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  • Writer's pictureKaralynn Cromack

Review of Tourzilla: A Conglomerate Performance

The Chicago House of Blues is a legendary venue that has housed artists of the same caliber, including Chuck Berry and John Mayer. On October 7th, the house had the opportunity to host the artists taking part in Tourzilla, a conglomerate show with acts from Eliza McLamb, Vacations, and Last Dinosaurs. The influence of the music, from ambience to groove, made for a truly stellar show.

Eliza McLamb served as the opener to start the show. The North Carolina-raised singer-songwriter embodies a bright and moody sound. Most of the songs she performs border on rock ballads with bedroom pop embellishments. Show-wise, the lighting was full of moody cool tones, and the setting was very still to bring attention to vocal expression. Eliza knows her show well enough to know that her voice is enough to captivate the audience, but she doesn’t hold back on being present for the dramatic builds of her songs. For those looking to listen, the artist is maybe credited heaviest with the song “Mythologize Me,” which presents itself as a critique of the demand for the perfect manic pixie dream girl and how those characters are made of fantasies.

Eliza McLamb

After a brief intermission, the four-man band from Vacations came to the stage dressed in costume as a hazmat team to open with their song “Next Exit” and boost the energy of the crowd. The band specializes in a classic indie pop sound full of starry reverb, electric guitar riffs, and shuffling drums. Their music is reminiscent of days at the beach and the liveliness of youth. On the stage, the band brought out a good level of energy between Eliza McLamb’s ballads and the more intense playing of Last Dino’s, setting them as a perfect middle act to build the trajectory of the show. Godlight showed down on all members, from bassist Jake Johnson to frontman Campbell Burns. The group from Newcastle, Australia, made known their excitement to be touring in the States. This is shown in instances where Burns let out laughter within verses, which was certainly returned by the crowd, which buzzed when the release “Midwest” was played within the Windy City. Chances are people unfamiliar with the band have heard their song "Young,” which has become featured throughout the internet for its distinguished leading riff.

Campbell Burns of Vacations

For the last and longest set, Last Dinos took the stage. The band, much like their fellow act, is from Australia but embraces the Latino roots of the members. Another commonality they have with Vacations is their bright, surf-pop instrumentals. Though the two bands marry well together, Last Dinos leans towards a higher-paced, more electronic sound. With funk-packed bass lines and a robust input of synths, the music could even be considered disco. The disco effect was boosted by constant light shifts and abstract imagery being shown on background screens. High energy isn’t just fitting for the songs, but for the movement of the members throughout their show. Within their first three songs, lead guitarist Lachlan Caskey was standing on the barricade, shredding away. Along with this, there was no stillness between the jumping and dancing of the other members, especially when they covered “Move Your Feet” by Junior Senior, inspiring the crowd to bop along. A crowd favorite and suggestion for those finding where to start among the Last Dinos many releases may be their 2015 single "Apollo,” which makes for a perfect singing in the shower anthem.

Lachlan Caskey of Last Dinos

The performances were enjoyable and easy to get into while still being engaging, as passion came off of the chords of every guitar throughout the night. The House of Blues lent out a perfect sense of closeness with its intimate venue, and a sense of community was felt between all the fans dancing together. It’s a firm truth that Chicago has been honored by being able to house the deep feelers of ballads, indie kids, and rockers alike.


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