Headed to Texas for South By Southwest, indie-rock quartet Ski Lodge swung through Chicago and played alongside local trio The Pear Traps during an early set Sunday night at Empty Bottle...
"The Empty Bottle was half empty..." sang Rhett Miller of the Old 97's once upon a time of an off night at the venerable Ukranian Village club.
And so it was again Sunday night during the early set.
But that seemed to suit Ski Lodge frontman Andrew Marr just fine... Because he didn't seem terribly interested in acknowledging those in attendance anyway.
"Whatever" reads the oh so in depth description of the band in the "about" section of their Facebook page.
Gotta love the indie band that wants you to think they don't care!
Despite that, on Sunday night the music seemed to indicate that Ski Lodge actually does care. Quite a bit.
"Just to be Like You" is the new single from the band's forthcoming full-length debut and it shows a growth in songwriting since their self-titled EP in 2011.
"Oh, you've got to trust yourself / 'cause it's ok for you to die tonight / And I won't make excuses anymore" sang Marr during the fastest song of the night to close the set.
Where the 2011 EP showed a talented band struggling to find its identity (and sounding like The Strokes), "Just to be Like You" displays a pace and sound much closer to that of another band to once feature a guitar player named Marr. Especially on that track, Andrew Marr's vocals are delivered in the inimitable style of Morrissey and the dueling guitars on stage Friday night (combined with a propulsive bass high in the mix) were unmistakably influenced by The Smiths.
From the EP, "The View" saw the band do it's best to capture not only the sound but also the look and style of Vampire Weekend. "Is it possible to rock out in a sweater and collared shirt?" I thought to myself... But the answer was a resounding "Yes!" and standout drumming during the performance was the reason why.
"I Would Die to Be" was slower and with it's dreamily passionate lyrics and jangly guitar harkened what seemed to be a bit of a fifties influence that surprised me (It's actually a theme I recognize throughout that EP, especially on "A Game").
Ultimately, Sunday night, Ski Lodge proved quite capable of delivering more than just the Smiths influenced sound for which they're sure to be pigeonholed following the recent release of the aforementioned new single.
Chicago trio The Pear Traps closed the show with an alt sound bordering at times on shoegazer that reminded me of everything from Sonic Youth to the Catherine Wheel. There was more of an emphasis on music and sound over lyrics and words and that was just fine Sunday in the live setting.