Wednesday night, Schubas Tavern in Chicago was teeming with excitement in anticipation of The Sun. The band has developed a unique following as their major label, Warner Bros., has begun to finally push the promotion of their most recent album, Blame It On The Youth. The rustic venue was filled with what seemed like a mix of people who remembered the The Sun’s 2002 EP, Love and Death, as well as numerous personal friends of the band. However, at the same time there was that large group of individuals who repeatedly asked between songs “wait, what band is this?”
The Sun have made it to that awkward stage where they’ve been granted access to the resources provided by a major label, like a DVD album featuring a music video for every song on their album, and yet the boys are still (wisely) touring in a van with a hitch. The Sun have reached the quiet moment before the storm and in their modest way, seem to be oblivious of the success they are poised to experience in the months to come. But despite the diverse mix of attendees, there was a positive energy in the room that encouraged even the most clueless participants into waving their hands and tapping their feet. The Sun have a dramatic way of connecting with an audience, providing an aggressive, sometimes jaded onslaught of excellent indie rock.
The Sun’s set burned the stage like a wall of fire, as the band blazed through songs without a pause. There was something raw and unprocessed about the nerd rock quintet from Ohio. The experience felt like genuine magic, and I wondered if perhaps this was the sensation audience members experienced watching revolutionaries like the Ramones or the Stooges. The group was casually dressed in the usual band-rock attire, although I couldn’t help but notice all the damn wrinkles on lead singer/guitarist, Chris Burney's pants (casualties of the tour). The Sun’s music is an awesome mix of pop-rock hooks and punk rock anthems, mixed with an endearing garage rock sensibility. However, the group’s selling point is their ability to juxtapose those aggressive styles with a series of sentimental accents, providing for a well-rounded mix of alternative styles. In many ways The Sun provide a younger, more vigorous, and more down to earth alternative to the ever-popular Weezer.
But if all that isn’t enough, starting last Monday the band began airing their newest video every hour on the hour on MTV’s exclusive college network, MTVU. The broadcast airs on more than 700 colleges across the country and is sure to make a dramatic impact on the well educated. What’s more is that I caught a small segment of The Sun’s single, “Must Be You”, while being forced by my roommate to watch network television’s popular sci-fi drama Surface. However, I doubt either of these career developments impacted the immense success of the Sun’s live show last Wednesday. As the group began to round the end of their set, screams from the audience demanded the band play a favorite off their album entitled “Valentine.” The band raged through their last song, thrashing at their instruments while vigorously pouring buckets of sweat onto the floor. On my way out I ran into the band loading their own equipment into their tour van. We shook hands and thanked each other for all being apart of the same awesome experience. The Sun are an awesome new development that is sure to be on the tongues of just about everyone in the new year.