Chicago – If you haven’t heard, Chicagoans love a good street festival. There’s nothing better than taking in some people watching over a nice cold beer while listening to some of your favorite local bands just blocks from your home. This past weekend in Rogers Park, two up and coming Chicago bands played the Glenwood Ave Arts Fest. White Mystery and Twin Peaks were ecstatic to be supporting their neighborhood and performing in front of their friends, family, and neighbors. Chicago music lovers and RP residents were just as excited to see two beloved local DIY rock and roll bands play for free on a beautiful summer evening.
White Mystery is a sibling duo comprised of guitarist Miss Alex White and drummer Francis Scott Key White. The two have developed a cult following with their psychedelic rock and are known for their wild shows and curly red hair. This April White Mystery released their fourth LP Dubble Dragon. On Saturday Alex and Francis played plenty of songs off the album, like “Unteddy” and the title track, during which Alex and Francis swapped places. Alex sat behind Francis’ drum kit while wailing on guitar while Francis jumped into the crowd, reciting his singsong monologue from “Dubble Dragon.” The crowd ate it up and rightly so; they put on quite the show.
Their antics have increased tenfold since I first saw them play years ago at The Hideout. The White siblings took me back to that night, playing oldies like “Telepathic,” “Secret Garden,” and “Blood & Venom.” At one point, Alex hit the pavement, shredding her guitar as she sprawled in front of the stage. Her signature red locks blew in the breeze as she lay, knees bent, encircled by fans. Miss White is a master on guitar and one of the best female guitarists around, who at times also happens to sound a lot like the legendary Janis Joplin.
Towards the end of their set, Francis got a little serious. He spoke into his mic: “This song’s called ‘People Power.’ It’s about the power of the people. Hold on to your power! Don’t let anyone take it from you!” He then began beating his drums and whipping his hair around. The Twin Peaks boys watched from the side of stage, cheering him on. When their set was finished, Francis threw a cracked cymbal to the ground. Cadien Lake James hobbled over on his crutches to give it a final beating, putting his weight down on it, blue cast and all.
By the time the sun started to set, the North end of Glenwood Avenue was packed liked sardines. Hoards of teenagers and twenty-somethings gathered to see Twin Peaks. Alex and Francis watched from behind the stage, their faces gleaming with pride for the boys they took under their wings. Having just returned from tour, Clay Frankel, Jack Dolan, Connor Brodner, and Cadien were happy to be home among friends. This month the garage rockers released their sophomore album Wild Onion, which has been praised by critics and garnered comparisons to early Rolling Stones to The Beach Boys.
It was amazing to see Clay, Jack, and Cadien singing as a redline train whizzed by. In that moment, the EL, the fans, the breeze coming off Lake Michigan, and the Twin Peaks dudes embodied everything that is Chicago. The guys had the crowd moshing around all night to songs like “Flavor” and “I Found A New Way.” Towards the south end of Glenwood, people stood on tables to get a better view. Others watched from rooftops.
Twin Peaks performed just a few weeks ago at Pitchfork, thrashing around the main stage and tossing broken guitar pieces into the crowd. This time around, the only heavy object tossed into the crowd was Mr. Dolan. At the end of their set, Jack jumped into the crowd and surfed a sea of hands. Girls squealed in delight. Jack smiled ear to ear.
White Mystery and Twin Peaks performances at the Glenwood Ave Arts Fest were the perfect way to close out the summer!
White Mystery is finishing up their Dubble Dragon World Tour. Click HERE to view tour dates. Dubble Dragon is available for purchase on iTunes. Wild Onion can also be purchased online by clicking HERE. Twin Peaks will be hitting the road again come September. You can view a list of tour dates on their facebook.
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.