Arms flailing, mouth running, picture a road worn Macklemore, sounding like Kid Rock with a Harvard degree. Less like Kid Rock when he's singing about hustling and hos, but more like the 'Kid when he's shouting, "Somebody's Gotta Feel This." Less poppy than Macklemore on "Same Love," but angsty towards the industry like the 'Mack on "Jimmy Iovine.' The difference with Astronautalis that sets him apart from all the above, is that he doesn't have a gimmick. There is no "Cowboy," and no "Thrift Shop" in his repertoire.
His voice is thick and gravelly, sort of like Ed Kowalczyk from the band Live. His sharp rap attack might remind hip hop heads of Yelawolf, and his newer material is headed that direction. Though many of the songs performed throughout the night were from the most recent record This Is Our Science. They were written almost 3 years ago but played like they were penned in his basement the night before. Still sounding new and fresh, but this time around the choruses sound bigger. The whole band sings now, and the instrumentation is brighter and more intricate.
The guitar parts for instance, are clearer and take on more of a presence throughout each song. The drums, accompanied by the original loops from the record, really thicken the soup. Besides the band having a heightened focus, Astro seems to have a new fervor for the game. Measuring the globe has really sharpened the sound of Astronautalis; the band.
A slew of new songs were also introduced throughout the night, getting a packed house really excited for the "new material being released" later this year, according to the man himself. He also spoke to the crowd a little bit about Riot Fest, saying: "Thanks for coming to see me and not going to see The Replacements. I mean, If I were you I would have gone to see The Replacements. So thanks for coming to see me."
Great point! There were a lot of great bands in Chicago for the weekend, yet still a lot of people wanted to be a part of this energetic live show taking place in Schuba's Back Room. His fan base continues to grow as he tours endlessly. For cool pics of his life on the road, follow Astro on Instagram @Astronautalis