Concert Review: Carbon Leaf, July 7, City Winery


Saturday night’s show was a conglomeration of perfect pairings: Chicago + summer; amazing venue + awesome service; inspired lyrics + top-notch vocals/instrumentals. How did all of this come together? City Winery + Carbon Leaf.

It was my first time checking out the elegant wine bar/venue space known as City Winery (W Randolph location) but it definitely won’t be my last. The lovely space is perfect for a relaxed but upscale evening of diverse wines, tasty dishes, and awesome acoustics and lighting for music shows. My friends and I were especially impressed by the interesting murals, unique chandeliers, and – as the cherry on top of any great space – le disco ball. Such fun decor.

I’d recommend a night out at City Winery to anyone anytime (I’m looking forward to checking out the Riverwalk location soon!) but what brought me there for the first time was Carbon Leaf’s 25-year anniversary show. I knew the band vaguely for their well-known single “Life Less Ordinary”, but I didn’t have much more to go on and hadn’t really formed any expectations for the show. Spoiler alert if you don’t know much about the band either: They. Are. Awesome. Seriously so much fun live and they have a TON of great songs I (shamefully) didn’t know existed. Even more exciting, they’re releasing a new album, Gathering, which promises to continue their excellent record (pun intended).

The quintet from Richmond, VA strikes just the right balance of small talk and singing – they crack actually funny jokes (making fun of themselves in a super endearing way) and offer interesting anecdotes about the origins of their songs. The acoustics and lighting at the City Winery show were also incredibly well done, making the night seem like a magical musical journey. Honestly. I’m not exaggerating. I got lost in their lyrics (like “love came along, my favorite enemy” from “Comfort”) and drawn into their interactive sing-alongs to traditional Celtic tunes and time totally flew. The band played a great 90+ minute set, acquiescing to the audience’s multiple calls for encores. We all ended the night crowded around the stage, cheering and toasting the band and each other and promising to meet up again when the band passes through Illinois later this year. They’re on an aggressive touring schedule with their new album so make sure you check them out. It’s a show worth seeing – especially if you’re lucky enough to have a venue like City Winery hosting!

Posted on by halley in Concerts

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