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DREAMERS and Arrested Youth: Reinventing Rock Music

Samantha Carter and Erin Kennedy | Posted on November 21, 2019

DREAMERS cover photo

Photo by Erin KennedyNick Wold of DREAMERS

Chicago got a very special visit from some very special performers on the night of Tuesday, November 19, 2019. American Teeth, Arrested Youth and DREAMERS stopped by the Bottom Lounge to give the fans a performance they would never forget. UIC Radio got an inside look into the performances by all three bands that performed Tuesday night.

American Teeth

Photo by Samantha CarterAmerican Teeth

American Teeth was the first band to play, and it was really monumental seeing them live because this show was the first show of their first tour. The band has never toured before and they jumped in during the middle of the tour, taking over for the previous band IRONTOM, who was on the tour until November 18, 2019. Both of us had never even heard of American Teeth, and it makes sense because they are a relatively small band. The band has *at time of publishing* approximately 80 followers on Twitter, approximately 480 followers on Instagram, and only 2 songs on Spotify, with around 30,000 monthly listeners. However, we were blown away by how good the band was. With an insanely talented vocalist, ADJ female guitarist, and ADJ drummer, the three-piece band is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the future. Thanks to the band announcing the names of all their songs, we do have the names of most of the songs they played, despite not knowing much about the band beforehand, so go check the band out! Setlist:

  1. Name Not Announced

  2. Gemini

  3. Paper Planes (Cover)

  4. Chemicals

  5. 2Late

AY Dinner Party

Photo by Samantha CarterIan Johnson and Aaron Shadrow of Arrested Youth

Arrested Youth, the on-stage moniker of Ian Johnson, exploded onto the music scene in 2017 with the song “My Friends Are Robots,” and has since racked up millions of streams on Spotify with his other songs and has gone on major tours with some big-name artists. Sam personally found Arrested Youth when he went on tour with YUNGBLUD in the fall of 2018, where he was the opener, and she fell in love with his music immediately. Since it has been over a year since seeing Ian live, she was super excited to hear he was going to be playing in Chicago with DREAMERS, and she knew she had to see him live again.

Arrested Youth started the set off with a bang, coming out in all black clothing and a super cool mask, which matched well with the bright red lighting that illuminated the whole venue. He opened with the song “Sob Story,” which is the fifth and final track on his most recent release Sobville (Episode I), released on November 1, 2019. “Sob Story” is such an energy-filled song, so it really set the tone for the rest of the show really well. Immediately after the song, the entire atmosphere in the room changed. What was just moments before a fun rock concert turned into an on-stage dinner party, complete with wine glasses and a waiter. A bar stool was turned into a mini table with a tablecloth, where Johnson and guitarist Aaron Shadrow made a toast. While it was lovely to have a little fun and take a break from the music, the band jumped right back into the tunes afterwards with the song “Expectations.”

Arrested Youth

Photo by Samantha CarterIan Johnson of Arrested Youth

Arrested Youth then played “Riot!,” a song that was not on Sobville (Episode I), but instead a throwback from their debut album Fear, which was released in September of 2018. This song was super cool to see live because the crowd got so into it, which was awesome to see! Jumping back into the new songs, the band then performed “What You’re Made Of,” which is one of my favorites off of the new release, and to just hear everything live made me love the song so much more. That song in particular was really enjoyable because someone dressed up as a panda came out towards the end of the song and was dancing on stage. We loved it! To close out the show, the band played “The Kid I Used To Know.” This song was SO fun to hear live because of how much the band was feeding off the energy of the crowd and vice versa. It was also great because Johnson jumped into the crowd at the end of the song, so kudos to him for trusting the crowd to catch him!

Arrested Youth

Photo by Samantha CarterIan Johnson and Aaron Shadrow of Arrested Youth

Overall, I have to say, Arrested Youth only got better in the year that it’s been since seeing him live for the first time. I was just as impressed by him as I was last time, if not more. The whole band really gives each show their all and tries to make the show as fun and entertaining that it can be for every concertgoer. I highly, HIGHLY, suggest seeing Arrested Youth live at some point in the future, and go stream Sobville (Episode I) on your favorite streaming platform! Read below for the setlist:

  1. Sob Story

  2. Expectations

  3. Riot!

  4. What You’re Made Of

  5. The Kid I Used to Know

Nick Wold of DREAMERS

Photo by Erin KennedyNick Wold of DREAMERS

DREAMERS was the next, and final, band to go on stage as the headliners of this tour. DREAMERS is a pop rock trio from New York, and they are really starting to make it in the music industry. The band debuted with a self-titled EP in 2014 and have been heading up ever since. DREAMERS released their debut album This Album Does Not Exist in 2016 and followed it up with their most recent effort LAUNCH FLY LAND, which was just released in April of this year, and spawned the hit song “Die Happy.” Erin and Sam had never seen DREAMERS before, so we were super thrilled to finally have the chance to hear their music live. Erin was on cloud nine since she had gotten really into DREAMERS this past summer.

The band opened up with the song “SCREWS” from the EP Launch, released in 2018. It is a very upbeat song that just makes you want to yell all the lyrics and have a good time, making it absolutely perfect as the opener for their set. Most of their songs have that effect on you because they just have such a feel good energy to them. The crowd was having a blast throughout the entirety of the show, jumping, dancing and just having a hoot. Since they are touring for their newest album LAUNCH FLY LAND, most of the songs were from this album. The next two songs they played were “DIZZY” and “Listen Out Loud”. Both have the same continued upbeat and fun vibes to them. “Listen Out Loud” specifically has a very interesting chord progression to it that makes you want to have a rave in the desert in Arizona. Between the two songs, the vocalist, Nick Wold, asked if there were any questions from the audience to which it fell so silent it was almost beautiful. One guy from the crowd had asked what color Nick would dye his hair next, but Nick said he would keep the blue hair for a while since he had just dyed it.

Nick Wold of DREAMERS

Photo by Erin KennedyNick Wold of DREAMERS

After those songs, DREAMERS played three songs not from LAUNCH FLY LAND. These were “All Washed Out”, “Desensitize”, and “DRUGS” from FLY, the single Desensitize, and the album This Album Does Not Exist respectively. The ability of DREAMERS to be able to do so many different styles is incredibly powerful of them. “Desensitize” has a certain feel that usually you would only get from a Muse song, so hearing that come from DREAMERS was really fresh and new. It almost makes you think if they might release an album with that sort of theme. “DRUGS” is off of their debut album, which also features their most well known song that they played for one of the songs during the encore. It almost feels influenced by “Kids” by MGMT and has such a strong summer enjoyment to it that you play with your friends while you’re driving on the back roads of your town at night with the windows down.

“Someway, Somehow” and “Wanna Stay” were the next two songs performed by DREAMERS, which both are off of LAUNCH FLY LAND. I have no distinct thoughts about these songs, just because I couldn’t really get into these two as much as I did for a couple of the other songs in this set list. After DREAMERS played those two songs, they did an absolutely killer bass and drum solo from Marc Nelson and Jacob Lee Wick, respectively, that was not only cool but also awesome in every way imaginable. It was a couple minutes long, long enough for Nick Wold to switch to an acoustic guitar for a couple songs. Those songs were “Bleed Through” which is actually not on Spotify, and then a cover of the Radiohead song “Karma Police”. I’ve never really been into Radiohead too much, but I thought the cover of that song was pretty good and they still kept their main feel in the song.

Jacob Wick of DREAMERS

Photo by Erin KennedyJacob Wick of DREAMERS

The last three songs of their set before the encore were “Vampire In the Sun”, “Painkiller”, and finally the iconic “Die Happy”. The first two are wonderful in their own rights, but “Die Happy” is just such an iconic song as Nick describes it, “a song that makes you happy for the life you lived and everything you experienced.” It is wholly a song that you will feel run through your veins and make you get up and get groovy. It is almost reminiscent of a 5 Seconds of Summer song, the kind of pop-rock influenced tunes you listen to during the mid-summer with your friend group. Everything by DREAMERS is just insanely feel good music, and I know that I have been repeating that but I just cannot reiterate enough! They are absolutely fantastic in every possible way, shape, and form.

After begging for a solid minute or two, they came back on stage for a two song encore, comprised of “Wolves (You Got Me)” and “Sweet Disaster”. Nick describes “Sweet Disaster” as a song that is about “getting drunk with the people you love” and I think that is honestly beautiful in every right. “Sweet Disaster” and “Die Happy” are easily their most well known songs just because of how well known and how strong the ‘vintage summer vibes’ are if you will. If you ever have the chance to see DREAMERS live, I highly recommend it. Every band sounds different live than they do on Spotify or Apple Music or any app for that matter. There’s also just another element you don’t get from these music apps and it’s mostly being able to see the people behind the recordings.

Overall, this was a phenomenal performance by American Teeth, Arrested Youth, and DREAMERS. All three groups went out with their all and really blew the crowd away with their stage presence, enjoyment, and all around good times. This was easily a show that neither Erin nor Sam will forget.

Nick Wold of DREAMERS

Nick Wold of DREAMERS

American Teeth

American Teeth

DREAMERS

DREAMERS

Arrested Youth

Arrested Youth

DREAMERS

DREAMERS

American Teeth

American Teeth


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