• Live Reviews

A Lull at Schubas Tavern on Feb. 12

written by: on February 15, 2012

Chicago’s experimental darlings toured the country for a month, but at their homecoming show on Feb. 12, frontman Nigel Dennis confessed to the late-night audience that there is no better city.

With an artillery of instruments that left little room on Schubas’ cozy stage for the guys to move around, it’s obvious A Lull’s members have no clear-cut assignments. There are what appear to be two drummers, a guitarist, a bassist and Dennis as guitarist-and-frontman, but once the music starts it’s rather a quintet of multi-instrumentalists.

With as many arms flying and balls in the air as the cover of 2011’s Confetti illustrates, the group had a carefully orchestrated way of getting carried away in each song while keeping the sound firmly grounded.

When the trenchant percussion of “Mammals” kicked in, Aaron Vincel and Ashwin Deepankar executed at the precision of a Swiss watch. Mike Brown switched between guitar and flute during “Dark Stuff.” Dennis kept a stand of indistinguishable tools and gadgets next to the mic, each of which remained unseen until the moment he needed each of them—and the bag of tricks kept spilling throughout the set.

Though touring returned a seasoned band, A Lull still made themselves at home with the audience. The evening saw them dedicating Modest Mouse song “The World At Large” to a friend, carrying light banter between numbers and indulging in Confetti’s two singles, the equally addictive “Weapons for War” and “Some Love.”

Let’s not forget the topical morsels of the evening, which included Dennis checking his mic with one-liners from Whitney Houston hits, and asking the audience if they caught the 2012 Grammys, which was being shown in the venue’s front bar.

The set was heavy on their full-length debut, which was released in spring of 2011, playing “Sidemen” and “Phem,” among others, but the band dropped two new songs between “The World At Large” and “Some Love.” After the crowd successfully pulled the group back to the stage for an encore, A Lull pulled out their recently released, tense-yet-disarming rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.”

View the full photo set by Andy Keil


 A Lull at Schubas Tavern on Feb. 12 set list:

  1. “Mammals”
  2. “Dark Stuff”
  3. “Sidemen”
  4. “Phem”
  5. “The World At Large” (Modest Mouse cover)
  6. “Not About It” [new song]
  7. “Still Got Pull” [new song]
  8. “Some Love”
  9. “Aytche”
  10. “Weapons for War”


  1. “I’m On Fire” (Bruce Springsteen cover)
  2. “Potluck”