Daytrotter Barnstormer in Monticello

On April 30, I headed downstate to Monticello, where I caught one of the Daytrotter Barnstormer concerts. My story and photo essay about the concert are in the May 13 Chicago Reader, which is the newspaper’s annual “In These Parts” issue.

I’ve also posted some additional photos of the bands that played April 30 in a gallery here, including Ra Ra Riot, Delta Spirit, Free Energy, Nathaniel Rateliff and Pearly Gate Music.

The Low Anthem at Lincoln Hall


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The band played a few of its gritter, growly songs, but the evening was dominated by the quieter moments, with lovely falsetto vocals carrying the strong melodies. At a couple of points, all of the musicians gathered around a single old-fashioned microphone at the front of the stage, harmonizing the way bluegrass groups do.

It sounds like the Low Anthem’s next album (due sometime this fall) is going to be a good one. If you haven’t heard the Low Anthem yet, check out the video for the song “Charlie Darwin” on the band’s Web site, www.lowanthem.com.

The opening act, Nathaniel Rateliff, was a pleasant surprise. I’d never heard anything about this Denver singer-songwriter or a note of music, but he sang some compelling folk-rock songs, quickly winning me over. It seemed pretty straightforward and traditional, but also very solid.

See my photos of the Low Anthem and Nathaniel Rateliff.


I should be seeing Nathaniel Rateliff again later this month when the Daytrotter Barnstormer 3 tour comes through the Midwest, with concerts in actual barns in small towns featuring Rateliff along with Delta Spirit, Ra Ra Riot, Pearly Gate Music and Free Energy. I’m planning to head downstate for the April 30 show in Monticello, Illinois.