Live Show Reviews: Cherub, Taking Back Sunday Sell Out

There’s a lot to be said about going to a sold out show. There’s a certain energy in the air when a large group of people get together for a night of music. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend one of those shows when Cherub came through to Chicago’s House of Blues for a stop on their “Blow’d” tour. 2014 is poised to be a big year for the electro-pop duo, and the “Blow’d” tour also doubles as one of the popular “Ones to Watch” tours, that breaks up-and-coming acts to larger audiences.

Cherub Angel

Cherub

I got to House of Blues in time to catch only part of the first opening act, Carousel. A two-piece group that specializes in the same style electro-pop as Cherub, they were a nice start to the evening. They even threw in a Drake cover for good measure. The band was followed by ProbCause. ProbCause, a local Chicago rapper, put on a new twist to the live performance. Instead of simply having a DJ on stage, ProbCause enlisted a musician (who’s name escapes me, all apologies) to trigger prerecord effects on the computer as well as handle the electronic drum kit. If it sounds like a recipe for disaster, it very well could have been, but the live set was tight and well rehearsed. The crowd got into the act, and set the stage for the headlining act. For an act I never heard of, ProbCause’s live show definitely won me over and I plan on checking out some more of his work later (namely The Recipe Volume 2 with features from Chance the Rapper and Action Bronson).

As impressive as the opening acts were, the crowd was really here to see Cherub. I caught them at last summer’s Lollapalooza, a 12 noon set on the “Perry’s Electronic Stage” (or whatever it was called) and safe to say, the ground that the band has covered in the past year has been fun to watch. Immediately, the crowd was dancing along with the band. Crowd energy is something that the group thrives on, and they certainly earn it. Sure they make catchy pop songs, but there’s more to it. They’re highly active on Twitter, they tour non-stop and most importantly, they have a good time on stage.  They played some of my favorite songs like “XOXO” and “Heartbreaker” and closed out with the recently re-released “Doses and Mimosas” which everyone sang along to. With a new album on the way, you should have plenty of opportunities to catch them on tour, and you’d be a fool not to.

Taking Back Sunday

The week after that I went to the Taking Back Sunday/The Used co-headlining tour when it rolled through Chicago. Both bands have new albums out, and like Cherub, they enjoyed the opportunity of playing to a sold out crowd. First, opening act Sleepwave hit the stage. A brand new band, Sleepwave is fronted by former Underoath singer Spencer Chamberlain. For a band without an album out, they played great. Keep an eye out for their new music when it’s released.

Taking Back Sunday was a band renewed though. Their new album Happiness Is… really finds the group back into a nice groove. The second album since the “classic” lineup reunited, it’s more cohesive than its predecessor. TBS played new songs, they played old songs, they even played songs that half the band didn’t write or record. It was about as close to a perfect set list that a fan could ask for. The band seems like it’s in a very good place right now and it showed during their performance.

The Used didn’t impress as much. The band’s newer material doesn’t resonate much with me and they played a lot of it. It wasn’t a bad performance, but most of the material doesn’t do it for me anymore. The older songs sounded great, but I’ve yet to find any new songs that move me the same way.

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A certified personal trainer and graduate of Northwestern University (M.A. in Sport Adminstration), Steve is resident fitness expert and music snob of JustAGuy. In addition to fitness and music, Steve also enjoys sports. Feel free to trash talk him at steve@justaguy.us.

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