Kris here from UIC Radio’s show Beyond the Barrier, here to tell you about my lovely Sunday at Chicago’s own Bottom Lounge; it was a throwback for sure. I had the chance of photographing and reviewing Cartel’s tour that marks the 10 year anniversary of their album Chroma. This was surreal to me that it’s been ten years already since this album came out. They are joined with bands likes Driver Friendly, TEAM, and Hit the Lights on this nationwide tour (which many dates are sold out, just a heads up).
I made my way over to the Bottom Lounge and saw a large amount of people already there, so I quickly made my way up to the front. The first band I checked out was a band I actually have heard of and played a bit of their music on my radio show earlier that day. Driver Friendly is a band from Austin, Texas that consists of five guys who definitely like to have fun on stage. When I arrived they were nearing the end of their stage time (bummer for me), but I felt like I was at Warped Tour. They are a band that has energy (lots of it), you can see their passion, they have some pretty rocking music, and I just really liked them. You can expect me to play more of their music on Beyond the Barrier.
The next band I have actually heard of and had met them at CMJ this past year. It was at Big Picture Media’s showcase when I was told that I should stick around to see them; glad I did. Their album Good Morning Bad Day has been on my show’s playlist for quite some time and it never gets old; their name is TEAM. As they took the stage, it was really great to see the front man Caleb conversing with some fans in the front of the stage. Of course they needed to set up but it always warms my heart to see bands take that quick minute to do stuff like that. Their set began and I could see that they were winning over the crowd. I eavesdrop at shows, but only to hear people’s thoughts on bands, then I tune out. Nevertheless I could hear some people talking and starting to note down their name.
Two things happened during their set that really blew the crowd’s mind. First, Caleb mentioned how he was in Forever the Sickest Kids, which had everyone googling (really funny to see). And two, Will Pugh (Cartel) came to the stage to sing alongside the band. The guys put on a great set and I can’t wait to see them come by Chicago again.
Oh Hit the Lights, it seems like almost a lifetime ago since I last saw them live. I also kind of forgot how energetic their fans can be, which is great just not so much for my camera (my own fault). As they came on stage the crowd started cheering and something in the air told “brace you”.
Summer Bones is the name of their latest album; it’s pretty darn awesome as they opened up with their single off that album “Fucked Up Kids”. It wasn’t along until fans were jumped, dancing, and all sorts of craziness occurred; but they are that kind of band that gets you going. Fans were singing along and making their way to the front of the stage, the intensity grew. Their entire set was like that which was amazing to see a band keep that up. Their set ended with them playing a song that I remember hearing the last time I saw them live… “body bag”. How can you not get amped up during that song? Hit the Lights will make their way around the country again (not Chicago, sorry y’all) with Chunk No Captain Chunk, so catch them while you can.
Oh the moment the crowd has been waiting for was approaching. Cartel was up next and their fans were more than excited to finally see them.
“Since 7th grade, I’ve been listening to them and hearing them now brings me back” said Hayley Younce a 20 year old who traveled from Michigan to see the show. She said if the band was to see this article she would want to them to know this. “It was a great opportunity to see them in the past and now the present. Of course, I still love their music.”
Other fans had things to chime in as well, like Catherine Hoffman a 25 year old who was enjoying the show as a birthday gift from one of her best friends.
“They have good lyrics and music, that’s rare in music.” Her words to the band if they saw this article: “Thank you for getting me through high school!”
As the band took the stage, their fans roared and screamed for them, I looked over and saw Catherine embrace her best friend as they both soaked in the moment. Cartel began their set and wow it was kickass! Their show’s production added to the energy of the crowd, who waited so patiently for them to take the stage. Fans sang their lungs out to each and every song. The band interacted so well with the crowd; you could see the appreciation they had for having such fans. Cartel’s show was truly something special because it meant so much. It wasn’t just an anniversary of an album but the symbol of how music can leave such a lasting impact… an impact that can last years.
Be sure to check out our gallery of photos from the show here!
Photo Credit & Story : Kris Fuentes Cortes