As far as shtick is concerned, Twin Peaks’ Lincoln Hall performance had plenty of it, which was expected given that the performance took place on the eve of Halloween. With fog rolling off the stage and into the crowd, the band emerged fully costumed. Dressed in baseball garb and black and white face paint, they played the entire show looking like The Baseball Furies, a villainous street gang from classic 1979 film The Warriors. The paint did not last very long, washed away by sweat over the course of an utterly electric set. Not once was there a dull moment, rather the energy and intensity that started the set was merely superseded by the end of the night. The most relaxed point of the performance was during a surprise guest appearance—a mysterious, hooded saxophonist joined Twin Peaks on stage to play an extended smooth and tasty solo, which had such a pleasantly distracting novelty to it.
There was one break in the magic, however. Amid all the crowd surfing and stage diving, guitarist Clay Frankel’s instrument cable managed to rip, forcing him to walk off stage in search of a replacement. The rest of the band, in a display of instinct and talent, broke out into an impromptu performance of Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” and kept the audience’s attention by handing them a vocal mic to sing along. This was undoubtedly a great save. Unfortunately, this also brought attention to the outrageous stage diving happening in the cramped venue, which was barely attended to by the stage crew. The band, of course, cannot be faulted for this, and were later appropriately rowdy in celebration of drummer Connor Brodner’s birthday, leading the crowd in “Happy Birthday” before nailing Brodner in the face with a cake.
Twin Peaks has evolved a lot since the band’s days in the high school indie circuit. And despite all the newfound attention, just as the curtain began to close and the house lights were brought up, all four members rushed back on the stage to appease the crowd’s request for one more song. “We actually never do encores,” Cadien James admitted as he re-fastened his guitar strap, “But it’s Chicago.”
Prior to the raucous headliner, the bulk of the audience meandered in as Ne-Hi took the stage and provided a performance full of catchy tunes that were well-received by the majority of the audience. Ne-Hi’s stage presence was so excruciatingly awkward that watching the band was a constant struggle. The drummer’s discomfort was apparent, as he sat with perfect posture, keeping every muscle but his hands completely tense and still. The rest of the band was almost comically juxtaposed as they stood with buckled knees and showcased “hip” dance moves. Later, it became clear that being awkward is simply Ne-Hi’s gimmick, not necessarily the best one, but that might not matter, because the songs were enjoyable–so much so that it would have beneficial to be introduced to the group through its discography (which I promptly listened to afterward) rather than a performance.
Setting the mood for the night was opening lo-fi punk band Flesh Panthers. The bassist played the first few songs with his back to the audience—a clinical side effect of spending too much time in the practice room and not enough time on stage. He may have been going for a Miles Davis, “It’s all about the music, man” thing, but it came off as unprofessional. And, as a garage punk band, you have a responsibility to entertain a crowd that legendary jazz trumpeters can afford to shirk. With that said, the first surprise of the night came from the frontman’s impressive guitar work. He expressed brief moments of musicality that one would not immediately associate with any subgenre containing the word “garage.” In fact, his playing was often so uncharacteristic that it conflicted with the rest of the band; at times it was hard to hear the melody over the overwhelming wall of fuzz. Still, the efforts to set Flesh Panthers apart from the countless other acts in their genre were appreciated. The crowd was sparse at this point, unfortunately, as the band put together a rowdy, energetic set that fell to an almost empty room.
- “Strawberry Smoothie”
- “I Found A New Way”
- “Baby Blue”
- “Strange World / Stranger World”
- “Natural Villain”
- “Sloop Jay D”
- “Stand by Me” (Ben E. King cover)
- “Out of Commission”
- “Hold On”
- “Fade Away”
- “Happy Birthday to You” (The Pointer Sisters cover)
- “Making Breakfast”
- “Fast Eddie”