Concert Review: Save The Clocktower at The Empty Bottle (Chicago)

Save The Clocktower (Chicago, IL)
January 15th, 2011
The Empty Bottle in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago based trio, Save The Clocktower will be releasing their second album, Carousel next month. However, if you were at their show at The Empty Bottle earlier this month you got a sneak peak. If you weren’t, here is what you missed.

Keyboardist Jimmy Shenk was a bit nervous before the show, due to the first band canceling. But once on stage the band showed no nerves. Maybe it was adrenaline, maybe it was scotch. While The Empty Bottle was only about 1/3 filled, the crowd was as excited to be there as the band. This may be due in part to Tomorrow Never Knows festival going on, and various other shows that evening. The Save The Clocktower fans braved the ice and cold temperatures to hide away in the dark venue and get their jam on.

Greg Newton (drums) and Sean Paras (guitar) provide the vocals with Jimmy Shenk on the keyboards. Shenk, the personality behind the band not only introduced the songs, but sprinkled random stories in-between songs. The band opened with Drip from their upcoming album. By the third song, Submerged the front of the crowd was dancing to the electronic beats and vibrant drum beats. Giving the crowd an entire sneak peak at the new album, the band played eight of the ten songs that appear on Carousel. The rest of the songs fans recognized from the bands 2009 release, eponymous LP.

I was interested and excited in how Save The Clocktower would come off live. Their album incorporates many different sounds, from electric loops and pre-recorded bass lines to indie-rock. Live music is always wonderful to see, but when live music is mixed and looped in front of you it’s even better. I had perhaps given too much excitement to this idea. Save The Clocktower creates all their loops, electronic beats and bass line before hand and uses a Mac computer on stage as their “fourth and silent” member. When I inquired about this idea Shenk told me that they don’t want a bass player, and that they like to create the foundation before and build on top of it. Build they do. They take their complex recording of beats and loops and blanket them in a multitude of layers. They give a chill live show, while embracing their music.

Thoughts?

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