Review: Bag Raiders Stops in Chicago for a Dance Thriller

There is something special about the Australian indie-rock and electronic family of bands. Names such as Tame Impala, Empire of the Sun, Cut Copy, Miami Horror, and Midnight Juggernauts are merely a few of this talented assortment of artists that bring a special groove and feeling in music. Another member of the family, Bag Raiders, made their Horizon World Tour to Lincoln Hall last Friday for a dancing-energy spectacle, surprisingly not sold out, with attendees cheering all night. Starting in 2006, Jack Glass and Chris Stracey started the project, which comes at one of my favorite times in music, around the blog house birth. Their connection at Cranbook School in Sydney molded a foundation to create two studio albums, seven extended play releases, and a great variety of remixes of The Ting Tings, Cut Copy, and Banks. Glass and Stracey brought a drummer with them for the show, and it provided the crucial element to elevate their set, start to finish. Stracey shared with the crowd early on, “it’s great to be here,” with a big smile, received by a cheering response that showing a connection of performance to audience. From song to song, the band moved swiftly in its hour and fifteen-minute set, with no encore. There is no one specific word to describe their sound to a new or unfamiliar listener, their influences include jazz, classic rock, funk, disco, classical, and techno! The two most crucial elements to any of their songs include piano, guitar, and a melodic beat, whether that is a physical drum or drum machine. Songs like “Shooting Star” and “Sunlight” are what I would consider Bag Raider classics, and to no surprise they were two of the last three songs of the night, evoking a massive dance party inside the venue. Hands were waving, bodies were moving, and smiles continued to grow over the course of the night on the floor and in the balcony. Before closing the evening, both Stracey and Glass made a point to tell the audience “you guys are amazing, we love you so much,” in such humble voices, as if surprised by the outpour of support and enjoyment from the show. All songs in their set carry such intention and selection of order, it creates a special narrative for the attendee to experience. Not many musical acts have that ability, but for Bag Raiders, it’s something they take to careful detail. The next leg of their tour San Francisco, California and then Japan. If you haven’t listened to them before, give them a shot – you may just catch yourself dancing when you least expect it. This review was written by guest author Michael Kocourek
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Michael Kocourek

Michael Kocourek is a Berwyn native, now living on the north side. He is a marketing professional, but beyond the corporate world, his passion involves sharing live concert experiences with the masses. If he isn’t curating a playlist or sharing a new song, he’s likely eating at a Chicago restaurant or cooking.