There's something about the freak folk subgenre that inspires people to drink better beer, and that's never a bad thing. The mellow crowd last night (Aug. 29) at Schubas in Chicago was mostly content to sip Stella Artois or Goose Island brews and bask in the formidable storytelling of Raleigh, NC's Bowerbirds. Chief songwriter Phil Moore weaved fantastical tales over an acoustic guitar and a hi-hat/tambourine contraption, while the supporting cast of Beth Tacular and Marc Paulson shifted easily between a marching band bass drum, violin, and accordion. Standout tunes included critics' favorite "In Our Talons" and the rolling sonics of "The Ticonderoga," both featured on the band's debut LP Hymns for a Dark Horse.
You can't go wrong with the free admission and $1.25 PBRs every Monday night at Chicago's iconic Empty Bottle, but fortunately for the city's ever-growing population of skint-living cool kids there's also some seriously excellent music. The One AM Radio, the indie electronic project of Hrishikesh Hirway, set the ashtray floors and grimy walls of the Bottle awash in organ-drenched melody last night (Aug. 27), commanding the rapt attention of a normally rowdy and always eclectic crowd that included plenty of your usual indie scenesters, neighborhood regulars, and two (count 'em -- TWO) dudes in white pimp suits. Drawing heavily on songs from the band's latest, the city-themed This Too Will Pass, the exceedingly polite and humble Hirway and Co.