Concert Review: Fusion Shows Eighth Birthday Show

The first live show of the year can really set the pace and help you get excited for every other concert to come. When I saw that it was time to celebrate Fusion Shows’ birthday and that some new and old favorites would be performing I knew that it would be the perfect way to kick off 2016.

There were three stages with eighteen bands in attendance. Of course there wasn’t time to see all the bands so I printed the schedule and tried to pick bands I had been waiting to see. After work I hurried out to The Crofoot, grabbed an amazing chicken taco from Vehicle City Tacos, and headed over to the main stage to catch my first band of the night.

The Fever Haze was the first band that I caught on the main stage. I hadn’t heard of them before and was excited to kick the show off with a new to me band. Their sound was perfect parts rock, blues, and just the slightest hint of emo in certain songs to get me bopping along to their set. The small crowd that showed up to the Crofoot early seemed to also be enjoying the band’s set. My sleep has been off this week so I was already feeling pretty tired when I got to the show but The Fever Haze were able to snap me out of the fog I was feeling and get me pumped for the rest of the night.

I hurried up to the Pike Room to catch the tail end of Michigander’s set. I discovered the band last year and immediately became infatuated after watching them perform “Ghost” over on Real Feels’ YouTube channel.  They don’t have much music available currently so I was chomping at the bit to get to experience their live show. It was everything I could have hoped for, Jason Singer’s voice is a mix of Andy Hull’s specifically from his Right Away, Great Captain days and Chris Martin’s. Hearing Michigander perform in the intimate Pike Room was the perfect setting for the intimate feel of their music. Singer announced that a new album is imminent and I can only hope that I don’t have to wait too long.

I got back to the main stage just in time for Chicago’s Hidden Hospitals to take the stage. I had stumbled across the band late last year when I found two of their EPs on NoiseTrade. I purchased their album, Surface Tension, before I even got through the EPs and was excited to catch their live show so soon after discovering them. The guys have a bit of a MuteMath feel to their sound and man do they know how to rock out. Their no frills, high energy set had the crowd up and moving. If there was a person who wasn’t fan of the band when they walked into that room, I have no doubt they were by the time Hidden Hospitals finished their set.

It was back up to the Pike Room to catch DL Rossi’s set. He was a last minute addition after another band had to cancel due to illness and I’m so happy that he was able to fill in. I first heard Rossi back at the very beginning of UBL when he opened up for Flint Eastwood at the Loving Touch. I bought his self-titled album as soon as he wrapped up and listened to it non-stop for weeks after. I feel in love with Rossi’s croon when he released The Apartment EP late last year (stay tuned for my review up shortly). The intimate setting of the Pike Room is the perfect venue for someone like Rossi to perform. His music is honest and, at times, very vulnerable and hearing it in such a small venue makes it that much more personal.

I’ve been looking forward to hearing Young Pioneer since I got to interview them and listen to their new album, When Does the Night End, back in July. It was definitely well worth the wait, the guys sound amazing live and put so much into their show that it’s impossible not to get swept up in their excitement and energy. The crowd that had filled the Crofoot Ballroom seemed to be just as captivated as I was by the indie rock quintet. I looked around and was happy to see many people singing along and it was great hearing my favorite tracks live. Finally getting to see Young Pioneer live was like the best icing you’ve ever tasted on a pretty kick ass cake.

The buzz surrounding Rival Summers’ set had been growing all night. I had numerous people talk about how excited they were to see the band and a few of the bands had voiced their own feelings of anticipation during their sets. The crowd exploded as the band took the stage placing a big smile on singer Leo Bautista’s face that would last throughout the entire night. It’s been about a year since the band has performed live together but they were definitely not out of practice. It’s rare to see so much emotion poured into a set but Rival Summers and Bautista in particular were full of it. Bautista kept voicing his gratefulness at the packed room and the sheer amount of love that the crowd had for them. It was easy to see why everyone had been so pumped to see these guys live and I honestly can’t wait to be in the crowd for one of their shows again.

Of course the performance I was most excited to see was Flint Eastwood. I hadn’t seen Jax Anderson’s live show since the release of Small Victories but had read about various updates to the show and was beyond pumped to finally get to hear the new tracks played live. Just like Rival Summers, there were a lot of people there to see Flint Eastwood which made the experience that much better. Anderson has added a video installation to her live show and it adds so much to the tracks. And, as always, Anderson was a ball of energy that demanded the participation of every single person that packed the Crofoot Ballroom that night. It truly is a freeing experience to just stop caring about everything else in your life and just dance it out. And the new tracks are even better live than I could have hoped for. I attach a lot of emotions to Flint Eastwood’s music and their live show which elevates the experience so much that I find trouble explaining it to words. What I can say, and what I will always say about Flint Eastwood’s live show, is that it is something that you absolutely need to experience if you are a fan of live music or good music in general. And I find it impossible to find a better way to kick off 2016 than dancing on stage of one of my favorite venues with one of my favorite bands.

Check out and support these bands:

The Fever Haze: Amazon, Bandcamp, Google, iTunes
Michigander: Bandcamp
Hidden Hospitals: Amazon, Bandcamp, Google, iTunes
DL Rossi: Amazon, iTunes
Young Pioneer: Bandcamp, Google, iTunes
Rival Summers: Amazon, Google, iTunes
Flint Eastwood: Amazon, Bandcamp, Google, iTunes