Maps & Atlases and Fall Fox performed at Lucy’s Cafe, in Raue Center For The Arts in Crystal Lake, Illinois. You can check out our review after the break.
Raue Center For The Arts got a double dose of Chicago musicians at their best on Friday the 13th. Lucy’s Cafe, A Night of Music featured Maps & Atlases with opening band Fall Fox.
Lucy’s Cafe offers a unique experience for both patrons and performers.Instead of utilizing the entirety of the beautiful 750-seat theatre the entireshow takes place on stage. A smaller stage is set-up on stage accompanied by bistro tables and low-lighting which allows the audience to share an intimate evening with the artist. I overheard spectators discussing the set-up and how it was like nothing they had ever seen before.
Christian Keck, a local Chicago folk artist who goes by the alias Fall Fox, played first. He started with a song entitled “Feelings” which was complete with nature sound effects (“birds and critters” as he put it). Like most of the other songs in the set, this one was peaceful and soothing, feel good music. Nature sampling aside, Keck’s performance consisted of vocals and guitar, alternating between acoustic and electric. The simplistic instrumentation showcased the range in his unique voice. During the song “Raptors”, I especially noticed his raw and breathy sound. Very distinct and cool.
Keck’s guitar strap broke in the middle of his third song as he was building up to an explosive chorus. It could have been disastrous but it hardly fazed him. He unhooked the strap still attached to his guitar in over exaggerated motions and took a seat, turning the mishap into a joke. Excitedly he yelled, “Part two!” and continued the song with even more energy like nothing had happened. It was impressive how unrattled Keck was– confidence is something that musicians cannot be taught.
“Blue River Blue Jeans Blue” wasFall Fox’s final song. The song was a beautifully serene piece that sweetly wrapped up his performance.
Before the show started, I had the pleasure of speaking with Maps & Atlases fans who talked in long-windedsentences about the hard-working and overwhelmingly talented band we were about to watch, sharing detail after detail about their favorite songs. I had not heard much of Map & Atlases prior to seeing them live so I personally can’t compare their live concerts to their recordings, but if the crowd was any indication their live show is just as good.
Four-piece indie-rock band Maps & Atlases composed of Dave Davison (lead singer, guitar), Erin Elders (guitar), Chris Hainey (drums) and Shiraz Dada (bass) had Raue Center moving instantly with their opening song “Artichokes” from their EP You and Me and The Mountain. Maps engaged the audience making themas much part of the show as the musicians. Songs like “Ted Zancha” with its singsong melody make it impossible to fight the urge to dance. Their passion for music translates into an amazing performance.
Maps & Atlases has a solid focus on rhythm. At times three quarters of the band plays percussion. They areso together and tight. The intricacies in the guitar work that Davison pulls off while singing is incredible, and eclipsed only by the elaborate guitar harmonies between Davison and Elders. The use of different instruments as accents intheir music, like the woodblock sound from the drum set in songs like “Witch”and the bass drum in place of the bass on “The Charm” keep things interesting. Even Davison’s use of his voice on the song “Will”– almost scatting instead of singing lyrics– takes Maps’ music to a whole new level.
After completing the final song of their set, “Solid Ground”, the band asked the audience if it would be okay if they played an acoustic encore. They set up two snare drums, bass, and two acoustic guitars in the center of the crowd, sitting on folding chairs, playing amongst the cozy group. They started with “You & Me & The Mountain” followed by “Carrying The Wet Wood.” Dada laughed with the fans about the eerie sound his bass was making and jokingly invited everyone to tell ghost stories over his strumming. Davison performed the last song of the night byhimself, sitting on the ground, guitar in his lap. Everyone was silent as he gently sang each lyric to “The Ongoing Horrible.” I have never seen anything like it. I’m not sure their fans could have been anymore up close and personal with the band.
Information about the review…
Tour: Lucy’s Cafe, A Night of Music
Artists: Maps & Atlases and Fall Fox
Date: May 13, 2011
Venue: Raue Center For The Arts in Crystal Lake, IL