Poliça and OHMME’s Chill Vibes Dominated House of Vans
Part record fair and part concert, Day 5 of Red Bull’s 30 Days in Chicago felt like a completely different type of show. The whole event felt more low key and casual, starting off with Discogs Crate Diggers record fair and culminating in an afterparty concert featuring OHMME an Poliça . The elongated event gave the crowd an opportunity to explore everything that Red Bull and House of Vans cooked up. HOV’s constant decor like the faux ivy wall and the photo booth tucked away next to the bar could be full appreciated as you roamed more freely throughout the day. The cool new setups like the stack of TVs featuring the other artists playing shows in the 30 Days series and free stuff like sticks, buttons, and games on the custom pinball table were readily available and gave a little extra flair to the already fun venue.
As always, OHMME’s opening set was an excellent display of their collective talents. The duo of Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart constantly impress and this time around they were joined by their drummer Matt Carroll, making for a fuller and more intense show. The laid out a really sharp set of songs that hit hard from the get go. This was due in part to drifting away from compositions that featured Stewart’s violin and decidedly centered on their more explosive and animated songs.
“Furniture” gave way to some fantastic guitar playing from the duo with Cunningham going all out with some of the fiercest guitar-face I’ve ever seen. Their new song “Wheel”, which was featured in the 7in vinyl that was given away to crowd, hit a great high in the set as the song’s determined march never falters. After a fantastic B52s cover, OHMME ended their set with their most recognizable song “Woman”, delivering its catchy cadence all the way to its frantic and scorching end.
Poliça took the headlining spot of the night, coming out to a pretty warmed up crowd. I had not seen the synth group live and I must say I was delighted with their sound. Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu manned a pair of drummers against the back of the stage while bassist Chris Bierden and frontwoman Channy Leaneagh took the spotlight. The wave of synth sounds washed over the crowd with “Summer Please” as Leaneagh’s voice broke through vibrantly, a far cry from their studio albums more distorted vocals.
The vibe the band elicited was one of a total chill. Poliça’s music tows the line between dark synth tendencies and bright pop grooves. With their last album, United Crusher, the band went further into the more streamlined dark tones, but there is something about this performance that just surges with dance-able urgency. “Lay Your Cards Out” was easily one of the most ethereal moments of the show, where every component fit together perfectly.
There were a few moments where their pristine sound hit a roadblock, specifically Bierden’s bass connections seemed to weave in and out due to technical issues early on, but even that couldn’t deter the energy the band had. After a quick fix, Polica pushed forward with their sparkling tones as Leaneagh shifted between her small synth station and swaying around the stage, grooving along to the music much like the rest of the elated crowd. Their set a great cap to one of the more distinct shows in Red Bull Sound Select’s 30 Days in Chicago series.