Chicago – The Windy City took a voyage back in time with ASTR, thanks to a heavy dose of modern nostalgia. Singer Zoe Silverman and producer Adam Pallin started dishing out 90s inspired electro-R&B when they formed ASTR in 2012. After some Internet hype, the New Yorkers signed with Neon Gold and released the EP Varsity. In a recent interview, Zoe gave BestNewBands.com the 411 on their Crystal Arcade Tour with The Knocks, so you know I had to catch the twosome at Concord Music Hall this past weekend in Chicago. ASTR brought the heat!
A sick beat started to thump. Adam held a look of deep focus. His brown hair stood tall above his keys and synths. Lights began to flash blue and green. Zoe came skipping out, ready to get the party started. Her red hair whipped around as she jumped up and down. She began to sing “We Fall Down.” She danced around the stage like a firecracker. Her arms and ponytail flew in every direction. A fiery energy burnt through the crowd. Bodies began to move. Zoe sang, “I’ve been bled out in the crowd / What the hell I been waiting for / Paved my troubles in the ground.” Those words were a sign of what was to come. People danced their worries away and took a trip down memory lane.
Zoe and Adam filled the room with smiles with the 90s heavy “Blue Hawaii.” People shook their bottoms. A few excited men vogued to the left of the stage. The sampling of Black Box’s “Everybody Everybody” thrilled almost as much as their cover of the Ready for the World song “Love You Down,” made popular in the 90s when INOJ covered it. However, original songs like “Razor” and “Operate” were what really had the Concord going wild. A scan of the room exposed moments of sheer happiness. Faces glowed. Hips gyrated. ASTR made quite the impression. Yes, Zoe has a remarkable stage presence, but what I found most admirable about ASTR was the effect they had on the crowd. Folks genuinely seemed lost in the moment, loving everything about life for the night. Watching music overcome people is a beautiful sight.
The duo threw in the Drake cover that created some well-deserved buzz for them awhile back. The audience whistled when they realized what was coming. People snapped their fingers along with Zoe to “Hold On We’re Going Home.” At the end of the song, Zoe flashed a wide, spunky smile and with a honeyed voice sang, “Cuz I’m a good girl and you know it.” ASTR ended the night with “R U With Me.” Fans sang along with Zoe: “As long as we’ve got each other, we could be so much better.” Before leaving the stage, Zoe shouted: “Thank you, Chicago. We love you. You’re the shit!”
ASTR prove that as long as you have their killer beats and modern nostalgia, the night will be so much better.
(Photos by Sarah Hess: smhimaging.com)
After attending The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Sarah went on to study education at Dominican University, earning a degree in history. When not teaching, writing, or taking in a show, she is most likely to be found with a camera to her eye or hanging out in a darkroom.
You can follow Sarah Hess on twitter at @Sarahhasanh and view her music photography on her website: smhimaging.com.