Review + Photos: Sarah Jaffe & Astronautalis at Lincoln Hall (Chicago, IL)

 Sarah Jaffe (Denton, TX) and Astronautalis (Minneapolis, MN)
September 5th, 2014
Lincoln Hall in Chicago, Illinois

Sarah Jaffe and Astronautalis kicked off their three week tour together at Chicago’s Lincoln Hall, on Friday. A tour that has been several years in the making, I urge you now to look at the tour schedule and buy a ticket if they are playing a show remotely near you. It’s easy to see why these two make a perfect tour together. Jaffe commands the stage in the same sexy and magical way Astronautalis does.  She doesn’t hold back, and throws her entire self and emotion into her performance. Jaffee played many songs from her new album, Don’t Disconnect out of Kirkland Records. The set was full of everything from sexy synth to Jaffe taking center stage to sing “Don’t Disconnect” acapella. This was stunning, simply beautiful. It was such a lovely takeaway, to see the softer and more vulnerable side of her. So much so that it gave this viewer the shivers. Other songs performed from the new album included; “Defense”, “Some People Will Tell You”, and “Fatalist”.  Jaffe also played from her 2012 album, The Body Wins, “Mannequin Woman”, and ended with a “Talk”.

If you’ve ever been to an Astronautalis show you know one thing is certain, you are about to see an amazing rap show, and a wordsmith to top all wordsmiths. If you’ve never been to an Astronautalis show before, go. Astronautalis and his band have been touring virtually non stop through Europe and the United States since the release of This Is Our Science. The man lives off of whiskey, adventure, passion for life, passion for music, and passion for his fans. Also Mario Kart. All of which you can see in his live performance.

Stepping on stage in a Blur shirt that he bought in the 8th grade, which currently fits him perfectly, Astronautalis commanded the mic. A crowd of top notch dedicated and some new fans filled Lincoln Hall on Friday night for him. Opening with “Thomas Jefferson” (which on the album features Sims of Doomtree), you could see the arms and heads of fans being tossed around, and lips signing along. I’ve been to many Astronautalis and his band shows, and I never tire of watching fans try to keep up with his rapping. Sure, you may know all the words to “Dimitri Mendeleev”, but I challenge you to accurately perform them at the rate Astronautalis does.

Performing many songs from This Is Our Science; “Measure The Globe”, “Midday Moon”, and “Contrails”, he did not disappoint the crowd, and performed some new material. New songs included “1515 Washington”, where if you know/follow him, and listen carefully, you can understand is about when his old apartment in Minneapolis had a fire. Another new song that fans will see on the new album, “Kurt Cobain”. He took a moment to thank his fans for their support throughout the years, and explaining that he currently hold the rights to 3 of his 4 albums. When this happened, he gave away some free songs, one of which, “This City Ain’t Just a Skyline.”, he played Friday night.

One of the most iconic things that happen during an Astronautalis show is when he does his freestyle portion of the show. For new to Astronautalis readers, he takes around 5-6 suggestions from the audience. These must be things that he’s never rapped about before. Friday night the audience tossed out: Joan Rivers, Ferguson, Killer Penguins, Munchkin Kittens, The St. John River, and Randy Travis. I never know how or try to understand this magic, but it happens. Perhaps his brain is live wired to Wikipedia? Perhaps he’s just one hell of a damn knowledgeable sir.

Ending the night with and old favorite, “Trouble Hunters”, he left the crowd at Lincoln Hall elated. “Ya got delicious hot dogs, ya got good music, and I love this town.”

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