Grayslake Youth Center Celebrates Female Musicians with Featured Weekend
The Girls are taking over the Grayslake Oasis. Girls’ Weekend will take place Friday, September 26 and Saturday, September 27. This two night event showcases 10 regional and local acts including solo female artists, all-female bands, as well as bands with prominent female members. Both shows begin at 6 pm, are all ages, and have a recommended donation of $5 at the door.
The Grayslake Oasis Youth Center is a staple in the local music community and loves the opportunity to empower female musicians within the community. It is old news that women are under-represented in the world of independent music. Oasis Booking Manager Julie Ihlenfeldt started Girls Night last year to help foster growth and promotion of female musicians. In just one year, the response has been so overwhelming that last year’s one night event turned into a full weekend of eager acts. “As a girl who was in a band in high school, I know first-hand what a boys’ club the music scene can be,” noted Ihlenfeldt. “It is great to have the opportunity to bring in new acts to the Oasis for this event and celebrate the amazing talent of women in music.”
Kat Farnsworth of the indie folk band Pancake Riot will be participating in Girls Weekend for the first time. For her, music is really an expression of self that is both reaffirming and inspiring. The best part of being a musician is “Creating something of my own. My own words, my own poetry. My own thing. And then getting to share it with people…Writing music is wearing your heart on your sleeve.”
Commenting on the importance of this event and why she is participating musician Sarah Jo had this to say, “Events like Girls’ Night spread love and encouragement for individuals who seek to be judged by their art, not their gender.”
So if you have nothing to do on the weekend of September 26-27, or even if you do, you should come to The Oasis and support some truly talented musicians. Not because they are females, but because they rock. Candace Griffin from Pancake Riot said it best, “…people should come to the show because there’s going to be good times and great talent there!”
On Saturday, September 13 The Oasis was host to a handful of acoustic acts ranging from acoustic punk to folk rock. In case you missed it, here is a brief recap of the awesomeness.
Your Analysis- Fun punk inspired acoustic rock. Your Analysis would be perfect for a Punk-O-Rama compilation. But unlike many indie/punk artists this one-man-band does not take himself too seriously. He’s just a dude with a guitar who likes to get his music to the masses. Check out Your Analysis and also be on the lookout for his full band Regular Oatmeal.
Sarah Smith- The Oasis was privileged enough to host Sarah Smith’s first performance. Her airy and melodic voice might remind listeners of Norah Jones. Her songs however have a delectably dark feel. Her heartfelt set was comprised of sad songs about loving, leaving, and the hope that comes with it. Sarah Smith’s entire set had almost a gothic beauty to it that kept me engaged the entire time and, as a listener, I was never so happy to feel so sad.
L Morgan- Skillful finger picking and soulful vocals make this act a must see. Overall, L Morgan’s set had a fullness to it that is hard for a solo artist to pull off due to her dynamic guitar playing and thick, rich toned voice. As a song writer her songs were thoughtfully structured. L Morgan has a very astute knack for building songs in a way that keeps listeners on the edge of their seats. And if dynamic song writing isn’t enough then wait till you hear her voice. It is so decadent that is sounds as if she sings from the bottom of her feet.
Daniel Yates- Infectious and well-rounded folk rock. Whether folk music is your cup of tea or not, you can’t listen to Daniel Yates and not tap your feet. Aside from the sheer catchiness of Daniel Yates’ music he is a blast to watch because he and his bandmates have a certain effortlessness to their performance. Combine that with hauntingly beautiful violin parts and thumping bass lines and you are sure to feel like you’re sitting on a river bank somewhere wearing a straw hat. Fun to watch, and even more fun to listen to!
Haley Klinkhammer- If you have ever wondered what honey sounds like, look no further than Haley Klinkhammer. Her vocals are smooth and sweet and her style is somewhere in the vein of Colbie Caillat. She plays catchy guitar parts with lots of up stroked and muting that adds a great sense of rhythm that is hard to accomplish as a solo artist. Also, many of her songs are inspiring and push the listener to look for the silver linings in life. Make sure to check out her Youtube channel that is full of videos of Haley playing a mix of originals and covers, you ears will be happy.
On Saturday, August 23 The Oasis hosted a horde of bands that each represented a certain subgenre of rock and it well…rocked! Overall, this was probably one of the most fun shows I have ever seen because each band had its own unique energy that matched its sound. Plus, the support between bands was great to see. Bands supporting bands, people helping people, it’s powerful stuff.
Tongue in Cheek- Acoustic rock with a dark feel to it. This was the last show that TIC played as a one man act, and I was glad that I got to catch it, because for a guy named Michael Winters, he sure can warm up a room. For as much as I enjoyed all of his songs (and I did) his inter-song banter made me wish his set was twice as long. All of his songs are a great mash up of introspective, personal lyrics that mesh with his catchy acoustic riffage perfectly. His sound is a cross between mid-90’s alt. rock like SemiSonic and old Fall Out Boy circa Fall Out Boy’s Evening Out With Your Girlfriend. Not to mention all of TIC’s songs are infectious foot tappers that feature a kind of angst driven intelligence. Make sure to keep your ears open for the premier of Tongue In Cheek’s debut as a full rock and/or roll band coming soon!
Tongue In Cheek
Debility- Intriguing metal that focuses on driving rhythms instead of shredding and features…wait for it…a VIOLIN! Don’t let the violin fool you, Debility’s sound is heavy enough to quench any metalhead’s thirst for brutality. Their sound reminds me a bit of old From Autumn to Ashes circa Too Bad You’re Beautiful . Their songs feature ear punching rhythms, trilly fills, and thought provoking musical interludes that really add to the dynamics of their sound and separates Debility from run of the mill metal acts. So, if you are sick of metal-monotony then Debility is for you.
Huff The Ghost- Loud. Fuzzy. Bassy. Everything you want in a rock band. Huff The Ghost reject and transcend genre classification and simply embody the concept of ROCK. Their songs boast loopy, psychedelic solos, heavy bass lines, and drums that you can’t help but bang your head to (long, greasy hair preferred!). HTG are well acquainted with feedback and would be right at home on the stage with late-70’s garage rock bands or in the prime of ‘90s grunge. If you like The Misfits, Nirvana, or anything in between check this band out. Seriously, do it now.
Huff The Ghost
Arbor Creek- Anyone who likes to knock blues and say that, “All blues bands sound the same” have obviously never been rocked by Arbor Creek. Their sound is heavily rooted in Chicago’s unique style of electric blues but with awesome flourishes of classic rock and even some funk. Combine that with some powerfully gritty vocals and thumping bass lines and you have music that has no agenda other than to make your ears feel good and your toes tap. These guys are some of the nicest, most enthusiastic, talented musicians I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and have even rocked the stage at The Metro, so it is a great privilege to have them at our humble Oasis.
Counterfeit i- Heavy, pretty, proggy, Counterfeit i is all of the above and none of the fuss. They occupy a peculiar musical space somewhere between Deftones and Finch with a dash of Chevelle. Their sound is dark and dynamic with thick tones that you could cut with a knife and many of their songs feature impressive two part harmonies. Watching CI play a live set is like watching a well-directed movie. They have an uncanny knack for starting songs in a nebulous way and building them to a fever pitch that makes you throw up the horns and bang your head. Plus they balance technicality and heaviness in a way that many bands miss. I would highly recommend downloading their albums I and II and listening to them back to back. It is a great musical jouney!
The Show at The Oasis on Friday, August 15th was a little bit sad, a lot of bit loud, and totally awesome! It was the final show for metal makers Elysion Fields. But like that one ‘90s song said “Every new beginning is some other beginning’s end” (Closing Time, SemiSonic) so although it was a bummer to see them go, good things are on the horizon for all of them. That being said, all of the bands that night rocked and if you missed it, then here is a recap to make you even MORE mad that you missed it.
Kicking off the night was a touring band from Ohio called Vice on Victory. The Oasis was lucky enough to be the last stop on their tour and if you ask me, they saved their best performance for last. Vice on Victory delivered a high energy performance augmented by their massive sound. They may be a three piece band, but their presence fills the stage, the room, and the parking lot for that matter. VOV’s sound has a modern pop-punk feel but they play it like a power metal band. Imagine The Movielife as played by Skidrow. No scooped mids here.
Vice on Victory
Next were The HoneyDips. This was a particularly bitter sweet performance (pun most definitely intended) because this was the last show for their drummer, Carlos, who is a prominent figure in the Lake County music scene and an all-around awesome dude. But fear not, he will be back sometime in January and you can catch a sweet and sticky installment of HoneyDips rock. In the meantime, let me tell you a bit about their sound. To get an idea of The HoneyDips’ sound imagine Weezer had a little brother who was super into old school punk. They have a certain laid back surf-punk feel that is not so much aggressive as it is energizing. Plenty of “whoa-oh” sing along choruses make you pump your fist whether you want to or not.
The third band of the night was GraveMind, and they are hardcore all the way. They had a brutal stage presence emphasized by their hard hitting and loud screaming vocalist. Combine that with think, fuzzy EMG driven guitar tones and you have yourself a batch of GraveMind. If you are a fan of music that is loud, heavy, and would sound right at home on a label like TrustKill Records, this band is for you!
The next band to rock was I Made You Myself. Ironically enough this was my first time seeing these guys even though I have worked with both of their guitarists (Patrick Greenwood and Lucas Haupt) right here at The Oasis. Suffice it to say, I did NOT know what I was missing all that time, and now there is no going back. IMYM’s stage presence is a study in contrast. It is very stripped down in that they play with all lights off save for some sort of lamp that they bring themselves, and their lead singer doesn’t even perform on the stage, instead he set up his mic stand in the front row of the crowd. All this gives their performance a very theatrical feel despite not using colored lights or the stage. Their sound is hard to pin down, and that very much seems to be the point. But if I had to describe it (and I do) it is incredibly dynamic post hardcore. Imagine At The Drive In meets Every Time I Die with a pinch of Taking Back Sunday. Seriously, check them out.
I Made You Myself
Widower was the next band to take over. If you haven’t heard or seen ( or scene) Widower, then you must not be very well acquainted with the Lake County scene. They are the epitome of melodic hardcore and when they are playing, they demand your attention. Their songs are a magnetic mix of slow, melodic interludes and bridges shattered by frantic blast beats and heavy chugs with deliciously crunchy distortion. Even if you are not a fan of hardcore and/or are not familiar with the “H847” movement Widower is a band that should not be missed. Check out their new album “World of Hate” it’s sure to give you one heck of a bangover.
Finally, Elysion Fields took the stage for the last time. This was a particularly sentimental and interesting set for me to watch for a handful of reasons. First, I had never seen EF so I was witnessing them for the first and last time. Secondly, I used to the old Venetian Village Hall to see their guitarist Scotty play with his old band Anticure, so that gave me a nice sense of nostalgia. And lastly, it is always fun for me to watch my good friend and co-worker Ryan Stofferahn play music. Their set was loud, brutally heavy, and profoundly heartfelt. These were five guys who made some really amazing music for a number of years and it was a little sad and a lot of fun to see (and hear) them say goodbye and by extension close a chapter of Lake County music. If you missed their show, EF’s entire set from that night can be found online and be sure to check out new project of former EF members Six Speed Tranny (Scotty and J-Bone) and Awe Howler (Ryan Stofferahn aka Tron).
Six Speed Tranny
Like any good 7 layer dip the show on Friday, August 22 was thick, textured, and wholly delicious. It was an incredibly auspicious occasion as Math Rock prodigies Weye released their album CasterlyROCK! , instrumental gurus Darrow played their first show EVER after eight years of writing and playing together, and to top it all off The Oasis had to distinct honor of hosting The Life and Times at our venue. If you missed this show, then you did it wrong. On the upside there is this thing called the interwebs where you can download and/or listen to all of the rock you missed and read this jumble of words and at the end of it all, you might just feel like you were there.
Weye- Grab your calculators and turn your listening devices up to 11 for this band. If I had to describe Weye’s performance in three words they would be: Mathy, Melodic, and Massive. Their sound boasts amazing technical musicianship that is accessible to the casual listener while still being intriguing to the music theory savant. Their tone is thick but clean and they are one of the tightest bands I have ever had the pleasure to see live. I have never heard so many notes fit into one 30 minute set. If you are reading this, open a new tab, go to bandcamp.com, and download Weye’s new album CasterlyROCK! and then download they rest of their music.
Darrow- This set was especially fun for me because it was the first time in over a decade I have seen my boss, mentor, guitar teacher, and friend Greg Henkin perform. This set was eight years in the making, and believe me they did not disappoint. Darrow is a super group made up of ex-members of Overtone, Marium Ava, and a current member of Lybria. Their brand of rock is well textured and multi-layered thanks to several music stores worth of pedals. Listening to Darrow is like listening to the soundtrack of an intergalactic Rock mission. They are heavy at times, but not brutal and technical without being pretentious. Darrow combines heavy usage of effects without using them as a crutch to make up for lack luster musicianship/song writing ability. Their sound is also incredibly well balanced, no one instrument over powers another, in fact, the often ignored bass really comes through like a lead guitar. Hopefully, it will not be a shade under a decade before their next show.
Lybria- This was my first time seeing Lybria live, though I have listened to them many a time on my trusty ipod, and they delivered a performance that was better than what I could have anticipated. If you have never heard Lybria, genre-wise they are ambient alternative rock that is good friends with dissonance. The band is comprised three guitarists, a bassist, drummer and keyboards. All of the instruments come together and produce very dense, layered music. Plus the keyboards add a moody dynamic that contends with Lybria’s overall “pretty sound” and ultimately produces a sound that must be heard to be understood (and probably not even then). Overall Lybria offers a sound that is part proggy/industrial yet balanced nicely with melody. Check them out!
The Life and Times- This show was my first experience with TLAT, and it was awesome. For me, they are a band that is good to listen to on record, but great to listen to live. Made up of ex-members of the quintessential space-rock band Shiner, TLAT drenches listeners with a peculiarly addictive brand of what I am going to call “Echo-Rock”. Much of their sound features reverb affected vocals over pounding rhythms and heavily delayed guitars. Their tone is a little bassy and dark, but with very little gain. Overall TLAT is a very eclectic band. They use some samples, their songs are mostly mid-tempo and a little bit spacey, but with no loss of melody. Think U2 meets newer Cave In, or don’t listen to me at all and check out their entire set on Youtube! You will not regret it.
The Life and Times