Wombo & PACKS / Smut

Thu Oct 21 2021 at 08:30 pm to Fri Oct 22 2021 at 12:30 am UTC-05:00

The Empty Bottle | Chicago

Empty Bottle
Publisher/HostEmpty Bottle
Wombo & PACKS \/ Smut Doors: 730PM // Show: 830PM
About this Event

$10 // 21+

WOMBO

The weird world of Wombo is a kaleidoscopic journey of sharp turns and surprising visions, a melting pot of influences with a cheeky cheshire-cat grin that coalesce into a trippy but infinite universe, a portal into their unique vantage point without limitation. Already committed to living outside the traditionally-heralded country sound of the music scene in their hometown of Louisville Kentucky, Sydney Chadwick (vocals) and Cameron Lowe (guitar) had previously played in punk pop band the Debauchees, and with the addition of Joel Taylor (drums) in 2016 they found a winning combination of more straightforward indie rock combined with Chadwick’s pitched up, oscillating vocals and unpredictable shifts in melody that see the band moving forward at an impressive pace. Their 2018 album Blossomlooksdownuponus is a snapshot of Wombo’s wide-ranging aspirations that careen across avant pop, psych and wonky post punk interludes with a sky’s-the-limit approach to translating the mundanity of regular life into their own high-frequency language.

In a generation where pop has come to be defined as anything but, Wombo have spearheaded their own definitive sound that avoids genre classification but is impossible not to tap your foot along to. “Usually if the babies like it, we like it”, admits Chadwick, and it speaks to the band’s bass-driven song structures that pivot through a whirlwind of instrumentation at rapid speeds that they are still able to land on a winning formula that strikes the sweet spot between effervescent overload and razor sharp intention. In 2019, the band toured with White Reaper, Dehd and The Nude Party, bands whose affinity and dedication to strange experimentation have won them fans across a wider audience, and Wombo are poised to follow suit. In a careful balance where no one instrument overwhelms, Chadwick’s vocals are the cherry on top of a decadent dessert that explodes with personality and ingenuity.

PACKS

Toronto’s PACKS make music that’s like leafing through a diary entry of a time without visible movement, a subtle beauty that appears only when paying close attention. A series of intriguing, lo-fi singles trickled out on Bandcamp, and on the strength of these demos alone the band began sharing stages with artists such as Odetta Hartman. Less a band that is a product of the internet than one whose quiet and acute observations make them impossible to be ignored, the quartet led by Madeline Link has carved out a growing space past the Canadian country lines where their initial demos were born. Written in two different settings, between the city limits of Toronto where Link was living in 2019, and the Ottawa suburbs where she was quarantined with her parents in the spring 2020, both remain complementary emblems of self-reflection and wry observation of the mundanity of daily life.

“The album is a meeting of old and new,” says Link. “Old songs from a year ago where I'm having really horrifyingly awful days at work, getting doored while biking in Toronto and flying into the middle of the street, or going on dates with guys who I'm either instantly in love with, or who end up creeping me out a bit. Those songs are more packed with that feeling of hurtling-through-time-and-space-at-breakneck-speed, manic energy. The newer songs are infused with a foggier, slower-paced disillusionment, and deal with the strangeness of a reality morphing before my eyes every day. I still try to be optimistic obviously, but these songs are really glorified coping mechanisms.”

Initially a solo songwriting project of Link’s that she pursued between gigs as a set dresser for commercials, the band blossomed into a four piece, composed of Shane Hooper (drums), Noah O’Neil (bass), and Dexter Nash (lead guitar). Anchored by Link’s voice, which brings such an easy charm to her songs that it’s easy to miss her keen ear for acrobatic vocal lines, together they turn Link’s melodically adventurous and introspective songs into the purest and brightest kind of indie rock. The band’s debut is a collection of songs that marry the loose but incisive jangle of early Pavement with the barbed sweetness of Sebadoh and the wide-eyed wonder of the first Shins LP.

It’s an enchanting record with a transportive quality. The songs communicate Link’s perspective acutely, with details that stand out in their specificity yet feel naturally at ease with melody and a loose charm that make the album feel timeless, like one that could have emerged from any of a number of “golden ages of indie rock.” PACKS’ songs have a way of creeping up on you, and showing new depth with each listen. Be it a subtle harmony, a zig-zagging melodic turn, or Link’s lyrics, which wring a commandeering poetry out of every-day building-blocks as she navigates the growing pains that linger beyond adolescence — finding your bearings after a breakup, feeling directionless, processing loss. “My guts are wrapped in clingfilm / my guts are wrapped up tight / and if you’re going to put me in your backpack I will putrefy” goes a particularly arresting lyric on “Clingfilm,” articulately describing in Link’s own incisive language the alienating experience of dating after a break-up Each razor-sharp nugget of wry wisdom depicts its own scene of sonic touchstones: on the dreamy “U Can Wish All You Want,” she sings about moving in with her sister and struggling to adjust to living in the city around a neatly subverted butterfly metaphor, where on “Two Hands” she poignantly describes the eeriness of walking around the neighborhood she grew up in after the world has changed around it, while in the same turn referencing the Simpsons.


Beginning Monday, August 9

Empty Bottle will require all staff, patrons, and performers to provide :

Proof of full vaccination

OR

A negative COVID-19 test performed within the previous 72 hours prior to entry.

Hard copies, photocopies, or digital photos of the above are acceptable.

Masks will be worn by staff at all times and will be required of all attendees when not eating or drinking — regardless of vaccination status.

We’re applying these requirements to all shows through Oct 31, 2021 and will update the policy as needed or as new guidance requires.

This is a very difficult time for everyone to navigate and we understand that you may be frustrated. We are as well. Please bear with us as we try to keep our staff, artists, patrons, and the City of Chicago safe -- as best we can. Remember that we are all going through this together as a community, and we can beat this if we work together as a community.

RESOURCES

vaccines.gov

dph.illinois.gov/testing

[email protected]

Event Venue & Nearby Stays

The Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western Avenue, Chicago, United States

Tickets

USD 10.00

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