Any Man In America Tour feat Blue October – REVIEW

During the Any Man In America tour feat. Blue October, they came to the House of Blues in Chicago. With them came IAmDynamite and Ashleigh Stone. You can check out our review after the break.

Any Man In America Tour feat Blue October – REVIEW

During the Any Man In America tour feat. Blue October, they came to the House of Blues in Chicago. With them came IAmDynamite and Ashleigh Stone. You can check out our review after the break.

At first I didn’t understand why this show was set to open its doors at 7:30 and begin at 9pm, but that was before I saw who all showed up to see Blue October.  I’m not use to a show starting that late, so I was a bit confused.  I’m not kidding when I say I was the youngest individual present at the House of Blues Chicago on October 8, 2011.  Apparently everybody except me got the memo that Blue October mostly caters to mom and dad aged folks, not younger teenagers.  This explained the late start time because everybody was drinking and the place was packed with 35-50 year olds when I showed up an hour before start time.

Ashleigh Stone apparently is a four-piece Indie Pop band from San Marco, Texas.  What I saw however was a lonely looking Ashleigh Stone all by herself on stage with her keyboard opening the show with a solo act.  From what I could hear she had a lovely voice and certainly had skills on the keys, but because I got stuck fairly far back in the House of Blues, the amount of chatter from all the people at the bar drowned out her act.  This surprised me because during her short 15 minute set people seemed to think this was more of a social event with background music rather than a music-focused concert.  Besides the folks that got a spot towards the stage, a bunch of people including myself didn’t get to enjoy a whole lot of Ashleigh’s music.

The small two-man IAmDynamite duo took the stage only to jump right into their rock tunes, while only featuring a guitarist and a drummer while both members sang.  This seemed a bit odd and unconventional, but besides a few concert-goers, everybody seemed to feel IamDynamite’s simple but effective songs like:  “Hi Lo,” “Where Will We Go,” and “O.E.O.,” all off their album entitled “Super Mega Fantastic.”  As I said, the lyrics seemed overly simple and without a whole lot of complexity to them, and there were some strange double bass solo moments that were fit into some of the songs, but overall these two guys got the crowd moving and they definitely lightened up the mood.

On that positive note, with the crowd in a bouncy mood from IAmDynamite’s happy and upbeat set, Blue October’s lead singer Justin Furstenfeld came out on stage all by himself and started talking about how kids need to have two parents in their home and they need to have good role models.  I was really interested in what he had to say but the people located towards the back of the venue were still in social-hour mode and talked through Justin’s whole speech so I wasn’t able to hear most of it.  After the whole band came out on stage to a magnificent applause the Houston, Texas band kicked off their set with “You Make Me Smile.”  Blue October’s stage setup was very simple but still really cool.  There were a few single light bulb strands hanging sporadically around the stage that occasionally lit on and off in a random manor, giving the show a creepy and dark feel.  The other cool lighting effects they had going were a couple large rotating beams behind the stage that shot out dark blue colors most of the time, complementing that dark feel for the show.  The song that seemed to hit the hardest from Blue October’s set is “The Feel Again (Stay)” off their 2011 release “Any Man in America.”  The crowd really seemed to feel the deep lyrics about Justin’s divorce and the custody battle over his daughter, which is what most of the new album is about.  Justin’s voice sounded fantastic for this show and it was one of the most emotional performances I’ve seen a male vocalist perform.  The band performed other material off their six studio albums:  “Into the Oceans,” “Jump Rope,” “Drama Everything,” “Picking Up the Pieces,” and “Dirt Room” was a few.  The crowed all sang along when Blue October broke into their big hit “Hate Me,” which once again was delivered with a very soulful and amazing voice.  The band finished up their roughly hour and forty minute set with “X-Amount of Words” and left the stage to an incredible applause from everybody in the room.  Other things that that made this set memorable was the cool demonic vocal processing on Justin’s voice during certain songs, and when IAmDynamite came out during Blue October’s set wearing sequence capes and sang happy birthday to drummer Jeremy Furstenfeld then proceeded to help them out with a song.

Information about the review…
Tour: Any Man In America Tour feat Blue October
Bands: Blue October, IAmDynamite and Ashleigh Stone
Reviewer: Michael Nutting
Date: October 8, 2011
Venue: House of Blues in Chicago, IL