Colony Park, a three-piece indie-pop band from Chicago, opened for Ashtray Boy at the Empty Bottle Oct. 11, playing a short set of ’80s inspired jangly guitar pop. Hailing from a carpet-walled, cluttered practice space in Logan Square, the band has only recently started playing out. This was their third show at the Empty Bottle.
Their sound fills a niche in the Chicago scene left vacant for quite some time. Songwriter Eric Van Orman’s voice brings to mind Dean Warham’s (Galaxie 500) boyish croon, and his12-string guitar playing recalls the sound of songsmith Martin Newell (Cleaners From Venus). Their sound borders on the baroque, with emotive major-minor chord changes and a not-over-the-top grandeur, striking a provoking contrast with their unproduced, raw effort. Bassist Alex Philbrick and drummer Mike Carter form a solid backbone for Van Orman’s songwriting. Philbrick has a tuneful, melodic approach to his bass lines, walking up and down the fretboard of his Specimen bass. Carter’s cymbal washes and footwork fill in the upper and lower registers tastefully.
While Ashtray Boy drew its typically small but loyal following, the buzz percolating through the Bottle was catalyzed by Colony Park’s sharing of the stage. And after the opening act, The Canon Logic, finished their set, people began scrambling for views.
Which is understandable.
Sightings of Colony Park, at the moment, are far too rare—which won’t last for long. For a new band with as fresh of a sound as Park, it’s just a matter of time before they become a Chicago fixture.
For now, it’s fun just to watch them begin their climb.
The band has released a cassette single available at Saki Records for $2, and it includes the songs “By The Gate” and “Never Say A Word,” which were played at the show.