Ganser at the Empty Bottle Chicago
Ganser at the Empty Bottle Chicago
Opening Night of a Three Night Residency
Empty Bottle Chicago
Thursday July 8th 2021
Ganser at the Empty Bottle- First of an extraordinary three night residency- was absolutely worth it.
So refreshing to have contributed to this residency, and it being the first show in the midst of this pandemic to witness and photograph them live in an intimate venue such as the Bottle.
From load in, through soundcheck, to Zoe the Production Manager of the Bottle inscribing the event on the venerated front door chalk board of the Bottle, to a quick pose session with Brian, Charlie, Alicia and Nadia out front before the doors opened, to the actual live performance- all of it- forever and ever etched in my brain.
It has to be refreshing for Ganser, to finally dust off the past year and half cobwebs, and finally play some of their fruitful songs from their latest release- “Just Look at that Sky”- an album full of frazzled / jagged glory and offbeat enchantment.
“Just Look at that Sky” was released all the way back in May of 2020, which must have been disheartening to not be able to promote efficiently, with a full scale tour and such.
But it is what it is, and the band survived that along with some other hurdles of discontent, and suddenly when these three shows were announced back I think in May of this year- I couldn’t be more happy for them.
And why not start off performing in our beloved hometown of Chicago, and at the Empty Bottle no less!
One of the best quotes through the pandemic from the band was back in the fall of 2020, with a quote from Brian- “Can’t wait to get back to wrecking rooms again”.
This quote was in response to Greg Kot of Sound Opinions, and he highlighted on his Podcast with Jim Derogatis a batch of record reviews and releases, one of which was Ganser’s “Just Look at that Sky”, and Greg singled out Ganser- “A smart room- wrecking Chicago band”….which was so poignant and spot- on.
That quote from Greg, followed by Brian in his share on Facebook has stuck with me for the past 10 / 11 months, amping up the energy for these dates with Ganser at the Bottle.
And I’m sure for them, they were itching to play live to an audience the new stuff- to let it rip, and to have some serious fun as well.
And so it was for Night One at the Bottle, with Ganser’s neon-ish martini glass on full display next to the back wall curtain on the main stage holding court as a good sign of things to come.
Ganser is without a doubt up to the present a band that pushes the envelope in jagged sounds and controlled (somewhat) chaos, and making it meld into a cohesive whole, on the periphery of disassembling and looking like things are gonna break apart- and yet- it works, on many levels- their songs, and things stay intact in all the disorder.
Their opening at the Bottle- kinda like what I just described, even within the small and tight corner stage that is the Bottle.
Ganser’s explosive and note worthy energy was evident throughout between the four of them, particularly with guitarist Charlie Lansdman, who looks and feels like he’s going to go off the rails with his discordant and choppy and ferocious at times guitar fills, punctuated by fierce drum fills from Brian Cundiff to balance the mix into some sort of workable cohesiveness.
This is not in any way a slight at all- matter of fact it is the exact opposite- and to witness these two play live and take things to another level is goosebumps awesome.
Same holds true with Nadia Garofalo and Alicia Gaines, who add their fair share of wicked coolness to the mix, with shared vocal duties and pronounced musical prowess with synths and solid and heavy bass grooves.
With Ganser, and their whole current state of affairs- the whole things works, and they’re worthy of your attention performing live, with repeated listens.
Having photographed and witnessed them perform live on multiple occasions now?
Well I can’t wait to work on this gigantic edit with them opening up for Ohmme at Thalia Hall back in late August, followed by their scheduled performance coming up at Riot Fest in a couple weeks.
All n’ all, I’m so happy for them, and witnessing their progression first hand.
Such a cool cool band.
Cheers- Bobby Talamine – Music Photographer