Yard Act’s Debut Chicago Performance

Photo by Kevin W Condon

By Emily Schwarz

The energy in Sleeping Village was unlike anything I’ve seen before. It is very rare that a show sells out on a Tuesday night in March, but when the news of Yard Act making their way through Chicago for the first time broke, it only made sense that people flocked to Avondale to see it. And this show was not one to disappoint. 

Starting off the night was Maggie Winters, a Chicago based comedian, who recently was named The Reader’s Best Comedian of 2021! Maggie got the crowd ready to go for the music, by getting everyone a little rowdy with laughter. By the time the next act came on, the people in Sleeping Village were ready to go. 

Next up on the Sleeping Village stage was Chicago’s very own post punk front runners, Stuck. Stuck has created a reputation for themselves within the sphere of the post punk genre to take their music and performances a little outside the box. This quartet, consisting of Greg Obis on vocals and guitar, Tim Green on drums, David Algrim on bass and Donny Walsh on guitar, definitely brings a lot of high energy through their musicality, as well as their performances. Their sound, which was mainly developed over the quarantine for Covid-19, is very reminiscent of the current post-punk revival taking place across the pond, which is why Stuck was not only a perfect supporting band for Yard Act, but also gives them a cutting edge when it comes to the Chicago music scene. Their performance consisted mainly off songs from their latest release, being their “Content That Makes You Feel Good” EP, and their first and only full length album “Change Is Bad.” With Stuck making this much of an impact on Chicago’s music right now, it’s very exciting to see where they’ll go next!

Closing out the night, with their first ever Chicago performance, was Yard Act. The room exploded with cheers and claps as the band entered the stage. The band began to play loudly, almost egging on the crowd, with Sam Shjipstone on guitar, Ryan Needham on bass and Jay Russell on drums, as James Smith, the vocalist comes on stage, accompanied by crowd eruptions. Smith, with a drink never leaving his hand, is very dynamic in his performances and dancing, which makes the entire crowd dance along. It’s kind of a crazy thing, Yard Act is just wrapping up their first ever US tour, in response for their first ever album “The Overlord” which was released in January of 2021. As Smith said on stage, the band’s success pretty much came out of nowhere, mostly a testament of college and local radio stations playing their music and the success of the DIY music community.  The entirety of their set, Smith and the band had the crowd dancing and singing along to their catchy rhythm-based lyrics. Yard Act is something entirely unique, as their lyrics and musicality are very reminiscent of hip hop, played on top of chuggy and loud guitar and drumming. The overall instant success of this band is no surprise, as they sold out their first ever Chicago show on their first ever US tour, with the uniqueness and intensity of their sound guiding them on this journey into truly uncharted territory for post-punk and music as a whole. All in all, Sleeping Village pulled together a great show, and we are excited to see what will be in Yard Act’s future!

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