Concert Review: Pet Lions, Minor Characters, Brother George, Lincoln Hall, March 1st

Credit: Their facebook page

I always love to see what accouterments a band brings up onstage with them. In my mind, bands choose these objects because it will enhance the experience of their fans in some special way – it’s the precursor to their music, the first thing the crowd sees before the band takes the stage and it creates the environment and sets the mood for what is to come musically.

Pet Lions brought three potted ferns.

And obviously it was a good choice because I instantly liked them, before they even started playing. I’m not sure what message they were trying to send, but if your backdrop is photosynthesizing, in my book you’re already winning.

The potted ferns turned out to be a precursor for a lush indie pop sound solidly anchored by lead singer Karl Ostby’s gratifyingly simple vocals and bolstered by the spot-on backup provided by the remaining band members. Pet Lions make whimsical but catchy music that dances between delicate harmonies, energetic guitar riffs and soulful crooning, which, as it turns out, all pairs perfectly with potted plants.

Not to be one-upped, Minor Characters, who shared the billing with Pet Lions, brought themselves, and that was all they needed. How do you compete with three potted ferns you might ask? Here’s a how to:

a) Give a shout-out to your Mother. There was some very enthusiastic screaming coming from the balcony (which I assumed to be coming from fangirls) to which lead singer Pelletier gave a smile and a nod and said, “Hey Mom!”

b) Wear your best threads. Last time I saw these guys they were all rocking three piece suits and looking good. This time they went a little more eclectic, but the outfits included an American flag undershirt and what I believe was a button up decked out with iron-on patches, possibly of bobcats, on the drummer (I was too far away to tell for sure but I was super intrigued by it). Still looking good fellas.

c) Play your heart out.

The band played from their 2011 self-titled debut and from their new EP, Heal Me Healing Times, released this past February. Staying true to form, the band showed off their dynamic range, from piano ballad to retro-pop to punk, all executed beautifully with the grace and humility that makes their name so fitting.

And, to finish up in reverse order, Brother George completed the local Chicago trifecta by opening for these two delightful bands. While they didn’t have potted ferns or American flag paraphernalia or bobcats, they did have a guitarist who looked like a combination of Wayne and Garth making them, just like the two others, instantly likeable. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a band that just jammed onstage. These guys just got onstage, no big fuss, made some good music and had some fun – they looked like they could have been playing in their parents’ garage. And with the band so at ease with themselves and their audience, it would have been hard not to enjoy them, but on top of that, they were playing super catchy, wiggle inducing tracks that, to my ears, had instant classic written all over them. My favorite from them by far is “A Man in Water” from their album Big Piney released in 2012. Give it a listen:

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts