Concert Review: Twin Peaks @ Black Cat (12/11/19)

Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks live (Photo Credit: Daniel Topete)

The Chicago garage rockers, Twin Peaks, descended on the Black Cat on December 11th, and royally kicked our collective butts with an auditory soirée that no one regretted attending.

The Black Cat was quite full of attendees, even some concertgoers spilling from the Red Room, to see these five dudes. They must have had some shenanigans at previous shows, as they gave a cautionary introduction to ‘take care of yourselves and others tonight.’

Twin Peaks is touring for their fourth album, Lookout Low (via Grand Jury), which came out earlier this year. They played at least five songs from Low, of the 19 overall in the set.

With three guitars, a bass, a keyboard and a drum set, the entire band rocked high and low across the stage, never staying still even for a moment. They also traded off vocal duties, with four members singing lead vocals for multiple songs each.

They kicked off the set with “What Up Dog?” a cover by Today’s Hits, its funky intro giving us a small taste of the evening’s tone.

Next came “Making Breakfast”, with a wildly catchy hook, expanding our minds into a positive vibe that would last through the entire show. The song is about settling down with someone and being happy about it.

A common theme in their songs proved to be mixing in a variety of musical styles, not sticking to one formula. For most of those witnessing each great song in succession, we found that to be enjoyable (based on the dancing and general cheer).

Twin Peaks is Cadien Lake James (vocals, guitar), Clay Frankel (vocals, guitar), Jack Dolan (vocals, bass), Colin Croom (keyboards, vocals, guitar) and Connor Brodner (drums).

“Ferry Song”, from the new album, saw Colin singing over a deep groove, about overcoming obstacles. Piano-driven, with heart felt lyrics, and a chorus they all joined in on, this was among the highlights of the set.

“Tossing Tears” could be a Modest Mouse track, a super mellow first half before switching gears into a killer instrumental hook with an upbeat melody of ‘nah nah nah nah, baby’.

Midway through, “Under the Pines” acted as an old-school guitar-driven ode to love in a dark world, where all the band members harmonized in unison over beats that would get Bruce Springsteen’s attention (presumably).

“Shake Your Lonely” is a melodic ballad, one where they brought out the women from Ohmme (one of the opening bands) to join in the harmonies. If we had our lighters to sway with, we would have.

They didn’t chat too much, but at one point they chastised one sneaky concertgoer at the front to not look at their playlist ‘to avoid spoilers’, but maybe they don’t know about the website Setlist.

They ended the main set with “Strawberry Smoothie”, from the album Wild Onion, where the lyrics are a bit odd, but flowed out of a healthy punk-like instrumental intro and a rash of hand clapping from the audience.

They came back for a two-song encore. “Unfamiliar Sun” got a rousing cheer, to which they threw the city of Philadelphia under the bus (as they should), with ‘We played this in Philly yesterday, but it was (the crowd’s enthusiasm) underwhelming in comparison.” Most of the band sat on the stage or at their instruments during this slower rendition.

The last song was the long and winding “Oh Mama” from Low, ending on another upbeat note, maybe with hints of The Rolling Stones (I told you they moved around a lot in music style and form).

Definitely check these dudes out if you haven’t. Or just keep listening if you have. You can always get copies of Lookout Low as Christmas stocking stuffers, certainly someone will be pleased. Even if it’s you!

Setlist
What Up Dog? (Today’s Hits cover)
Making Breakfast
My Boys
Ferry Song
Tossing Tears
Getting Better
Walk to the One You Love
Under the Pines
(Unknown)
Shake Your Lonely
Dance Through It
(Unknown)
Wanted You
Butterfly
Under a Smile
In the Meadow
Strawberry Smoothie

Encore
Unfamiliar Sun
Oh Mama

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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