For anyone thats been to Chicagos Subterranean, they know its a unique, multi-floor space with a cozy, rectangular wraparound balcony. For anyone thats ever seen Chicagos Bailiff play live, they know that the bands sound is a cyclone of blues and bass that often overwhelms whatever location they play.
But before the hometown band took the stage, Oxford, Mississippis own Young Buffalo served as openers, bringing their brand of melodic, surf-inspired rock to the Windy City. The last night of the southerners tour, Young Buffalo was spot on, their playful style sounding like the offspring of an early New Order and Vampire Weekend tryst. Theyre clever and lively, without the bleakness or prep of the aforementioned bands. Young Buffalos set ran through their Young von Prettylips EP, highlighting the frenetic guitar work and West Coast vocal harmonies that make them one of the more entertaining and consistent bands working the touring circuit as of late.
Their standoutsCatipilah, Full Metal Whacket, and Speak EZchanneled the best of early 90s college radio bands, chiming their way through the densely packed crowd. The quartets clever, fizzy, guitar-driven rhythms and soaring harmonies had nearly everyone in the audience attentive and feeding off the bands stage presence.
Photo by Matthew Hughes
Buzzing from the sunny melodic energy, the crowd was prepped and anxious for Bailiff to appear. Front man Josh Siegel and drummer Ren Matthew, with rotating backing members from other local Chicago acts, have been one of Chicagos best-kept blues rock secrets, but that won’t be the case for much longer. The bands Subterranean show served as a primer for a December Midwest tour that veers south, ending in Austin. At the Subterranean, they started things off with Emptied Out, a throbbing, bass-heavy jewel from their debut LP, Red Balloon.
Seeing Bailiff at work is nothing short of face-melting, a term that gets overused, but definitely applies to the Chicagoans’ signature enticing sludge rock. Siegels guitar work was mesmerizing, with Matthews drums and a spare bass drum player providing a steady pulse that shook the Subterranean. Support from the rhythm guitar, bass, and keys created an aural gem thats rare in live sets these days. That second-floor wraparound balcony funneled Bailiffs drive to the upper level, fighting to break through the roof.
Photo by Matthew Hughes
A soulful, bluesy, and loud show, Bailiff’s set was charged with energy. Their strongest point was “When I Leave You Will Stay”, eliciting audience participation and an electric atmosphere. “Little by Little” and closer “Curtains” capped off the primary set on a grimy and satisfying note. After that solid set, the crowd beckoned Bailiff back for an encore. The boys delivered, unleashing a tight version of AC/DCs Back in Black with friend Brian Morrissey from Chicagos the Dirty Pigeons lending convincing Brian Johnson vocals.
Be sure to catch them, as well as Young Buffalo, on the road if you get the chance. They will not disappoint.
Photography by Matthew Hughes.
Young Buffalo Setlist:
Full Metal Whacket
There We Are
In the Reverie
Even I Know the Rain
No One Held Me Like You Do
When I Leave You Will Stay
Little by Little
Back In Black