Lincoln Hall is not a massive venue, but it’s still a huge deal to sell it out. It’s even a bigger deal to do so when you’re still in high school. That’s just what Billie Eilish did last weekend and her star power is only getting bigger. Last time she was in Chicago, she sold out Schubas, the smaller sister venue of LH. Even with the bigger venue, Eilish was able to make it feel special for the packed crowd.
While many of her fans were young and accompanied by parents (who looked less than thrilled to be there), tons of 20 and 30somethings dotted the crowd with anticipation to see this incredible artist. Eilish jumped onstage and immediately had everyone’s attention, including the parents. Fresh from a smattering of shows at South by Southwest, Eilish gave her Chicago crowd a powerful, exciting, and refreshingly real performance.
The 16-year old singer-songwriter played songs from her first EP, Don’t Smile at Me, which was released in August of 2017, as well as a fantastic cover of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” on the ukulele. Eilish made her debut at 13 years old when she recorded the vocals on “Ocean Eyes”, a song that her brother, Finneas (of Glee fame), had been playing with his band. The song was uploaded to SoundCloud in 2016 and became a viral hit. Following this success, Eilish released her first EP, Don’t Smile at Me, in August of 2017. Several singles from the EP, including “Bellyache” and “Bored”, have gained critical acclaim, with the latter being featured in the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. Her sultry voice is reminiscent of Lorde, and her complex lyrics and simple melodies are undeniably catchy.
Eilish made the crowd feel special and loved, which isn’t always something an artist can do. Having done a meet and greet before the show for some fans, it’s clear that her devotion to her fans is her first priority. Her set was just under an hour, but she put every ounce of energy into her time onstage. Now that she’s sold out Schubas and Lincoln Hall, and she’ll be back to play Lollapalooza in August. At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if she was on tour someday selling out the United Center. Be sure to see Eilish up close and personal while you still can.
All photos by Kate Scott