This show has been rescheduled to Thursday, September 5th. All tickets purchased will be honored for the new date. Refunds are available upon request until July 5th.
Birds of Chicago have been riding a swell of good mojo in the Americana scene since their inception in late 2012. With their new album, Love in Wartime, they are set to both confirm that roots world buzz, and break on through to a much wider audience.
Recorded in Chicago against a backdrop of bewilderment, deep divide and dread, Love in Wartime is a rock and roll suite with a cinematic sweep. Co-produced with Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), it evokes epic efforts of the 60’s and 70’s, with love as the undeniable through-line.
Built around the chemistry and fire between Allison Russell and JT Nero, and their rock-steady band, BOC tours hard. Russell and Nero played with different bands in the mid-aughts (Po’ Girl and JT and the Clouds) before finding their way to each other. Nero, who writes the bulk of the songs, found himself a transcendent vocal muse in Russell (a powerful writer herself) and the band honed its chops on the road, playing 200 shows a year between 2013-17. All that shaping and sharpening, over so many miles, led them back to Chicago’s Electrical Audio in January of 2017, to begin recording Love in Wartime. “Any act of love is an act of bravery,” says Russell.. We want to give people some good news. And we want them to be able to dance when they hear it.”
Their most recent releases include 2016’s Joe Henry-produced Real Midnight and 2017’s EP American Flowers, BOC’s debut from the label Signature Sounds Recordings. Critics have searched for the right words to describe Real Midnight’s deep lyricism, gut-punch singing and musicality…. “Secular gospel” was one phrase that caught some traction. That fervor is evident in Love and Wartime as well:
“Roll Away the heavy stone/roll away the heavy hours/roll on in the summer moon/who’s alive who’s alive who’s alive?”
The invitation is joyous, but urgent. There’s another phrase that they used to describe poetry intoned over roots music mash-ups: Rock n Roll. The Birds consider themselves a rock and roll band first and foremost, and Love in Wartime doesn’t leave any doubt about that.
Birds’ shows attract a mix of indy rockers, jam-kids and Americana/roots lovers, mixing moments of hushed attention with wild, rock and soul abandon. Says Nero, “a good show can send you back out into the night feeling — for at least a little while – that everything isn’t broken.”
These days, that’s no small thing.
About the opener, Matt Nakoa:
Matt Nakoa is an award-winning songwriter, singer, and multi-instrumentalist. A modern troubadour, he makes his home on the highways and concert stages of America, and appears regularly with folk music icon Tom Rush. The Boston Globe says of Nakoa, “Between his piano chops and heartfelt originals on guitar, he drops jaws.”
Born on a small goat farm in New York State, Nakoa trained to be a concert pianist before accepting a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music as a vocalist. He developed his dramatic songwriting style with his college alt-rock band, The Fens, and after the band dissolved, he landed in NYC. It was in Manhattan’s all-night piano bars that Nakoa developed an uncanny ability to command the attention of any audience. His first solo albums, released in 2012 and 2014, garnered multiple songwriting awards, including a win at Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk Competition.
Nakoa’s newest album, Casting Shadows, is a spellbinding blend of pop, soul, and classical influences that tells a story of childhood dreams crashing headlong into grownup reality. The Ark of Music magazine proclaims, “What we have here is a truly encouraging sign of what pop could once again become …”