Three encores later and just shy of 2 hours of straight music playing, Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers (Sk6ers) played their last notes to close out an amazing first of two nights at Lincoln Hall in Chicago this past Saturday. Having been to several Sk6ers shows in the past I knew I would have a great night, but this show topped all of my expectations; which were very high to start with. This show not only impressed me for a Sk6ers show, but for all shows in general ,which is saying a lot considering that in the past two years I have seen several hundred bands.
Stephen is a story teller. Each song stems mostly from his own life experiences which is apparent in the lyrics. A perk of attending a live show is listening to him add a little history to some songs that, without fail, adds to my appreciation to that song. There is a sense of ease and free flow form to the shows, a sense that no two are the same. This is enhanced this tour by graphic, limited city posters which seemed popular amongst fans, myself included.
This particular show made me remember how talented this group of guys really are, each playing several instruments, in addition to being able to switch at a moments notice. In one of the three encores Stephen dubbed us a “Goose crowd” that night meaning we love Kit aka Goose who is the piano, tuba, bass and if the crowd is special enough, or at least I like to think so, a dancer/keytar player. Luckily, because of this crowd’s Goose love, the band played “Thirteen” which at this point in their career I can say is a Sk6ers classic. Along with the song we were privileged enough to see Goose dance and hear a story of Sk’s brother who happens to have gone to college in Chicago and now lives here. Every year each story gets more informative, hilarious, and slightly inappropriate.
The song that surprised and impressed me the most was “Shady Esperanto and the Young Hearts”.This song being the first single off their last release The Bear, had drawn attention. When filming the music video, they enlisted the help of a full blown choreographed college marching band. Impressive, but as a song, it has never been on my top 5 list; that may have changed after Saturday. All members of the band ventured into the audience to play a completely acoustic version, no mics, no amps, just the boys, the crowd, and a sense that this is one of those “singular kinds of moments that you will remember as long as you live”.
Overall, as a band these guys continue to impress, never let me down, and evolve before my eyes year after year. Go catch a show and make some friends, as a whole Sk6ers fans are overly friendly, clap, sing and dance a little or a lot, and make sure to participate in the “Big Easy” dance.
The Sk6ers are currently on tour with Jon Mclaughin check the website for tour dates, as well as our site for my interview with Stephen about music, life and their new release "Gift Horse" which comes out tomorrow October 11, 2011.
All photos (c) Daniela Montelongo