Review: Aly & AJ Add Some Nostalgia to Their Lively Show at House of Blues

If you grew up watching Disney channel in the mid 2000s, chances are you know who Aly & AJ are. After a long 10-year musical hiatus, sisters Aly & AJ made their iconic return to music with their EP Ten Years in 2017. With a more modern and refined sound on Ten Years, this rekindled their fanbase as well as the release of a deluxe version and another two albums following their success. Aly & AJ ventured back to Chicago to play the House of Blues this week for a crowd that has grown up with them.

The crowd, yearning to dance to Aly & AJ’s synthy jams, welcomed opening band The Brummies with much excitement! The Brummies warmed up the crowd effortlessly with their groovy riffs and impeccable stage presence. The anticipation grew as they finished their set and Aly & AJ’s set time grew closer. After a quick scan of the floor, I quickly realized a majority of the crowd, like me, had to be in their mid to late 20s, longing to see their childhood idols perform.

Aly & AJ photo by Andrew Lagunas.

I have been incredibly eager to see Aly & AJ ever since I listened to the release of their single “Take Me” back in 2017. That song showed that the pair had not lost a step after all that time away. Their latest album, a touch of the beat gets you up on your feet gets you out and then into the sun, proves that the girls’ talents are constantly evolving as they have produced some vastly underrated synth-pop and dance tracks.

As they came on stage, the spotlights lit up Aly & AJ and I was completely star struck! Opening with a queue of songs from their latest record, they instantly captivated their loyal fans. I particularly enjoyed basking in their song “Listen!!!” from the photo pit. Further down their set, they also graced the crowd with their iconic return to music anthem “Take Me” followed by their classic “Chemicals React,” which was nothing short of a nostalgia trip for the entire room.

Aly & AJ photo by Andrew Lagunas

Aly & AJ are also quite the humanitarians as they were offering a meet and greet in exchange for signing petitions and the option to donate to LGBTQ causes that they feel strongly about. They also are currently running a fundraiser on their Instagram page for the Ukraine crisis. It’s refreshing to see an artist using their platform for positive change and to talk about it at their show.                  

Closing out their show, they came back for an encore that consisted of “Don’t Need Nothing,” a lively and faithful cover of Tegan and Sara’s “Closer” and their legendary “Potential Breakup Song” (with the added profanities of course). Aly & AJ are still in their prime and have come back to the world of music stronger than ever. Tuesday night’s show was absolutely perfect and exceeded my expectations as well as fulfilled my childhood dreams of getting to see them live!

All photos by Andrew Lagunas

Andrew Lagunas
Andrew Lagunas

Andrew Lagunas is a freelance photographer from Naperville who specializes in portraiture and concert photography. He has an Associate in Arts degree from College of DuPage and is always looking for new creative outlets.

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