jukebox the ghost

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.

Song Of The Day: Jukebox The Ghost – Stay The Night

Posted on by Celeste in Song of the Day | Leave a comment


How many things in life bring you pure happiness? Like I’m talking pure, unadulterated happiness. Tail wagging, hands clapping, grinning ear to ear, new ice cream cone, new car, first pumpkin spice latte of the season, presents wrapped under the tree, laden Thanksgiving table, fireworks on the 4th of July, freshly baked apple pie, ice cream cake, snow day happiness?

Jukebox the Ghost is pure unadulterated happiness in sonic form. From power pop to ballads, the trio’s glittering, silky smooth, energy-infused tracks are pure perfection. If the threesome weren’t so darn cute, quirky, and lovable you’d almost hate them for being too perfect.

Jukebox the Ghost is on tour right now – you can catch them coming up at San Francisco (10/27), Chicago (10/28 and 10/29), Philadelphia (10/31), Brooklyn (11/16), Waterloo (12/2), and Toronto (12/3). Go experience the happiness.

Concert Review: The Family Crest, Jukebox The Ghost, February 13, The Crocodile

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts | Leave a comment

What’s more impressive than an indie band with an explosive sound, a huge string section, and a lead singer with the voice of a songbird? One with the dedication to haul around a cello and a stand up bass in Seattle weather. “We feel a really strong connection to Seattle,” explained the flautist of San Francisco based baroque pop band The Family Crest. “We spent a month in Seattle where we played a show a day. And this was during the snowpocalypse. So every day we would hitch our instruments onto our backs and wander to whatever neighborhood bar was in our vicinity so that we could play for whatever patrons were there and get our daily show in.” The group started things off Saturday night at the Crocodile in dramatic fashion with the beautiful and cinematic “Beneath the Brine” and moved through crowd favorites “Howl,” “Love Don’t Go,” “Make me a Boat,” and “The World” as well as trying out some newer pieces from an upcoming album. The San Franciscans joked about their tour mates: “Jukebox the Ghost has been just great, and they gave us the greatest gift of all – their colds.” In a music landscape where walking onto a stage and hitting a button on your mac has started to become something of the norm, The Family Crest with their multitude of instruments and their indie/swing/orchestral mashup is a true delight to watch.

Next up, Jukebox the Ghost. The DC threesome never fails to bring a smile to the face of everyone who sees them (and every time I see them I’m surprised to see how many tall and skinny men are bopping along to their glossy and bubblegum sweet tunes along with their female counterparts.) I always think of Jukebox the Ghost as being like candy – bad for your teeth but absolutely irresistible. I think it’s fair to say they’re like the pop rocks of indie pop. The threesome worked their way through their big hits – “Schizophrenia,” “Postcard,” “Sound of a Broken Heart,” “Girl,” “Made for Ending,” “Hollywood,” as well as a new one about keys in a car that’s just as addictive and poppy as all their other hits (that band is nothing if not consistent.) They also played “Oh, Emily” prefaced by Tommy explaining that “some bands are stoner bands, some are alcoholic bands. We’re a caffeinated band. So I had just broken up with this girl and I got super caffeinated and decided to write the world’s happiest breakup song.”

Later in the night Ben popped offstage for a second to bring out what he called “the wheel of torture.” Giving the handwritten wheel a spin he explained, “This wheel is full of old cuts and b-sides, we’ll play whatever it lands on. You’ll notice ‘Hold It In supreme version’ is listed four times – it’s a version of ‘Hold It In’ where we all switch instruments. The other exciting choice on here is ‘Steve.’ Are there any Steve’s in the audience?” One exclamation from the audience. “Great. If it lands on Steve, it’s Steve’s choice. It’s only happened once before, and that Steve didn’t know any of our songs, so it was a huge failure.” The wheel landed on “Under My Skin” and the band launched in, but two songs later Ben gave the wheel another spin. As the audience started up a chant of “Steve. Steve. Steve. Steve,” the wheel did indeed land on Steve who requested “The Popular Thing,” giving JTG the most successful Steve moment of their career, and giving the audience what JTG always delivers on – pure unadulterated joy.