Piebald should fire their booking agent for making them headline over Spitalfield in Spitalfield's hometown. This was made completely evident when between the end of Spitalfield's set and the start of Piebald's, Chicago's Metro went from being almost bursting at the seams to barely half-full. Those who left early, however, missed a stellar performance by Travis Shettel and company.
The Format opened the night up to about the same size crowd as the night ended with, playing a half hour's worth of their alt-country/pop numbers, this time with a full band [6 members deep]. They were much better than when I had seen just the two frontmen play acoustic with Duvall and The Stereo last August, but still didn't do too much to win me over. The crowd's apathy was virtually non-existant, however, with loud applause echoing through the Metro at the conclusion of their set.
California rockers The Jealous Sound were up next, and were definitely the odd men out on the bill. The band's set included favorites such as "Naive," "The Fold Out," and "For Once In Your Life," but crowd members familiar with the material were definitely in the minority. I came to the sobering conclusion that if the Jealous Sound were four fresh-faced teenagers in tight t-shirts and fashionable jeans, this young Chicago crowd would have eaten them up. As it stands, they are four thirtysomethings working their butts off for little to no recognition from crowds sometimes half their ages. People need to recognize the Jealous Sound's immense talent and knack for writing incredibly hooky pop songs before they drift off into the distance like so many other unappreciated bands before them.
Hometown heroes Spitalfield took the stage next, and showed their battle scars from being out on the road 11 out of the past 12 months. The band blazed through a number of tracks off Remember Right Now including "Five Days And Counting," "Stolen From Some Great Writer," and crowd favorite "I Love The Way She Said 'LA'" before wrapping up their set with "Make My Heart Attack." The quartet also plowed through a brand new, untitled song that was a bit heavier and more challenging melodically than their previous fare. This bodes well for the band's future, to be sure. An interesting observation about Spitalfield's fanbase; it seems to be all-inclusive. Both sexes seemed equally represented, and a decent amount of the crowd weren't WASPs. The majority of the crowd seemed to still be of high-school age, a fact made obvious when singer Mark Rose addressed the crowd, asking "Who just got done with finals this week?" and a sea of hands shot up. One slight negative to note, however - Rose's sweet tenor voice sounds like it's at the end of it's rope. If this band doesn't get some time off, and soon, I'm afraid Rose's throat might end up with the same fate as Piebald singer Travis Shettel's - under the knife.
In between Spitalfield and Piebald's set, you could just watch the tweens pour out of the Metro as if the show was over, allowing the college-age attendees front row spots finally. As Piebald took to the stage and opened up with All Ears All Eyes All The Time opener "The Benefits of Ice Cream," it was painfully obvious that the booking agent made the wrong choice having Piebald headline. The floor of the Metro looked half-full at best, and the balcony crowd was virtually non-existant. It was definitely their loss, however, as the Boston-by-way-of-LA quartet delivered the rock with favorites like "American Hearts" and "Just A Simple Plan" as delving even deeper into their back catalog with "Rules For Mules" and "Location Is Everything." The rest of the set was rather equally split up between "We Are The Only Friends We Have and All Ears..., with the crowd being equally into both.
As their set wrapped up with "The Stalker," the band found themselves with 15 more minutes left in their set, so they opened the floor for requests. The obvious "Grace Kelly With Wings" was yelled and played, followed by the 1-2 punch of "The Monkey Versus The Robot" and "The King Of The Road." The band's quirky pop carried over surprisingly well for this writer, at least, and their new material [especially those utilizing piano] worked in a live setting. Too bad so many kids made the foolish decision of catching the early train.
EXCLUSIVE LIVE VIDEOS
Piebald - The Benefits Of Ice Cream
Spitalfield - Kill The Drama
The Jealous Sound - The Fold Out
EXCLUSIVE LIVE PHOTOS
The Jealous Sound