Thursday, December 02, 2010

You Missed Out: Positive Beat Recordings at Viaduct Theater

One of the Chicago venues I work with in CHIRP's promotions department is the Viaduct Theater. We've given away tickets to plays and concerts at the Viaduct (tune in next week if you'd like to go there to see Black Bear Combo for free), but I had never been there myself. So last night I stopped in. It was one of those on-a-whim shows where I coincidentally ran into more than a few old friends and acquaintances. Chicago became very small inside of the Viaduct, and it felt really comfortable.

The show was a sort of release party for Positive Beat Recordings, a new record label that isn't too big on the whole digital music thing. They like LP's over there. Chicago indie-folk band Cains & Abels headlined the show by performing every song on their debut album. Even though Call Me Up has been out for over two years, it only just now received the vinyl treatment.

But before the headliner, two duos opened the night with much more interesting music. The first band played up in a hidden room above the bar lobby. YNGR is Matt Joynt (Anathallo) and Ryan Hammer. If you know Matt, you won't be surprised at all by this idea. I interviewed him a couple years ago when he was working at a coffee shop, and he insisted that I conduct the interview while he was working. So we were constantly being interrupted by customers asking for refills and pastries, but Matt smiled madly throughout the recording. Matt's brain just works for the unpredictable. If it's been done, Matt won't do it.

It's hard to say exactly what Matt and Ryan do to create their music, since you can't see them, but their ambient sounds were warm and inoffensive. YNGR doesn't have music available online. That's just how they roll. But Matt told me after the show that he'd get me something so that I could play YNGR on my CHIRP show. So you'll hear it here first. (Though I wouldn't be surprised if they have a cassette tape out there somewhere.)

Talons was the highlight of the evening. A young mustached man and a pretty brunette quietly cooed while a looping video of a forest bonfire played behind them. Near the end of the set, my friend whispered at me (anything more than a whisper would have been rude) "sounds like Sun Kil Moon." A great compliment for sure. You can judge for yourself though, because this band is actually on the internet.

Cains & Abels left the bonfire on, but their rowdy alt-country-rock deserved a larger blaze. They're a promising band to be sure, but something's still missing. Even with occasional cellos and Matt and Ryan shouting backup vocals, the band has a lot of room to grow. Let's hope they do. They obviously have talented enough friends surrounding them.

But the biggest winner of the night was the venue itself. I gained a new excitement to be working with the Viaduct. I'm going to try to get CHIRP some giveaways to January's Hot and Heavy Burlesque performance of The Wall. Sounds fun, right? It's not the sort of place to see a typical concert, but that could definitely be an advantage for the Viaduct. We should all go see a play there sometime too.

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