Back in June I had the opportunity to see Atlas Genius in Milwaukee as part of Summerfest and I passed it up. They were playing on the same stage as Blood Red Boots, a Chicago band that I like a lot, and I was hanging out talking to Keith Patrick at the merch table when a line started forming in front of us. I had no idea what was going on, but I saw a bunch of similar shirts and realized that Keith and Michael Jeffrey of Atlas Genius were doing a fan meet-and-greet/signing right next to us. The line was huge. Big enough that I had to rethink whether I really knew who Atlas Genius was. At that point I knew they were a poppy rock band from Australia-I hadn’t heard their album yet so I didn’t have any other info. I went back to the stage and ended up in the front row for Capital Cities set, but had to leave before AG so I could shoot photos at Amadou & Miriam’s set on the stage next door. Now that I’ve seen them for myself, I know that I missed out on a good time.
Last night the band walked on stage at House Of Blues to a packed room of rabid fans. The room exploded before the curtains were even opened all the way. Being an all-ages show, I expected to see a lot of teenagers, but the crowd was a pretty good mix of young and not so young (I’m just glad any time I’m not the oldest person around). They opened with “On A Day,” and it didn’t take long before the building was shaking with all the bodies bouncing around on the floor. The sound was really good last night, and the music was coming through crystal clear.
I’m not an expert on the band, but I think one thing that gets overlooked just from the little I’ve read about them is how good Keith Jeffrey is on guitar. It doesn’t really come out on the album too much, but live he can really wail. Everyone on stage did a nice job, though most of the lighting was focused on Keith all night-Michael was playing drums on a raised platform, so you could always see him. Darren was tucked away at the back a bit. You couldn’t see him very well, but his impact was definitely heard.
Once they played “If So,” and I realized that I knew the song from FIFA, I started enjoying the show a bit more. They played Lollapalooza earlier this year, and I think that’s great for them as a band to get that exposure-but a venue like House Of Blues is much more appropriate for their style. They’re all about energy and getting people to dance and have a great night-that’s tough to do with 50,000 watching. In a place like this, Keith is able to connect with every member of the audience and it pays off as the show goes on. A great show is made by the crowd, not the band-last night those in attendance made the show great.
The set lasted for about an hour, ending with “Trojans” which was then followed with an encore of “Electric.” This was part of Live Nation’s “One’s To Watch” series and featured openers Family Of The Year and Dale Earnardt jr jr. Some or all of these bands have played Lollapalooza, so I’m not sure they fit in with the idea behind these concerts, but I’m glad they all got to come together and put on a show in Chicago.
Atlas Genius put out their first LP, When It Was Now, back in February. You can get it on Spotify or iTunes. Their nationwide tour continues through early November, including more dates in the “Ones To Watch” series. For dates and ticket info, you can click here.
For more images from the night (including some black and white’s that I think came out pretty well), check out the album I made on Facebook!