Review: Sunflower Bean Brought Space Cowboy Vibes to Lincoln Hall

On a busy Friday night, Lincoln Hall isn't too filled for an interesting three-band bill compiled of Rookie, Dream Wife, and Sunflower Bean. With each band offering something different, it’s hard to imagine such a spectacular place not selling out on a Friday night. In an attempt to rejuvenate my body from a full work day, I overslept and only caught half a set by local rockers Rookie. The five-piece group rocks out just as hard as any other Chicago band. Despite the lack of people in the crowd, most are nodding away to the band’s twangy riffs. I was able to catch the band’s lone streaming song "One Way Ticket;” it hits on every part of the band’s classic rock persona that resembles the likes of The Doors and early Electric Light Orchestra. Slowly but surely the crowd is growing before tonight's headliner Sunflower Bean but first, London's very own Dream Wife takes the stage in the desolate hall. The crowd is unfortunately reluctant to show any interest in the band until they play "Act My Age". It faintly sounds like other songs performed tonight by singer Rakel Mjöll, in which she channels her inner Kathleen Hanna. Shortly after the song finishes the band breaks into a medley of Blondie's "One Way or Another" and The Spice Girls "Wannabe". The crowd became more enthralled with the band’s performance and stage antics especially when they play "F.U.U." It's the last track on the band's self-titled album released this past January. "This song is for the bad bitches." Mjöll yells out before the band plays, the mood continues to shift with high spirits as the push pit in front of the stage takes over the room. Dream Wife delivers their crummy yet poppy last song of the night with "Let's Make Out." Sunflower Bean's Julia Cumming takes the stage in her navy-blue jumpsuit along with fellow members, Jacob Faber and Nick Kivlen. They immediately break out into "Burn It", a space cowboy song that could be mistaken for a song you'd hear in the background of a Tesla commercial, which is soon followed up with another song "2013" that could be placed in the same space cowboy conversation. The New York City natives are not cowboys or astronauts but could be mistaken for such with their stage presence and guitarist Kivlen's telephone microphone that echoes into the crowd during "Human For". The band delivers an amazing performance when they tone down for their cover of Neil Young's "Harvest Moon." "Because I'm still in love with you, on this harvest moon," Cummings cries out during a heartwarming cover. The band's reverted back to their newer sound for the latter half of their set with, "Sinking Sands", "I Was a Fool", and "Only A Moment". The older punkier sound I heard during the previous Dream Wife set returns for Sunflower Bean's last encore song of the night with "I Was Home". There have been some slight changes to the band's sound that makes them more intriguing than most of the touring bands that come through Chicago, making for an excellent show.
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Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith is a freelance writer, frequent concert attendee, and occasional Twitch streamer. He’s usually at the nearest taqueria or attending the concert of an artist he discovered while surfing the internet.