When the lineup for the A Lot Like Birds “The DIVISI Tour” was announced I was beyond stoked! Having listened to DIVISI on repeat since its release earlier this month (you can read my review of the album below) and anticipating what it would be like to experience that album in a live setting, I began to get myself hyped as the date approached. Having never heard of Household or Hearts Like Lions prior to the tour announcement I was ecstatic since I am the type that prefers to see a show with new music; especially if they are touring with a band that I am really into at that moment. Additionally, having seen Owel perform live as support for The Soil & The Sun in November of 2016 at the Beat Kitchen, I was excited to see that they were on the bill since they put on an amazing performance. Lastly, I have seen When We Was Kids open a few times for touring bands and I was anxious to see how far along they had come since seeing them last in 2016 at the Wire. Overall, I was really looking forward to an evening of both known and unknown music acts.
The evening began with When We Was Kids taking the stage. When We Was Kids is a progressive rock band from Chicago, Illinois and consists of Chris Lamb, Bryan Escareno, Michael Angelo Roncone, Norman Aguilar and Mark Serpico. Every time I see them I am blown away by their ability to remain technical and precise while delivering a sound larger than the room they are playing in. While all of the members are extremely talented, I personally believe that their drummer, Mark Serpico, is on a whole other level and watching him play is beyond words. Personally, I would argue that Mark is one of the best drummers in the local Chicagoland music scene right now. During the performance, the band announced that they just back home from recording their upcoming album that they hope to release later this year. The album was recorded with Ben Rossett of Strawberry Girls at Spirit Vision Studios based in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Just recently it was announced that When We Was Kids will be opening for the Strawberry Girls, Comrades, Belle Noire and Zaius show at Subterranean on June 22nd which I will be attending so watch for a review of that show soon. You can check out a few tracks by When We Was Kids on their Bandcamp page below.
Up next was Owel from New Jersey. Owel is a five-piece alternative rock band currently signed to Equal Vision Records and consists of Jay Sakong, Jane Park, Seamus O’Connor, Nunzio Moudatsos and Ryan Vargas. Owel’s performance this evening was nothing short of magical. The softness and purity of the vocals blending into the harmonies of keys, strings and percussion were enchanting and warming. Owel’s stage presence is so inviting and welcoming. On stage, Owel performs with a series of lights that enhances the musically experience (while it wasn’t as well received in this venue, it was breath-taking at their Beat Kitchen performance) and makes for a full, well-rounded atmosphere. Owel performed a few tracks from their album titled “Dear Me” and the highlight track of their set was Too Young To Fall In Love off of this record which depicts our society’s fascination with digital love. Owel released an official music video for this track earlier this month which can be found below. I highly suggest checking out Owel if they make a stop in your town any time soon.
Next to take the stage was Hearts Like Lions hailing from Long Beach, California. The band consists of Stephan Ramos, Michael Grasseschi, Luke Schoepf and Nick Sturz. Hearts Like Lions are currently signed to Tooth & Nail Records where they released a full length album titled “If I Never Speak Again” in February of 2017. Hearts Like Lions masterfully mixes the indie rock and alternative rock styles together for a refreshing, unique sound. Their performance this evening was outstanding, balancing a fine line between heart-felt emotional ballads and up-tempo groove jams. Their stage presence and sound was a lot of fun and having never heard of them before that night, they won me over as a die-hard fan. You can check out their recently released video for the song It’s Not Gonna Be This Way off of “If I Never Speak Again” below. For those of you who are impatiently waiting for Season 2 of Stranger Things to be released then this video is perfect for you and will hopefully tide you over till later this year. I was able to grab a copy of their album at the show and would like to do a full album review in the near future so watch out for that.
The next band to warm up the stage was Household from Minneapolis, Minnesota. The band is currently signed to Blood & Ink Records and consists of Joshua Gilbert, Abigail Ruth Olson, Nathanael Olson, Josh Czech and Matthew Anthony. Household falls into the indie-emo realm of bands breaking out over the past few years (in the category of Balance & Composure, Basement, Boston Manor, Citizen, Turnover, etc.) which is right down my alley of bands that I’m into these days. Having never heard of Household until this tour was a bit surprising to me as I tend to have a finger on the pulse of the indie-emo movement but I left their performance pleasantly surprised. The energy and passion exhibited during the set was electric. Household was all over the spectrum, ranging from fast-paced heavy moments to somber peaceful moments and did this all within a second’s notice. Their style and flow is an untamed beast waiting to be caged and then to be released upon the world again. Good luck trying to keep up with their tempo and pace changes. They rattled through tracks off of their full-length album “Time Spent” which was released in September of 2015. Recently, the band released a split with fellow Minnesota natives Infinite Me, so if you are interested in checking out new music by Household I would start there. I desperately hope that the band is working on a full-length release later this year, but I grabbed a copy of “Time Spent” and will spin that until a new release breaks ground. To get a visual of Household, we have linked the video for their song Sway below off of “Time Spent”. I have fallen head over heels in love with this band and can’t wait to see them again when they stop by the Chicagoland area again.
Up to close the night was A Lot Like Birds from Sacramento, California. A Lot Like Birds is comprised of Cory Lockwood, Michael Franzino, Ben Wiacek, Matt Coate and Joseph Arrington. From the moment the band walked onto the stage to the moment they left, I was filled with a sense of wonder and curiosity. Would they play any songs from their prior catalog? Would they discuss their sound change and lineup change? Would they go into detail about the meaning of their songs and how they have been doing since the release of “DIVISI”? While the band didn’t go into any of these questions, I gathered that the band is happy with the path they are currently traveling on and are at a point where they don’t wish to look back any longer but to only forward from here on out. All of the tracks performed this evening were off of their recent album “DIVISI” which was released earlier this month. Cory thanked the crowd for being a part of and supporting the album during its infancy. Witnessing “DIVISI” performed live breathed air into the album, showing its rawness and emotion. The album has a soft, warm side but seeing it live gave it depth and a bit of heaviness. Tracks that appear slow and subtle on the record were played live with a different sense of emotion. The live performance allowed myself and those in attendance to see and hear the album in a different light. To me, seeing A Lot Like Birds performance “DIVISI” was like seeing them for the first time. I gained a new appreciation for tracks like Atoms In Evening, Infinite Chances, Further Below and Good Soil, Bad Seeds after hearing them performed live. I highly recommend that you check this tour out when it stops by your hometown. All of the bands on this tour are amazing and are extremely talented at their craft.
*Disclaimer* We do not own the rights to any images or videos within this review. All images and videos belong to the bands, artists, graphic designers, photographers, videographers, and record labels involved with the images and videos.