Thursday, September 3, 2009

Concert review: Roman Candle, The Rikters, and Phonograph at Schubas 8/30/09

Roman Candle (Photo by David McClister)

The indie rock offerings this past Sunday at Schubas Tavern lived up to the beloved Chicago venue's reputation for live music.

The evening started with two members of Brooklyn-based Phonograph playing a set with a pared-back texture of guitar and piano that still managed to have a rich (albeit mellow) sound. The songs were harmonically interesting with solid chord progressions, and frontman Matthew Welsh's soulful voice was well-suited to the mood of the songs. The band has a new album, OKNO, due out at the end of the month.

Chicago's own The Rikters have developed a solid following in the local music scene, and if last Sunday's lighthearted performance was typical of their live show, it's easy to see why. Although the band's mainstream alternative sound wasn't particularly well matched with the folk/Americana stylings of the other bands on the bill, nobody really seemed to mind. Fans in the audience danced to the songs and laughed with the band between songs.

Headliners Roman Candle were an absolute delight from start to finish, delivering a set full of frontman Skip Matheny's homey anecdotes and wry, life-embracing songs. The Chapel Hill band's rich sonic fabric can be likened to a patchwork quilt: familiar, comforting, and vibrant. I highly recommend seeing their next show in Chicago.

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This article also appears on Chicago Indie Rock Examiner.

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