Current Joys, the incredible project of Nick Rattigan, brought Valentine’s day early to Thalia Hall on Saturday night with their heart wrenching tunes about love, heartbreak, and all the emotions in between. Rattigan’s sold out return to Chicago was packed with enthusiastic fans ready to have their hearts broken while dancing to some of their pleasantly upbeat yet depressing songs & lyrics. Eager for his headlining performance, Rattigan made an early cameo appearance with the opening band, Dark Tea. One of their members couldn’t make it so Rattigan took that as an opportunity to charm his fans before his set.
Current Joys released their latest album, Voyager, last year with the uncertainty of touring and COVID-19 still on the rise. They luckily were able to finally make it out to Chicago to perform their most polished LP to date. The setlist was perfectly dispersed with songs from his latest record all the way back to his early lo-fi indie rock sound that was Wild Heart that put Current Joys on the radar for so many people. You could really tell Nick Rattigan was feeling the music’s emotion and energy throughout his whole body as he danced in a trance-like manner in between singing while absolutely shredding it on guitar.
It wasn’t hard to tell what the fans were most excited for though. At first it felt like the bass was going to make the balcony floors come crashing down. However after looking over the railing; people began to shake the ground and mosh to their classic hits “Blondie” and “New Flesh.” Out of all of the countless times I have been to a show at Thalia Hall, I had never felt the ground shake from fans dancing so passionately and freely to Rattigan’s angsty yet definitive lo-fi tunes. Closing out with their coming-of-age-film sounding song “My Motorcycle,” the entire crowd was singing and pushing to the front for one last mosh.
The energy brought by Current Joys to Thalia Hall was the warm hug we all needed, especially with this gloomy cold Chicago weather. Their ability to evoke emotion both good and bad as well as tapping into nostalgia is something that Current Joys delivers so well with their music. They have been a band that I personally have been listening to for years and to finally see Rattigan reaching a wider audience (partially thanks to every indie artists big break, tiktok) is quite heartwarming for someone that writes such despairing and emotive music.
All photos by Andrew Lagunas