We’re slowly stumbling into another season; luckily this one precedes the glorious festival season. A duo of Chicago’s very own open the night with Claude and Sen Morimoto, each entertaining in their own right. But tonight’s main event is Sasami Ashworth. I’ve been looking forward to what came next after her departure from her keyboards and indie rock band Cherry Glazerr last year. There are always expectations and questions when someone leaves a band. “Will it sound like the last band?” “Are they starting a new band?” “What if it’s bad?” Sasami was quick to announce she would be starting a band and going by her first name, Sasami. Fast forward to this year, there’s a self-titled album on Domino Records along with a supporting tour that includes a sold-out Schubas show.
The main bar’s packed as always despite it being an all–ages show, which means we can all be in bed by 11pm at the latest. The back room with the mini bar, stage, and band merch has been packed but there’s room to slip to the front. Sasami and her duo take the stage to Mariah Carey’s, “Always Be My Baby.” Eager to start they break out into, “Morning Comes,” a slow melodic build up leading into Sasami simultaneously shredding and repeatedly screaming, “I’m not fucking sorry!” “I’m bleeding already so this must be a good sign,” she yells while we all laugh. There’s some chatty banter with a crowd member, which led to Sasami saying, “You must be a white male.” A repetitive but necessary statement regarding the matter, she doesn’t let this deter the night’s mood.
Halfway through the set and a shared CBD cocktail, the sold–out crowd doesn’t seem so stiff as Sasami strums the opening notes to a more popular tune, “Jealousy.” The lead single that could be mistaken for a cult’s theme song with each sequence of the performance becoming more eerie as Sasami sings in the softest harmonies. Each song has taken its own form throughout the set with Adrien’s edgy rhythm on bass and Zoe’s drumming that resembles time spent drumming for Sad13 and King Tuff.
They end the night with “Pacify My Heart,” another song that’s met with a soothing intro that coincides with heart-wrenching lyrics. “When you quantify my love, you may find it’s not enough.” By the end of the night I feel as if the album I’ve listened to repeatedly doesn’t do Sasami justice. The versatility and skill of Sasami was on full display all night. This will hopefully commence what will be the first of many more sensational Sasami shows.