‘Twas the night before Halloween, and as I arrived at Lincoln Hall to see Chicago-based rock and roll band Twin Peaks, that I noticed nearly half the crowd was embracing the holiday spirit in costume while I was lamely not in costume. As I made my way up to the stage so that I could get close enough to snap a few pictures, I found myself standing amidst a crowd of baby-faced teens and realized that I was in the minority with my orange wristband.
I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time that I’d been to an all ages show, and the thought gave me a strange feeling. My friend George summarized it very succinctly when he later told me, “I feel so old.” We hunkered down by the bar on the right side of the stage, because if there’s one thing I remembered about young crowds it’s that what they lack in age they make up for in energy, and I wasn’t trying to have my camera elbowed by some moshing juvenile.
I arrived just as opening act Flesh Panthers was finishing and thus didn’t have a chance to hear much from them, but I was fortunate enough to see the entirety of NE-HI’s set, which was honestly quite impressive. Fluctuating between krautrock assaults and sun-dazed pop, nimble guitar leads cut through a haze of reverb as the band locked into tight, rhythmic grooves with that had an effect that was both hypnotic and energizing. It only took two songs to get the crowd moving.
And then there was Twin Peaks, the band I had come to see. Seeing them get on stage (dressed as the baseball gang from The Warriors), I remembered that it’s not strange that crowd was so young because this band is so young; it was drummer’s 21st birthday and I think he’s the oldest member of the band. Their most recent effort is “Wild Onion,” and album that has made waves in the local scene since its August release and has even earned them nods from Rolling Stone and NME, aside from also being my favorite record of the summer. Lately they’ve been playing festivals and touring relentlessly throughout the U.S., Canada, and have even played a few shows in the UK. Maybe it’s because of this that Twin Peaks didn’t seem nervous as all as they looked out at the sold out venue: they’re hometown heroes returning from a conquering the world.
The band kicked off with “Strawberry Smoothie,” a song that I’m sure is designed to get crowds jumping, and that it certainly did. They came out loud and with a lot of energy, but “Smoothie” and second song “Telephone” felt a little bit rushed, and some of the more intricate guitar licks were lost amid the din of it all – not that anyone else in the crowd seemed to mind.
The set really kicked off when they played “Baby Blue,” a song that sounded fresh and vital as the band ditched the characteristic lo-fi sound that drenches their 2013 album “Sunken.” Another “Sunken” track, “Irene,” had a similar effect, taking on a whole different energy with help from both the band’s road-tested chops and Lincoln Hall’s sound system.
Other set highlights included “Stranger World,” a song that was dedicated to any audience members who happened to be on LSD. A saxophonist took the stage and the crowd took to swaying rather than jumping for a few minutes. The crowd sang and danced to “Wild Onion” cuts “Good Lovin’” and “Making Breakfast” like they were classics, and perhaps for this young crowd they already are.
The thing that stands out to me about this band isn’t only what they have already achieved—which is undeniably impressive considering their age—but also the immense potential that they have. If this is what they’re doing at the age of twenty, what will they be doing in two years? What about five years? You can take the pessimistic perspective and say that Twin Peaks is part of a fad that will peter out and die in a few years’ time, but I don’t think that’s a case. Of course only time will tell, but I for one am excited to see what the future holds for Twin Peaks.