A Trip to the Clouds with Mild High Club and JW Francis 

Written by Nyah Brizard

Photos by Kayla Matheus 

Do you know that feeling when meeting someone for the first time and immediately knowing you two would be great friends? Or the feeling you get when sitting on a balcony in the summer, laughing and enjoying people’s company? That vibe filled the eternity of the Metro when Mild High Club came to perform. The psychedelic pop/jazz sound they have created a bubble of solidarity and friendship between the crowd and the band. Everyone swayed and smiled as the mellow and melodic sounds flooded our ears and warmed our hearts. Lead musician, Alexander Brettin grew up in the Midwest, studying jazz at Columbia College here in Chicago. He self-proclaimed himself as the “Bartender and resident selector of the metaphysical listening lounge” he calls Mild High Club. And boy, did he overserve us that night. The crowd was intoxicated by his captivating dulcet cords and nostalgic attitude. 

The opener, JW Francis, started his set by saying “It’s time to enjoy you”.  I couldn’t put into better words what we did that night, enjoying ourselves to the head-bopping energy of his song “I Love You”. JW Francis brought so much love and joy to the stage with his enthralling spirit. 

With the crowd’s spirits high and hearts lifted, Mild High Club opened with their song “Kluges II”. Composition is the most impressive part of their discography, the modulations, instrumentals, and effects poured into their music left me with a much deeper appreciation for their atmospheric and groovy tunes. Sliding into their next song, “Dionysian State”, a 70’s electronic jazz style with modern pop elements emits from the stage. The song satirizes the well-known nightmare of finding individualism in this world, the lyrics portray a decline before voices come together to find a form of humanity that is toasting to the madness around them. Their newest album “Going Going Gone” feels like a contemporary retelling of ideas that Jazz musicians like Herbie Hancock explored in the 1980s. Hancock is famously quoted saying “Jazz is about being in the moment”, and Mild High Club exemplified exactly that. Behind the artists, a projected video or swirling images and funky colors follow the sound of their cords. Their shadows are cast on the video behind them, while maybe a happy coincidence, brought a sense of unity among the complexities of their show. With family and friends attending this show, Brettin decided to open a package on stage. He revealed an award the band has received for their hit song “Homage”. This song feels like a good morning, with a cup of something hot and a warm breeze, it’s the perfect tune to walk around town and lose track of time. The dreamy vibe can easily have you listing to this song on loop until you are in a daze.

 Mild High Club closed the show with “The Chat”, singing the words “We might use our cameras, You won’t ever see me in real life”. That night the entire audience got to dispute that lyric, seeing the band in all their glory with their own eyes. The pandemic took away a large part of the human experience in interacting with people face to face. It was an uplifting and exhilarating moment to be with such a large crowd of happy people, enjoying dreamy music once again.

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