When you leave a music venue with your ears ringing from hours of incredible music, your heart pulsating from excitement, and your mind tantalized with flashbacks of a band’s stage presence- you know you have just seen a good show. Both Daniel Ellsworth & the Great Lakes and Filligar delivered on all these accounts and more at the Subterranean this past Friday.
All photos by Maggie Bojda
I knew nothing about Daniel Ellsworth & the Great Lakes when I walked into the Subterranean Friday, but when they began their set, I couldn’t tear my eyes away. Lead vocalist and keyboardist Daniel Ellsworth sat behind the keyboard belting out lyrics, but he was by no means constricted behind the instrument. He danced, sang and plucked at the keyboard simultaneously and seamlessly. Daniel Ellsworth & the Great Lakes produced an indie pop rock sound with a hint of folk that the audience accepted without reservation. One of my favorites of the set was “Bleeding Tongue,” a song with a more mellow beat that nicely showed off Daniel Ellsworth’s vocals. The band even threw in a little dance lesson for the audience to the tune of their song “Shoe Fits.” When Daniel Ellsworth & the Great Lake’s set was over, I caught myself contemplating a roadtrip to Minneapolis to catch the band live on the next night of their tour.
The Subterranean filled out in time for Filligar who closed out the show Friday night. I’ve become a fan of Filligar’s records, but I’ve found that while a band can put out a good disc, they need to sell themselves live. Filligar did. I was blown away by the band’s performance. Casey Gibson and brothers Johnny, Teddy and Pete Mathias kicked off their set with an onset of energy that continued at the same level until the final note of their last song of the night. The band vibed off of one another incredibly well, walking over to jam with eachother and taking full advantage of the entire stage. Every member of the band had such incredible stage presence that it was difficult to choose who to watch at a given moment. Filligar looked engulfed in their craft, excited to share their music with the audience. The band played songs from their album “The Nerve,” but also treated fans to their newest sounds fresh out of the studio. At one point, Johnny Mathias even made his way into the audience with guitar in hand, to the excitement of fans. The Subterranean was also filled with wishes for Casey Gibson, whose birthday coincided with Friday’s show. The band finished their set with the same momentum they started with. Returning to stage for an encore, Filligar closed with an impressive performance of Rolling Stone’s “Sympathy for the Devil.” Filligar’s Twitter page says they are “one of America’s best live acts”. After seeing Friday’s show, I agree.