Chill on the Hill 2015 Part III: Five Hundredth Year, Kaleido, The Struts, Civil Twilight, Robert DeLong, and The Glorious Sons
I felt like I was still defrosting from day one of Chill on the Hill when we arrived at the venue for day two. Thankfully it was already significantly warmer and the sun was shining brightly. I was still feeling that concert high from the previous day and was excited to see what day two had to offer.
After catching some sun on the hill, it was time to head down and catch the winner of this year’s ‘Get on the Bill for Chill on the Hill’ competition, Five Hundredth Year. I was set to interview the band later in the day so I was anxious to check out their live set after spending some time with their new EP, A Rose from Ashes. The start of day crowd seemed to be smaller than the previous day but it seemed to be filled with fans of the band which is always a good sign for an opener. To say that the band had a lot of energy would be an understatement. Lead singer John Pampreen and keyboardist Mike Heil especially brought their ‘A’ games to the stage, both jumping into the crowd a few times, in Heil’s case literally stage diving into the crowd, to make sure that everyone was there to participate.
The next band to take the small stage over was also a Detroit native. Kaleido has been rapidly growing their fan base over the last couple of years and I was interested in seeing what all the fuss was about. The crowd in front of the small stage had grown a little over Five Hundredth Year’s set and exploded with applause as Kaleido took the stage. They opened their set with some Guns ‘N Roses influenced rock tracks before sliding into a more pop infused sound. We were even treated to a new track co-written with Alien Ant Farm, who Kaleido toured with last year, called “Love and War.” Lead singer, Christina Chriss, oozes stage presence and charisma. She chatted with the crowd between belting out some impressive tracks reminding me a bit of Gwen Stefani with just a touch of P!nk thrown in. It was easy to see what all the hype was about, Chriss and company put on a fantastic live show and if they can continue to do so it will only be a matter of time before they make it to the headliner spot.
British quartet, The Struts, kicked off the big stage with a bang. The slowly filling amphitheater couldn’t seem to get enough of lead singer Luke Spiller as he flashed around the stage, dancing and jumping into the crowd like a mad man. “Are you ready to break us in Detroit?” Spiller screamed after informing us that this was the first time the band was playing Detroit before launching into “Kiss This.” Spiller seemed to love interacting with the crowd and having them respond back. At one point he had the people in the pit turn to one another and ask if they were “ready to dance baby.” I was a fan of the band before but find myself loving them much more after seeing their live show. Spiller closed the show out by jumping into the crowd and asking them to get down on the ground sans mic so all of us hanging on the lawn couldn’t hear him. We were able to hear the screams of response the pit gave, each louder than the one before. After seeing their live show I would have to say that if you have a chance to see The Struts live, take it.
Civil Twilight is another band that I had listened to on and off for years now and was excited to see what they had to offer in their live show. There were quite a few people packed around the small stage when I made my way over and the band took the stage. I haven’t listened to the band’s new album, Story of an Immirgant, yet but I knew that hearing some of the tracks live would make me appreciate the album more when I finally did give it a spin. The Cape Town foursome kicked off their set with the beachy vibes of “When, When,” making everyone almost forget the chill of fall in the air. What the people who showed up at the small stage were treated to was a chill, intimate feeling set that had just about everyone bouncing along and falling even more in love with Civil Twilight. Lead singer Steven McKellar kept the crowd entertained between tracks joking about how they were not used to such cold weather and the smell of some herbs that floated through the air while the band was playing the new album’s title track. I’m hoping to get a chance to listen to Story of an Immigrant soon and I can’t wait for the band to come back to Detroit for another show.
Honestly, I’m not a huge Robert DeLong fan, finding the tracks on his last album, Just Movement, hit or miss. Like so many artists, DeLong’s live show is something that can sway even non-fans like myself to being unable to resist him. DeLong himself is quite impressive to watch on stage as he takes on all the instruments necessary for his short but enjoyable set. Most importantly, his tracks made it impossible to allow the fatigue from the weekend and cold to set in, keeping the audience pumped for the last few acts of day 2. Of course the crowd completely lost it when he played his hit single, “Long Way Down.” I may not be a fan of the electronica genre as a whole but sets like DeLong’s can really make you appreciate the genre, the way DeLong infuses his music with other genres, and the work that goes into it from people like him.
The Glorious Sons are another band that I had really only heard one track from before heading to the show. A band with another lead singer, Brett Emmons, who wouldn’t allow the crowd to slack off during the band’s set. The band’s mix of classic, southern, and blues rock was, of course, right up my alley so it was very easy for me to get swept up in their set. I loved the southern rock sound of “Mama” that seemed to get the crowd up and going and of course went nuts when the band played their radio hit “Heavy.” The Glorious Sons closed out their set with the first track they ever wrote together, “White Noise,” which is infused with some wonderful 90’s rock vibes. After seeing The Glorious Sons live I realized that I needed to get my life together and check out their album, The Union, as soon as possible.
Don’t miss out on the rest of our Chill on the Hill 2015 recap:
Part I featuring Arkells, Coleman Hell, Vinyl Theatre, Beartooth, Night Riots, and Thousand Foot Krutch
Part II featuring The Wombats, We Came As Romans, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Panic! At The Disco, and Weezer
Part IV featuring JR JR, X Ambassadors, Cold War Kids, Coheed and Cambria, and Cage the Elephant