Monday, September 30, 2013

Show review: Typhoon at Lincoln Hall, 9/21/13

By Sarah Rosenfeld

photo by ingrid renan
Watching the pre-show setup for Typhoon at Lincoln Hall on September 21st, you would think an entire orchestra was about to cram on-stage. “What are they doing with all those drum kits?!,” I exclaimed to my friend who shrugged and then laughed as yet another drum was set up. With 11 people, the Portland-based indie-folk band made use of all those instruments and performed an impressively constructed show of both older music and songs off their current album White Lighter, released last month.

With epic, sweeping intros of strings and brass and hauntingly beautiful vocals, this is a band that expertly recreates the studio sound of their album while also being a joy to watch live. During the times in some songs when certain band members weren't playing, they crouched down slowly to let the audience focus on the soulful violin or slow strumming guitar. One of the drummers played his cymbal by drawing a violin bow down the edge to create a unique metallic wailing sound. There were three trumpets on stage, but they did not overshadow the softer instruments and avoided sounding anything like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Lead singer and primary songwriter Kyle Morton has a voice that strains with emotion; appropriate given that many of Typhoon's songs contemplate mortality, reminisce about childhood and bemoan the regrets of a life gone by too fast. The lighter "love" songs are the ones you wish the one-that-got-away would sing to you upon realizing the mistake he made by leaving. Some of the fantastic sound credit must be given to the venue, Lincoln Hall. This place consistently has some of the best sound quality out of any venue in Chicago.

Typhoon played to an audience full of devoted fans who shouted for their favorite songs to be played during the encore. One of my friends jumped out of her seat nearly launching herself over the railing when they started to play "Summer Home." I made the decision to attend this show after a strong recommendation from this friend and I'm glad I did. This band even has jokes! During a lull between songs, one of the guys on trumpet and tambourine asks the audience: "What do you call a pizza coupon in Chicago? A deep dish-count!" Ok, it was more of a groaner, but at least it was locale oriented. The cohesion among the band members felt genuine and the banter, even the bad jokes, never felt forced. At the end of the night, Typhoon put on an engaging live show that had the audience swaying and entertained--both hardcore fans and less familiar listeners alike.

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