Chelsea Wolfe and King Dude at Chicago’s Schuba’s Tavern ~ Review and Photos

Pardon me for taking far too long to get to this, but a back injury has made it difficult for me to sit and craft it all.

A friend of mine bought me a ticket to see Chelsea Wolfe in Chicago. I had heard a couple of songs of hers before, but I couldn’t say I was all that familiar with her work as a whole.

We went to the restaurant side of Schuba’s Tavern and had dinner before the show and to my friend’s surprise, Chelsea had come in to do the same. It’s always nice when you can see performers do the regular things we all do…like eat and well, be HUMAN. Fans tend to put musicians upon pedestals but in the end, we’re all really the same only they can do something many of us only dream of.

Chelsea Wolfe is fast gaining respect and attention for her melancholy vocals and haunting lyrics, with only a keyboardist and a violinist accompanying her, the mood she set was very somber and at times you could have heard a pin drop in the audience. Chelsea had mentioned on stage that her “voice was all over the place” due to being a bit under the weather but she pulled it off gracefully and hit her proper notes even though her set primarily showcasing Unknown Rooms: A Collection of Acoustic Songs was a bit short having had waited through three opening bands. Her vibe has an electronic, almost black metal feel with elements of Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins and Julee Cruise always giving you that deep, dark sensibility whether it be in long drawn out bass notes or the simplicity of a single chord with vocals trailing out all the while being poetic, tragic and painfully personal.

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I missed most of the first opening band and any real photo opportunities for Sabers, but with their pared down indie rock compared to the rest of the performers, they seemed a bit out of place and not really my vibe. Although they played well and had some catchy hooks, I didn’t feel there was really anything to grab on to there.

From the fresh, indie vibe of the first band, enter the second opener, King Dude. A Luciferian, dark, poetic band in the vein of Leonard Cohen and Death In June. Throw in a little Johnny Cash, some Tom Waits and you have a winner. Here’s a quote from their own bio that sums it up best. “Dark pagan-fueled folk wrapped tight with outsider Americana, steeped in themes of love, death and redemption.” I’ve heard some low vocals in my time but vocalist TJ Cowgill would give any Scandinavian doom metal band a run for their money. I bought their CD, Burning Daylight and have been enjoying it ever since. HIGHLY recommended!

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For some reason, I thought there were only two openers and was surprised when the Swedish outfit, The Amazing took the stage. A bunch of unassuming looking guys with a quirky vocalist, three guitarists who switched instruments often except the lead guitarist and a seriously tight drummer. With a name like The Amazing, you better have some killer musical talent to back it up and I wasn’t disappointed. If you dig psychedelic, stoner guitar rock ala Blue Oyster Cult and the like from the 70’s, you need to experience The Amazing.
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A packed Saturday show with good friends on a biting cold winter’s night in Chicago can be just the thing to lift one’s spirits and I’m always in the mood for finding new music to experience. Check out the above mentioned bands and find some new tunes for yourself.

For ALL photos of this show, click HERE.

Review and Photos by Alex Savage. All rights reserved.

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