A four star review in Rolling Stone is a pretty substantial achievement, especially for a debut album from a relatively unknown band (though that is soon to change) like The Stills. Sure, Rolling Stone does seem to be in love with teeny bopper bubble gum pop (ex. Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard, Olsen Twins back-to-back-to-back issues), but their album reviews still carry a lot of weight. Besides, the latest issue's cover stars are The StrokesÖ phew. Anyway, The Stills have been doing everything right from the beginning. When they released an EP back in June, the band was flooded with requests for interviews, features, etc. However, rather than jump at the chance to get their name out there, the band declined. Instead of getting caught up in a whirlwind of their own hype, they locked themselves in an NYC recording studio and immersed themselves in their music. When they re-emerged, The Stills had an absolutely amazing, beautifully dark debut album in hand and an opening spot on Interpol's fall tour, which led to a supporting slot on Echo & The Bunnymen's 25th Anniversary tour. Last night, the latter tour made it's way to Chicago's Metro.
As I walked up the Metro stairs, a steady flow of people were streaming into the venue. The vast majority of the older crowd was undoubtedly there for Echo, and at first, they seemed unenthused. The Stills just did their thing, as usual. They don't have elaborate stage moves, wear matching uniforms, or partake in a lot of on-stage banter. They just play, and last night was the best they ever sounded (likely due to the superior sound quality of the venue). It took the band exactly three songs to win over the initially lackluster Metro audience. By the time they played "Still In Love Song," the ending of each song was met with cheers that grew louder as their set wore on. This was the third time I had seen the band. The first was an industry showcase at Sin-e in NYC. The second was their opening gig with Interpol at the Riv in Chicago. Each time, the majority of the crowd was relatively, if not totally, unfamiliar with The Stills music. Each time, the band clearly won over a good portion of the audience and each time, as I was herded out of the various venues, I overheard people exuberantly discussing The Stills set. With the recent onslaught of critical acclaim for their debut, Logic Will Break Your Heart, I don't anticipate The Stills will have to "win over" fans much longer. Soon, the band will be playing shows all over the country and even 17-year-old hipster wannabes from Nowheresville, Montana will be singing along to all the words.
Oh, and while I was chilling out, enjoying the show, a girl walked up and gave me a envelope containing a coupon for a discounted hair cut. Does that mean I'm a cool-enough looking dude who may want to frequent a new swanky salon, or just a guy in serious need of haircut? Any insight on the subject is welcomed.