Photo by Malcolm Watts
By Clara Copps
On a rare warm night in Spring, Paul Cherry treated Chicago to a set of his grooviest music spanning over the eight years that he’s been releasing music. Cherry was a Chicago based artist for 11 years before recently moving to LA, and he expressed how excited he was to be playing in his beloved city, giving shout-outs to his mom, mother-in-law and old friends who were in the audience. Joined by his four-person band, Paul Cherry’s calm demeanor and smooth music permeated through Lincoln Hall, creating an atmosphere that inspired a sense of camaraderie and togetherness in the audience.
The show opened with Sedona, a Brooklyn-based dreamy indie rock band embarking on their first tour. The girl group played tracks from their 2020 release “Rearview Angel” and a variety of singles, even treating us to a few unreleased songs. All of the band members had an air of confidence and ease throughout the whole set, and justifiably so, amplifying their stage presence. The lead singer’s voice was breathy, but she had a high level of control that allowed it to cut through and contrast nicely with the more rock songs, like their latest single “Sharkbite”. Overall, I really loved the vibe of this band and I highly encourage you all to check them out.
Dougie Poole was supposed to perform as a second opener, but unfortunately had to cancel due to COVID exposure.
Moving on to the main show, the real star of Cherry’s act was the instrumentals. Their performance veered into the jazz fusion territory and this genre really highlighted the musical talent of all the band members. In particular, one of the band members, Nelson Deveraux, stole the show with his addition of alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, synths, and the occasional backup vocals. The band also included drums, bass, keyboard, and Paul on vocals and guitar. The five of them had great musical chemistry and the slight improvisation that happened worked really well with Paul Cherry’s style of music—a mix of yacht rock and indie jazz.
Near the beginning of the show, the music was interrupted by a “Breaking News” audio track announcing the release of Cherry’s newest album, “Back on the Music!”. All the band members played along with it and acted stunned and confused before launching into “No News No Blues”. Personally, I really enjoy it when the artists’ personalities come through in their performance, so I appreciated that Paul and his band were clearly having fun and interacting with the crowd.
Although I don’t typically gravitate towards this type of music, I had a ton of fun at this show and I now have a much greater appreciation of Paul Cherry and his jazz/indie sound. He reminded me a lot of artists like William Hinson, Mild High Club, and recent The Buttertones. I would compare Sedona to dreamy indie bands like Her’s and Men I Trust.