide array of textures so easily enjoyable one cannot help but do a dance when listening.
One of my favorite albums from 2019 so far, “Raw Honey” has another appearance from Weyes Blood (Natalie Mering) on the track “Honey.” Mering was featured on two tracks in Drugdealer’s debut album “The End of Comedy.” Her unmistakable and effortless voice is hard to replicate, but the group’s lead singer during this Chicago show did a bang-up job, hitting every note with impeccable pitch.
They started off the night with the track “Lonely,” which featured Harley and the Hummingbirds on the album. This is my favorite song off the new album, right next to “Fools,” and I was so happy to hear the tune being played right off the bat.
One would be hard pressed to find a Drugdealer review or write up that doesn’t reference the 1970’s and I completely understand why, especially after seeing them live. My friend and past WLUW Music Director, Carolyn, joked that maybe the group had a requirement of “dirty hair” in order to be in the band – each of the seven musicians had longer hair on the grimier side (grimy, but make it fashion). This look works perfectly along with the 1970’s leaning style of engineer hats, denim, and dramatically collared shirts that the band sported. I was reminded of Mick Fleetwood’s style or perhaps Jimmy Page.
Collins encouraged the crowd to dance more than a handful of times throughout the night and we happily complied. The upbeat energy Drugdealer gives off as a whole paired with the organically happy and groovy sounding music created the perfect atmosphere to boogie in. Because Drugdealer doesn’t tour often, I highly encourage taking advantage of when he does – you don’t want to miss out on such a funky show.