Review: American Football Enchanted a Sold Out Metro

Saturday night’s sold out American Football show at Metro was a unique experience. The show, which was also the album release show for the band’s third self-titled album, was packed with fans of all ages: older fans that had been into them since their seminal 1999 self-titled first album, to younger fans that had obviously just recently discovered them as their favorite band. Either way, everyone there was truly excited to be there, as American Football have made a name for themselves as being legends of the Midwestern emo scene. Though only having released 3 albums within the past 20 years, they have a more dedicated fanbase than a lot of emo bands that consistently put out music. And for good reason: they’re just really freaking musically talented. Their use of uncommon time signatures was unprecedented for the emo scene when American Football (LP1) came out; their lyrics are relatable for people of any age. Though they’ve been around for a while, they still feel fresh. The stage setup featured a sheet made into a tent, with bare light bulbs giving off a beautiful incandescent glow set up throughout the stage.  The scene looked similar to the house that was featured on the cover of American Football (LP1), and gave off a cozy, warm vibe. Starting off with “Silhouettes”, the opening track and first single off of LP3, I was instantly enamored by how simply pretty everything sounded. Though singer Mike Kinsella’s voice sounded slightly off at first, the music was beautiful; enchanting chimes swelling into a symphony of sound. The set continued with songs from all 3 of their releases, with the audience screaming along with every word. The band was locked in, never wavering through multiple meter changes, even giving each other a little smile when they would nail it. Their sheer musical talent is undeniable, as evidenced by their use of multiple time signature changes and amazing instrumentation. The highlight of the show was drummer Steve Lamos playing a captivating trumpet solo interlude, completely polished and unwavering. The best part of the night was how genuinely happy the band was to be playing a sold out show at Metro. “We used to come here all the time to see shows,” Kinsella told the audience. It was awesome to see their happiness shine through in the tiny smiles they would give each other when the crowd cheered.
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Carissa Coughlin

Carissa Coughlin is a Chicago based photographer and writer, specializing in portraiture, fashion and live performance photography. See more of her work at