Chicago – California indie-pop band Bad Suns hit up Lincoln Hall Monday night for a sold-out show sponsored by Chicago’s 101WKQX. The foursome, made up of vocalist Christo Bowman, bassist Gavin Bennett, guitarist Ray Libby, and drummer Miles Morris, formed in 2012. At first, they struggled to find their place in the world of music, with many people telling them to change their sound and become even more poppy so that they’d make the airwaves and sell records.
The young men stuck to their guns, refusing to mold themselves into something they weren’t. Eventually a label appreciative of Bad Suns’ sound came along. The band signed with Vagrant Records and in 2014 released Language & Perspective. They also found themselves with a chart topping single: “Cardiac Arrest.” Not bad considering they were told they’d never make it! Just one album in, the twenty-somethings are getting plenty of radio play and selling out shows filled with excited fans.
The energetic set started off with the 80s vibing “Transpose.” Bowman instantly took control of the stage and the room. His powerful stare and sturdy voice commanded attention. Bowman wooed the crowd with his dance moves, moving back and forth, and at times singing and dancing alongside Bennett and Libby, exposing smiles and the bond the friends and bandmates share.
Bowman told the crowd this was their first performance in Chicago this year. He recalled Bad Suns’ very first performance in Chicago at Schubas, when they played to a room of ten people. This time around, they were playing for a packed house at Schubas’ larger sister venue. How far they’ve come in such a short time!
The band played every song off their debut Language & Perspective and “20 Years” off their EP Transpose. During “Rearview,” Bowman hollered, “Are you ready to lose control, Chicago?” Screams of yes followed. People began clapping along to the beat and singing, “It feels so far from home / Sunset in the rearview / Losing your control.” Suddenly balloons appeared and with the help of fans, bounced around with the beat. Later Bowman walked back and forth at the edge of the stage, giving fans high-fives and shaking hands, before falling back into the crowd and surfing around, still singing with his microphone in hand
The guys left the stage after playing their hit single “Cardiac Arrest,” but they soon returned for a two song encore of “We Move Like The Ocean” and “Salt.” Bowman asked fans, “Are you ready to dance?” The hall swelled with cheers. He shouted back, “I hope you brought your dancing shoes!” There was no trying to get their feet off the ground; the music called for it, and so they danced.
U.K. band Coasts started the night off with their electric pop music. The band has been touring in support of their latest EP A Rush Of Blood, which features the singles “A Rush Of Blood” and “Oceans,” which have begun to hit U.S. airwaves. Vocalist Chris Caines, guitarist Liam Willford, bassist James Gamage, keyboardist David Goulbourn, and drummer Ben Street were excited to be performing in Chicago for the first time. In their excitement, Caines shared their wonderful news: They’ll be back in Chicago this summer playing Lollapalooza. The Englishmen will also be playing Coachella in April. Given their festival schedules and recent radio play, it is safe to say we’ll be seeing and hearing much more from Coasts in the near future!
Bad Suns continue their U.S. tour through February. They’ll also be playing Coachella. Click HERE for a list of tour dates. Language & Perspective is available for purchase on iTunes.
Bad Suns live by Sarah Hess
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.