Thursday night was not a regular night: we did not have a 9:30 bedtime and instead we stayed at Rock and Roll Hotel until a wild 12 o’clock. Why weren’t we getting our beauty sleep you might ask? Chicago band Twin Peaks was making a stop in the nation’s capitol with a whole lotta soul.
With doors at 7:00 pm and Twin Peaks on at 10:00 pm we were planning on missing the opening act all together. But due to a scheduling mishap we caught the end of Jimmy Whispers’ set. He stood on the stage, wearing a dress, a recorded soundtrack playing in the back, and sang songs chock full of profanity in a lonely hipster sort of way. Whispers sounded like Mac Demarco and Weird Al’s angsty son. Despite his sad songs, he paraded around the stage and signaled to the crowd for a stage dive. After the crowd nearly dropped him, an even sadder Whispers said “You guys suck.”
When his set ended we were relieved to see a band walk to the stage and actually play instruments sans a recording. NE-HI, also hailing from Chicago fully prepared us and put us in the mood to hear some rocking music. We pushed through the crowd to get a better glimpse of the performance (and so we could get better photos.) They had a pretty nice set, strong guitar sound, and lots of energy.
By the time their set was over it was nearly ten and we were ready for Twin Peaks to come on. “Down In Heaven”, their newest album with an early Stones vibe had come out only six days earlier and we were excited to see their new stuff live. “Down in Heaven” is a lot more classic rock and blues oriented than “Wild Onion” their sophomore album which drew more on straightforward garage rock. Simply put, Twin Peaks is a hit with the ‘rents.
When they finally came on, Pabst cans in hand, they wasted little time before kicking off the set with “Butterfly,” a song off their new album. Everyone was singing along and into it right away. Immediately, the mosh picked up and never stopped. Twin Peaks has energy to rival any band we’ve ever seen, and you can tell they love playing with each other. They all sing, and are powered by their two (occasionally three guitars), giving them a groovy sound. Much like the band, we both had permanent smiles on our faces as we joined a mosh full of young people having a swell time.
Many of the songs were from the new album, but there were some classics off of “Wild Onion.” “Out of commission” and “Natural Villain” lo-fi jams from their first album made an appearance as well. We were surprised by how perfectly each song sounded despite the mix, and even on the slower songs there was lot’s of movement from the crowd. Heck! There were even some crowd surfers. An accomplishment in a club as small as the Rock and Roll Hotel. Cadien, the singer and guitarist pulled a little stunt where he crowd surfed while playing his guitar. We have to say, it was pretty smooth.
It was clear Twin Peaks has been experimenting with new, more mature sounds. They are no longer the angry youths they once were, but in no way have they lost their sense of fun. The band is a perfect mix of classic tunesmith lyrics and lazy melody. If you like some flavor on your weeknights, be sure to catch the dudes on their next tour. We’ll be there.
PHOTO BY EMMA JACOBSON