jukebox the ghost

Concert Review: Jukebox the Ghost, The Greeting Committee, May 10, House Of Blues

Posted on by halley in Concerts | Leave a comment

Jukebox the Ghost, March 15 2018

How many BFFLs did you make in high school and college? So many, right? You went through everything together: fake IDs (full disclosure: I was too much of a nerd to ever have one of these but I hear they’re great), sports games, theater, spring breaks, exams, summer jobs, travel abroad, crazy parties… you name it they were there for you. You swore to keep in touch after graduation… that may or may not have worked out but you still (probably mostly) think of them fondly. Well, what if that natural separation after school had never happened? What if, instead, you not only remained in touch but discovered unbelievable musical talent among each other? Then you would be lucky enough to be part of either The Greeting Committee or Jukebox the Ghost, both of whom played at Chicago’s House of Blues and rocked the socks off the venue.

The Greeting Committee took the stage around 8:45, the lead singer eliciting aggressive praise from the audience for her killer red romper. The group looked super young and hip in general, only a few years removed from their Kansas City days in Blue Valley High School. The band gained visibility a few years ago while still in school, releasing their first EP, It’s Not All That Bad to instant acclaim. The beauty of this young, talented crew is that they embrace everything they are expected to – their sound is bright, young, a bit angsty, and captures the feelings/thoughts/emotions we all do when we’re trying to get into “adulting.” Listening to this band online, I really liked their acoustic-heavy approach to their songs. I think a lot of young bands rely on really shocking or witty lyrics or a really unique voice to make way in the music world, but this group stood out to me for their beautiful chords and harmonies. They didn’t disappoint in person – both their instrumental pieces and their vocals and lyrics killed. Addie Sartino, their lead vocalist, has a beautifully throaty voice that I’m sure will only deepen and mature as she grows in her role – this young woman has big days ahead of her (she was also super cute at the show – thanking her Greek grandmother – Yaya – several times for being in the audience).

After a great set, these high school friends ceded the stage to their older counterparts, the college-bonded Jukebox the Ghost (JTG). Time for another moment of full disclosure: I HEART JTG. My sister and I have traveled to see them, we’ve racked up at least a dozen shows between the two of us, and we just melt every time they come out with a new single. Their newest album, Off to the Races, is only the latest in their line of instant hits. The trio KILLS IT with their piano-pop sound and oh-so-true-lyrics. “Everybody’s Lonely” is probably their best known new single and it beautifully describes the “super-connected-yet-isolated” social scene of today’s iPhone generation. JTG’s true talent, in my mind, is their ability to synthesize upbeat sound with dark realities and their set this night did that beautifully. The band went through old favorites and new tunes for a loving audience that sang along with every word. While the show itself was, of course, awesome, the highlight of my night was actually running into Ben, the lead singer, on the sidewalk a few hours before the show. Cute, kind, and totally humble, he wowed me with his total calm and happiness at meeting a random fan. Love these guys – whether on stage or on the sidewalk. They’re champs at being on the road and will, most likely, soon be in a city near you. Don’t miss the chance to see them.

An Interview With Jukebox The Ghost

Posted on by halley in interviews | Leave a comment

Jukebox the Ghost, March 15, 2018

Jukebox the Ghost (JTG) is one of our favorite bands. The trio weighs 300 pounds combined, is cute as a button and talented #AF, and is one of the hardest working groups we know. How do they stay so upbeat and personable? How do they keep their girlish figures (hint: breakfast is the most important meal of the day)? Read on to discover their secrets…

First, congratulations on the new album! Can you talk a little about the inspiration behind the name, Off to the Races?

For the last few years we have put on a show called Halloqueen. For this show we do a set of original music and then take a set break, get in costume and character, and return to play a whole set of Queen. It’s one of the highlights of our year. In putting this show together we learned a ton of Queen tunes. It opened our eyes to how songs can be constructed and performed. So yeah – it’s a bit of a nod to their record A Day At The Races.

Queen has been a career-long role model which I know your fans love to see in your work. It sounds like your new material may include some more contemporary influences (e.g. Walk the Moon). Are there any other newer influences you can talk about in your work?

Honestly – It’s funny to say that because Queen hasn’t really been a conscious reference for us in our process until this album and I remember when Walk The Moon broke out we had a bunch of fans come to us and say “YO! this band sounds like Jukebox The Ghost!” So to be honest – we don’t actually have a lot of newer influences that we consciously tried to apply. I find with writing music it is almost better to block out what is currently happening as a way to try to forge your own path.

It must feel great to have Off to the Races finished up – but the work is far from over as you look towards your spring/summer tour schedule! I’ve always wondered what bands look forward to more: the album-creation process or the live tour component of showmanship. What’s your favorite part of the musical process? And what are you most looking forward to on your upcoming tour?

I love writing music – always have, that moment where a song comes into existence is a magical thing for me. So that’s probably my favorite part of the process. As for touring – I can’t wait to perform these new songs. Adding new tunes to a set adds and creates a wonderful and needed energy.

I’m sure your travels are always exciting (if, at the same time, exhausting) but I imagine, at the end of the day, there’s no place like home. What do you think of as home? Is it the place you make your best music as well or is that another location?

Brooklyn is all of our homes now. It’s the place where we relax and write and recharge.

Your band’s origins go back, by some counts, over a decade. What has changed most about the music industry in that time? What is the most frustrating thing about being in the music industry right now? What is the most rewarding thing?

When we started we were spending hours on Myspace trying to build an online community. I think it can be frustrating to be at the mercy of ever changing technology and musical spaces. From pirating to iTunes to Spotify… Regardless at the end of the day each of these things are making fans – so that’s what’s most rewarding.

If you could choose any question to be asked in this interview, what would it be and what would your reply be?

Q: What’s your favorite Breakfast food?

A: All of it.

Jukebox The Ghost’s Off to the Races is out on March 30, 2018

SXSW Review: Starcrawler, Jukebox The Ghost, March 15, Cedar Street Courtyard

Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest | Leave a comment

Starcrawler, March 15, 2018

“You guys are such a fun crowd …”

If it wasn’t clear from her tone as she crouched on the stage, back half-turned from the audience, Starcrawler vocalist Arrow de Wilde was being facetious and she and her bandmates weren’t totally feeling their afternoon set as part of FLOODfest playing before an audience made up of a lot of older folks, probably a fair number of them media and industry types. Not necessarily their ideal crowd, though the band put on a great show regardless.

And for those for whom it still wasn’t entirely clear (but really, it was pretty damn clear), then surely there was no doubt once the show really got going. It was a pure punk rock performance – de Wilde spitting water onto the crowd, grabbing some dude’s SXSW badge and tossing it into the crowd (don’t worry, he got it back), stealing someone else’s drink and tossing it on the ground (not really sure if she got it back), and finally invading the crowd in a state of mock distress, fake blood coming out of her mouth (at least I hope it was fake) as she roamed about, smearing the blood on the FLOODfest banners scattered around the venue and trying to pull one down at one point. She also probably frightened a young girl in attendance and ended the set by walking up the stairs into Cedar Street’s backstage VIP area as if in a trance before exiting the venue through the alleyway. All in a days work.

Jukebox the Ghost, March 15, 2018

if Starcrawler are like the cool kids skipping class, getting high behind the school, and generally fucking shit up, then Jukebox The Ghost, who followed them on the Cedar Street stage, are more like the nice guys you’d tell your mom you were hanging out with when you were actually with the cool kids instead. I don’t think that Jukebox The Ghost would entirely disagree with that assessment themselves. After all, they did play a song on this occasion about getting older and growing up called “Boring.”

This is not to say that the group were boring – while Starcrawler’s dramatic, over the top performance is probably more my speed, I will admit that Jukebox The Ghost is not without their charms. Running through a set comprised of older numbers and tracks off of their upcoming album Off To The Races, the band put on an impressive show with some of the highlights being “Fred Astaire” and the Fastball-esque “People Go Home.” They also reminded me a bit of Queen at times. And really, it’s hard to hate too much on any band that occasionally sounds a bit like Queen and also busts out a keytar solo during their set. Yes, these guys definitely have some chops.

Concert Review: Yoko and the Oh No’s, Jukebox the Ghost, October 29, Lincoln Hall

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts | Leave a comment


HalloQueen. What is it? How do we celebrate? Is it recurring? Will there be costumes? Candy? Dancing? Ghosts?

In order: Jukebox the Ghost’s made up holiday. By watching Ben Thornewill channel Freddie Mercury onstage and rock a sweet ‘stache. Yes. Yes. No (unfortunately). Yes. Yes.

For the third year in a row, Jukebox the Ghost celebrated their very own holiday – HalloQueen. The night started with Yoko and the Oh No’s, a perennial Chicago favorite. Lead singer Max Goldstein was sporting a red mullet and some thick, thick blue eyeshadow. The svelte David Bowie look-alike crooned his way through Bowie favorites “Starman” and “Space Oddity.” Love.

Next up was Jukebox. The trio crooned, cavorted, and capered their way through “Hollywood”, “Good Day”, “Schizophrenic”, and a new song about growing old and getting boring (not that I would know anything about that. #yolotilten.) Jukebox explained that they would be finishing up their set, stepping aside for a costume contest, and then Queen would take the stage. The trio talked about what an honor and a dream come true it was to be opening for the Mr. Freddie Mercury himself. A great guy, but apparently pretty hard to understand with the accent and all.

Mr. Bowie was back for the Halloween costume contest. While Buddy the Elf made a good show, the prize eventually went to Ms. Amelia Earhart.

And then Queen took the stage! Starting things off with “We Will Rock You”, Mr. Mercury and his thick, luxurious mustache dominated the stage (although at one point he couldn’t quite remember the lyrics to his own song. Weird.) Hitting so many high notes (literally and metaphorically) including “Bicycle Race” and “Under Pressure”, Queen hit all their highlights. Happy Halloween to us.