The 1900s practice space

It’s always a kick to see the 1900s, one of Chicago’s best pop bands. They’re finishing up work on a new album, preparing for a trip to SXSW, looking for a record label … I think the rest of the world will be hearing more from them soon. They’re the featured band in the “Practice Space” shows on Mondays this month at Schubas. Last night’s show featured two noteworthy opening acts, so it was the week I chose to see the 1900s. First up was Spires That in the Sunset Rise – an odd pairing with the 1900s, truth be told. The three young ladies in Spires make an atonal racket on banjos, guitars, thumb pianos and assorted instruments that look like they were rescued out of the dumpster behind an opium den. I like Spires, though it’s a band best taken in small doses, and I got the feeling that some of the more pop-oriented audience members were left scratching their heads at all of the meditative moaning.

The Singleman Affair was the middle act. I’ve been wanting to see this guy – or rather, band – since hearing the excellent 2006 album Let’s Kill the Summer. I didn’t even realize at first that this is a Chicago artist. His/their profile in Chicago is pretty low at the moment, and it doesn’t seem like the Singleman Affair plays a whole lot of concerts. I was expecting a solo performer doing quiet acoustic music, but Singleman’s single man, Dan Schneider, has expanded to include five backing musicians. And the live performance really brought out the power of the songs, with a lot more impassioned, ballsy singing and intense guitar solos than I’d expected. Schneider has a great voice, capable of hitting some rich, deep notes. I was very impressed with this set, can’t wait to hear more from the Singleman Affair.

The 1900s were great, too, playing several of their new songs and a few choice tracks off last year’s EP Plume Delivery. Guitarist Edward Anderson really let loose on a couple of the guitar solos, and as always, singers Jeanine O’Toole and Caroline Donovan, were lovely to see and hear. (But could Schubas turn the lighting up a notch or two, PLEASE?)

See my photos of the 1900s, the Singleman Affair and Spires That in the Sunset Rise.