Last week Midwest emo legends American Football played four shows in Chicago, IL. BurnFM’s Marita Farruggia was lucky enough to attend one of the two shows held at Bottom Lounge.
Originally formed in Champaign, IL back in 1997, American Football only put out one EP (in 1998) and one LP (in 1999), both self-titled. The band ceased activity not long after the release of their full-length album. Like many great bands, American Football never really got the acclaim they deserved while active. However their music has steadily been gaining popularity since they dissolved. In the meantime, frontman Mike Kinsella has gained notice for his many other projects, including Owen and Their / They’re / There. Fast-forward to spring of 2014; American Football surprised fans by announcing a deluxe re-release of their self-titled LP along with several live shows.
As was expected, the show was completely sold out and eager fans were queued down the block despite the harsh weather. As it was the night before New Year’s, everyone seemed to be in a party mood. Braid [8/10], also from Champaign, started the night off. They opened up with ‘Bang’ off their new album No Coast, their first full-length in 16 years. Overall, Braid’s live sound was solid and the crowd seemed to be enjoying them. Their set was fairly diverse, though understandably heavy on tracks from No Coast.
The scene was appropriately set for American Football’s [10/10] set with low-lighting and a backdrop of their famous LP cover. Just as the band was about to come on stage, a funny audience member perfected the moment by shouting: “I can’t wait to cry!” Though crowd was a mix of people old enough to have attended American Football’s shows back in the day and younger fans, everyone seemed equally excited to be at the show. They opened up with ‘Five Silent Miles.’ The original members were joined by Mike Kinsella’s cousin, Nate Kinsella, on bass. Before the show, I wondered how the band would do the distinctive trumpet parts live. I was excited to see that drummer Steve Lamos actually played the trumpet live and used a looping pedal to keep it going while he drummed. The band saved the best songs for last, coming back on stage for a 2-song encore of ‘The Summer Ends’ and ‘Never Meant.’
Overall, the show was fantastic and a great way to ring out 2014. It was really exciting to see Braid and American Football, two bands who have been hugely influential over the emo genre, play on the same stage. American Football have a number of already completely sold out shows in the UK coming up in May. This will mark their first time playing as a band in Europe. Hopefully they will continue to play shows, and maybe even come to Birmingham.