Photos by Rachel Cameron
Number five on the Rolling Stone’s “The Best Clubs in America” list and described as an “intimate and warm-sounding little wooden box,” Schuba’s Tavern hosted visiting bands Chappo and White Arrows the night before Valentine’s Day.
Brooklyn-based Chappo, whose song “Come Home” you may remember from an iPod touch commercial a few years back, opened with a set featuring songs from their album Moonwater, released in 2012. The band did play “Come Home,” but to me, “Shots Fired” was a more compelling number, slower and darker than the upbeat song that propelled Chappo to popularity. Lead singer Alex Chappo’s odd performance gestures coupled with his propensity to whirl the fog machine around supplied the audience with a sense of movement that a couple of his band mates lacked. But Guitarist Dave Feddock added interest when he produced sounds out of the ordinary as he drew a violin bow over his electric guitar. Alex Chappo finished off their set by jumping off the stage (with plenty of mic slack) and dancing amidst the audience in the tight, 165-cap venue to “Hell No.”
Chappo – “Shots Fired”
The White Arrows came on shortly after, and I was struck by their cool, sophisticated onstage presence. They quickly filled the whole venue with a dense fog that made their light show and visuals, though simple, very impressive and close-feeling. After performing on tour for a number of years and releasing two albums, I could really tell that the band is comfortable on stage.
White Arrows – “Get By”
Pulling songs primarily from their second album In Bardo, released in 2014, the White Arrows had a great reception from the audience as they played fan favorites like “I Want a Taste,” “We Can’t Ever Die” and “Can’t Stop Now.” They also played “Chill Winston,” “Leave It Alone” and “Get By,” among others. Front man Mickey Church, with whom I was also able to interview pre-show, has self-described the band’s sounds as “psychotropic pop.” Listening to them live after having watched a few of their music videos, I could hear a mixture of 80’s pop influence and modern alternative rock that worked very well together. Their songs are unique (I have not been able to get “I Want A Taste” out of my head for the last three days) and it is no wonder that the band has been invited to play festivals like Coachella, Chive Fest and the upcoming Middle of the Map Fest.