Article and photos by Justina Cufré
There is nothing like the low rumbling of excitement between the moment that doors open and the bands begin playing. This rumble was ever-present at Sleeping Village on November 4th, and the aloof turmoil could be felt on this sold-out night. Philly-based band Palm, alongside Floatie and Water From Your Eyes, treated Chicago to a night of ground-shaking music, made up of thrilling concoctions of sound and emotion.
Before the show began at 9 pm, a foggy red haze covered the stage, inviting the audience with a strange mystery. It wasn’t until Floatie, a four-piece music band from Chicago, hopped on stage to open the show that the lights faded to green and orange, perfectly encapsulating the magic that was to come. Floatie’s math rock music can be described only lightly by its polyphonic melodies, dissonance, and centering soft vocals. Every song they played from their album Voyage Out (2021) captivated; the intricate percussions that accompanied intrigued every listener, and alongside the varying time measures, the audience was held on the edge of their non-existent seats. The band’s collective passion was so visible that it translated with ease, putting those dancing along in a dream-like trance. Floatie’s hypnotic performance was, simply put, the perfect beginning to the night.
As more people appeared to form the crowd, the second band of the night, Brooklyn’s electro-pop ensemble Water From Your Eyes, did not disappoint either. Once on stage, their set opened with a high pitch ringing like that of an alarm, alerting us that they were to begin. Their stage presence felt laid-back, with compressed vocals that sound like radio transmissions. Songs like “Quotations”, “When You’re Around”, and newer ones from Structure Demos (2022) pierced through the audience using unsettling instrumentals tied by playful vocals. The upbeat rhythms, fast-paced melodies, and gnarly guitar tone clearly seemed to have an effect as everyone swayed and hopped from side to side. The singer spoke about their love for Chicago before diving into their song “Adeline.” The disco ball in the center also made an appearance, matching perfectly with the band’s spontaneity and lively nature.
At this point in the night, the crowd had fully gathered and laughter could be heard among the enthusiastic listeners, thrilled about the main event. As the band prepared for their set, soothing keyboard melodies were played in the darkness. As they enter, a green glare illuminated the stage.
The music of Palm felt like strategical explosions for the eardrum, with delicate yet upbeat vocals, heavy drums and bass, and unexpected changes in time measures. At many moments, it felt as if everything was happening at once in an exponentially increasing tension, almost to be fully relieved at the attack of silence, and then…eruption. They played from their newest album, Nicks and Grazes (2022) as well as from Shadow Expert (2017) and Trading Basics (2015). Every song had its own distinction, yet they all seemed tied together by their experimental reverb effects and abundance of layers to both the vocals and the instruments. Heads were banging, fists were thrusting, and there was not one point where everyone’s feet simultaneously stood firm on the ground of Sleeping Village.
During their performance of “Feathers”, an audience member wiped tears from their eyes, and it was then that the interactivity and undeniable energy of the band could be felt to those who heard. The band seemed to wrap up and exit for the performer version of hide-and-seek, and as the crowd chanted for an encore, they returned to play “Ankles” from their debut album, graciously ending the night with more tasty riffs and soft melodies. Floatie, Water From Your Eyes, and Palm came together on this night to leave their passions in the air of Sleeping Village, and the audience was full of wide smiles and the sentiment of an exceptionally satisfying evening.