Eisley — Lincoln Hall, Chicago

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Eisley at Lincoln Hall, Chicago — The Mild, Mild Midwest Tour — June 30, 2010

Eisley is a family band, led by sisters Chauntelle, Sherri and Stacy DuPree. Their brother Weston plays drums, and their cousin Garron takes on the bass. People tend to focus on this fact, when the focus should be on Eisley’s music. Sure, it’s cool that they’re related and don’t go all Noel and Liam on each other, but beyond the charms of a family band lies a rock band that’s ready to unleash their true creativity. If only they could capture their live sound…

The band wasn’t necessarily energetic at Lincoln Hall. To be fair, though, they’ve never been a band that you go to see for on-stage antics or crazy live shows. You go to soak in the angelic harmonies and playful, whimsical lyrics. You go to experience the buzz of the guitars, the hum of the Rhodes and the intermingling rhythm… you go to hear Eisley the way they’re meant to be heard.

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The band was tired — they admitted it, and it did show a bit. Sherri carried the banter throughout the entire show, save for a sentence or two spoken in a hushed voice by Stacy. But they’re always gracious. They adore their fans, and they’re simply happy to be making a living by playing music together. And the fans adore them right back.

The audience sang along to every word of favorites like “Telescope Eyes” and “I Wasn’t Prepared.” Old-school tune and live staple “Mr. Pine” made an appearance, only to make me wish they’d re-record it and release it on an album. Such a great song. Once again: such a great song.

Sherri and Stacy carry the majority of the vocals. Their harmonies never cease to amaze me — they flow from quiet and haunting to soaring and dynamic with ease. Chauntelle did sing once, in “I Will Be There for You.” And as always, her vocals were welcomed with encouraging claps and “woo”s. (Sing more, Chauntelle!)

New songs “The Valley,” “Sad” and “Ambulance” all sounded fantastic. It makes me even more excited for the new album, whenever it will arrive. (The band recently left Warner Bros. records, and Sherri said they wouldn’t comment on the situation, “But Warner Brothers sucks,” she speedily and playfully added.) Oh, snap!

The boys stayed in back, mostly out of the lights. Weston and Garron carried the rhythm section with ease and let the girls do their thing on the front of the stage. Garron even put the bass down to provide the marxophone during the dreamy — and yes, also fan favorite, “Combinations,” which was as full and moving as ever. Stacy even stepped aside from her organ/keyboard to pick up a guitar for “Sad,” which was a fun departure from their typical song formula.

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When the new album does come out, one can only hope that the band has finally found a way to bring that live vibe to a recording. They’ve gotten close — Combinations was definitely more lush and ambitious than Room Noises. But so far, nothing is comparable to the live environment… but maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be — to see Eisley live is a “Marvelous Thing.”

SETLIST:
Golly Sandra
The Valley
Many Funerals
Mr. Pine
Come Clean
Memories
I Could Be There for You
Tree Tops
Telescope Eyes
Marvelous Things
I Wasn’t Prepared
Sad
One Day I Slowly Floated Away
Combinations
Go Away
Brightly Wound
Invasion
Lost at Sea
Ambulance

Photos by Emily Jorgensen

tags: chicago, eisley, lincoln hall

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