Welcome to my first Concert Recap! In these, I will go over my experiences at the various concerts I attend. I’ll not only talk about the performance itself but also the venue and anything else that sticks out to me.
Without further ado:
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, flor, and Grizfolk, March 2nd, 2019 Riviera Theatre, Chicago, IL
The Venue: The Riviera Theatre
The Riviera Theatre is a cool, historic venue located in Uptown, Chicago. It was built in 1917 as a movie theatre and became a private nightclub in 1986. Since 2006 it has been owned by Chicago’s own Jam Productions and hosts various events both local and national.
I found this venue to be very nice. The historic look and feel add to the ambiance of the concert. I chose to watch the show from the balcony and was able to get a pretty good view of the stage:
One of my friends posted up on the floor and also had a blast so if you prefer a more up-close experience the Riviera is good for that as well.
Overall, The Riviera Theatre is a solid small venue that I would go to again. The only problem I had was parking was hard to find. This could have been our fault for not knowing Uptown Chicago that well.
Set 1: Grizfolk
Gizfolk was the first opener and their set was about 8 songs long. At first this seemed short but, it makes since when you consider that they only have one album. They started their set with the song “Into the Barrens” which I think set the tone of the set well. It let us settle into Grizfolk’s soft style of alternative rock. About halfway through the set they played one of their newest songs “Spoonful” before kicking it up a notch with “Troublemaker” the song I assumed they would close with. They closed with the song “Hymnals” which is a song I never gave much attention but will definitely add to my rotation.
Grizfolk is kind of a different band when you see them live and I mean that in the best way possible. They sound way more organic live. The guitars are louder and more natural sounding, the synth is still there but doesn’t dominate their sound. It’s just a different experience and I really enjoyed it. Don’t take this as a knock on their album as it’s great in its own right and many bands take this approach to their live show.
Set 2: flor
flor was the next opener and also played a set of only 6 or so songs. This was probably also due to only having a limited discography. They opened with “Get Behind This” and closed with “Warm Blood” into “Hold on” all performed with high energy and enthusiasm. About halfway through their set, they played a new song that none of us have heard before. I did some searching on the internet and I think the song might be called “Slow Motion” and it sounds a lot more rock inspired and I’m excited about its release.
As I was saying with Grizfolk, the same applies with flor. Their live show sounds more organic than their album and that’s not a bad thing. Zach Grace’s vocals have less effects and the guitar work by both Zach and McKinley Kitts was more raw and improvasional. I’m excited to see flor develop and grow as they are a great live band.
Set 3: Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness’ set started with an unveiling of the set and “Everything Must Go” beginning with the rest of the band before Andrew himself coming out of that illuminated square on the right with his flower and sticker decorated piano. Throughout the whole set, Andrew was amped up and put on an excellent show while also stopping to dedicate songs and tell stories. He played 24 songs including the encore which included several songs from Andrew’s previous bands Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin as well as a cover of Cher’s “Believe” that had the whole crowd singing along. During the encore, Andrew and the band performed an intimate version of “Dead Man’s Dollar” that was interesting.
After that, the band performed the Jack’s Mannequin song “MFEO: Pt. 1 – Made for Each Other / Pt. 2 – You Can Breathe” where Andrew surfed the crowd on a sun-shaped pool floaty and climbed into the balcony.
The consensus from my friends and I was that Andrew McMahon is an excellent entertainer and puts on an absolutely amazing show. I would definitely go to another of his shows just based on his showmanship alone.
Overall I loved every minute of the concert and I think it was an excellent way for me to start this year’s concert series.