Another Night at Metro, Chicago

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By Kat Li

It's been a little over a month since my last visit to Metro, several papers and midterms past, but getting off that same Red Line stop it felt as if no time had gone by at all. The academic workload can do that to you (not going to lie, I did bring Plato with me). After a dinner of Thai food and mango bubble tea at The Cozy Noodle, as well as a bit of wandering in and out of video game and frozen yogurt shops in the neighborhood, it was time to head over to Metro.


The Cozy Noodle is an adorable Thai food place just a block south of Metro. Wacky decorations but the friendliest hosts around. Get the Pad See Ewe, it's delicious.
It was a thinner crowd than the Grizzly Bear and Beach House show, but the people seemed just as filled with anticipation. There was luxurious standing room, and as Final Fantasy played their opening set, the theatrical lights had space between the bodies to reflect off the floor. Their set consisted mostly of unrecorded or unreleased songs, but Owen Pallett's chaotic looping style was present throughout the entire performance. The crowd stood silent but captivated as the shadows of the two members of Final Fantasy played largely on the stage behind them.

The performance was varied and unpredictable; there was shouting and drumming on toms, whispering and tumbling loop-recordings, dialogue and dancing. But the set was short, and much of the audience was left wishing they could have heard the familiar string and pop songs that had been stuck in their heads since listening to "This is the Dream of Win and Regime" and "Furniture" for the first time. The new stuff was definitely different, much less pop and much more tumbling bass and tom, but  stays true to the same innovative theatrical chaos and focus on violin that attracts so many music-lovers.

The Mountain Goats came on with a surprising amount of robustness, at least, surprising to me. I remembered their music as very down-to-earth and minimalist in song-writing style, always bringing back memories of quiet road-tripping with friends through the farm and mountain towns of the northwest. But instead, they started their set with the standard, heavy rhythm and bass, nothing too different from the mainstream "rock" with downbeats and a chorus. The crowd was predominantly young people, all of whom seemed to have looked up and memorized every lyric before showing up at the venue. Throughout the set, I could hear the annunciation of the lyrics on all sides, and looking around every mouth was opening and closing in time to the song. No one cared that the lead singer looked like a middle-aged Google employee and the bassist was dressed to chaperone a senior prom, or that their blazers didn't quite match their Southern accents. The crowd was filled with energy and love for this band, and it was a spirit somewhat incomprehensible to me.

Final Fantasy's set up. It felt more like we were watching a theater production than a concert... in the most amazing way.

It's always hard to see a nostalgic band of yours lose it's original appeal. In this case, the band had changed a lot since recordings I'd kept, and it seemed everybody else had changed along with them. All of the character that I had loved in the first albums seemed lost in the heavy rock of their performance. But the music coming in and out of Chicago always has something for everybody, whether it's old or new, filled with character or lost to you.

Upcoming Shows:
Peter, Bjorn, and John at Metro, Thursday November 12th, 18+
Dirty Projectors at Bottom Lounge, Friday November 13th, 18+

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