Zilched Serves Up Signature Grungey Doompop, Live on Audiotree

By: Jess Dominguez

While live shows have been on hold for almost a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many artists have adapted to the new climate by  performing live shows online. Local Chicago organization, Audiotree, has been featuring musicians through live sessions and allowing viewers to watch from the comfort of their own home. On Jan. 19, Audiotree streamed a live performance with the Detroit rock band, Zilched. The artist behind the name, Chlöe Drallos, performed a mini set featuring six tracks off her latest album, DOOMPOP. Drallos was  accompanied on stage by  Ally Evenson on backup vocals and guitar, Nick Russo on drums, and Ian Ruhala (also of Hala) on bass during the Audiotree session. Masked up, the musicians still rocked on and performed a 25 minute set. 

Almost three months after the Detroit artist’s release of a nine track LP under Young Heavy Souls record label, the bedroom punk artists brought their songs to life during the twenty five minute performance. The Detroit garage rock band brought a lot of energy to the stage with their shoegaze melodies and punk rhythm. 21-year-old Chloe Drallos’ cool and lax stage presence combined with honest lyrics about growing pains and loud guitars is reminiscent of the songwriters of the 90s like Liz Phair and PJ Harvey. Drallos evokes a moody-rock- realness about being a woman and the anxieties growing up brings with it. 

The band opens with the first song off their album, “Blue Doom,” setting the tone of their performance  with this heavy and melancholic track. Drallos sings the honest lyrics, “I’m complaining about nothing and it’s all coming true.”These lyrics, along with the instrumentals, create the perfect soundtrack to a scene where someone’s life is crashing down– just as the drums and guitar riff pound in. The band continues on to perform “The Knife,” a song everybody would be dancing to at a live show. Evanson emphasizes the loud gritty guitar noises and harmonizes lyrics with Drallos. The third track the band played, “Sleeper,” begins with a catchy drum beat by Russo and a catchy bass line by Ruhala.

Towards the end of the mini set, the band continued to give it their all for the live stream. Chloe Drallos straps off her guitar for the song “Velcro Dog”and strongly belts the lyrics. The band has an intensity in their performance. Their last track, “Sixteen,” is my favorite off  their latest project.  The instrumentals on this track are memorable and combine  Drallo’s melancholy lyrics to create  the band’s gritty shoegaze sounds. Even though the band is performing to an empty crowd, they still brought  an upbeat and evergreen  performance to the Audiotree stage. It is apparent Chloe and bandmates can rock on even if their fans are watching from a computer screen; the energy and excitement was still there. 

I would have never thought that a band would need to perform in front of a camera, wearing masks, with an empty crowd. Many fans are disappointed with the halt on live concerts, but if one thing is apparent, it’s the appreciation people have for music that keeps it alive. Music brings us together, and live streamed shows like Zilched’s performance shows that a pandemic won’t get in the way of listeners and their favorite or upcoming  bands. 

You can watch the recorded livestream here, and support Zilched on their bandcamp here.

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