I was supposed to take this week off from shows. It’s a short week for me sandwiched between my best friend’s wedding and a trip out to Las Vegas for When We Were Young. The wedding wiped me out and Vegas is sure to be a whirlwind trip. I was supposed to spend this week just resting, getting caught up, and getting ahead on work. That’s when I got the pitch for NNAMDÏ’s show. Words and phrases like “a tribute to Looney Tunes composer Carl Stalling”, “genre-fusing”, and “inspiration in silence” had me intrigued. Also, let’s be honest, there was no way I could really go an entire week without a show.
Local act Daphne Jane got the night started at the 7th Street Entry. Sweet and innocent, Daphne’s music wasn’t quite what I wanted for my night as I was still exhausted from the weekend but I loved everything about her, her band, and her audience. Filled with parents, family, and friends, the amount of support that Daphne got from the audience was more than enough to have me sold on her set. Daphne came off as shy, sweet, and innocent. Those three things are not something I typically go for when it comes to live performances but when put in the context of her set in front of her family, it worked perfectly. The music was sweet and poppy but it had an incredible amount of heart behind it. The icing on the cake was when Daphne explained that she has a habit of surprising people with songs about them. She reflected back to the time she surprised her mom with a song and although her mom tried to record it, all you could hear was the sniffling in the background coming from mom. Wednesday night’s surprise was a very sweet and heart-on-her-sleeve ode to her girlfriend aptly named “Lauren”. Although one of the last tracks in her set, it was during “Lauren” that I feel like Daphne really started to come out of her shell and it made me excited for the future of this amazing songstress.
Chicago rapper Joshua Virtue was up after Daphne and although it was a drastic change musically, the amount of heart that Joshua brought to the stage matched how Daphne had started off the night. Joshua’s brand of rap matches his energy. It’s in your face and almost brash at times but also very full of emotion and feeling. He joked about how it was weird to be following up such a set of beauty with a set where he will literally just yell at the audience but I, for one, was here for it. There was something perfectly informal about his set from the way he performed to the way he addressed the crowd. The understated emotion and intensity that came with each track seemed to match that informal attitude in a perfect way making it a stand-out set. Although he wasn’t on stage for long, he definitely caught my attention and the attention of many other music lovers in the crowd. Being that Joshua is from Chicago which really isn’t that far away, I truly hope to see his name in town more and more over the upcoming months.
I was nervous as NNAMDÏ took the stage but I really can’t tell you why. The two opening acts had already shown me that I had made the right choice of giving up on my week at home and venturing out to a show. Thankfully, those nerves calmed as soon as NNAMDÏ and his band took the stage and swept me off my feet. Nnamdi Ogbonnaya is based in Chicago and seems to constantly be on a grind. From being the founder of Sooper Records to mentioning that he had played the Entry before as the drummer for another act to his almost contact releasing of new music, NNAMDÏ is on a grind and that’s something that I recognize and appreciate so much. Beyond that is the true talent that this man has.
“Genre-Fusing” is an understatement when it comes to his music. Elements of hip-hop, jazz, punk, and even classical were heard and felt throughout his set meaning I have no real way to explain his music to you. It was truly all over the place but every place it went was absolutely perfect. It was a journey through styles, emotions, tempos, and energy levels– just a complete journey that I truly never wanted to end. Even in the moments where I couldn’t really understand what was going on musically or even find the beat or rhythm, the artistry that created those moments was not lost on me and I enjoyed them almost as much as the infectious parts that had the entire audience participating in the show whether in the form of singing along or dancing.
“Have you ever seen someone in a jumpsuit that’s too small?… We are experiencing this together… It’s not a dance move, I’m just adjusting”. That was just one of the many moments where NNAMDÏ’s personality shined as bright as the music coming from him and his band. Much like Joshua Virtue’s set, although professional, there was something super informal and personable about the set. There were many laughs and many smiles throughout the set but always followed by moments of jaws on the ground and heads in the clouds. It was a beautiful balance that NNAMDÏ had and a balance that is truly hard to pull off but he and his band did it absolutely perfectly and with ease.
I was supposed to be sitting at home on Wednesday night getting work done and starting to pack for Las Vegas. I went to a show instead. None of us are surprised. I can’t seem to go more than just a couple of days without music before I throw a tantrum. I knew nothing about any of the acts when I walked into the 7th Street Entry on Wednesday but I left more than satisfied and feeling more like myself. Go to the show. Stumble into that venue. Work and sleep are overrated. Just go to the damn show.
Venue: 7th Street Entry
Smell-O-Meter: Nothing Notable
Average Age of the Crowd: 19
Crowd Surfers- None
Stage Divers- 0
Mosh-ability- 7 out of 10
Sausage-Fest Meter- 4 out of 10
Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around- $0
Broken Bones- None
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing
Randomly Shirtless Men – 0
Passed Out Kids- 0
Idiots Taken Out By Security – 0
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember)-
Daphne Jane – 0
Joshua Virtue – 0
NNAMDÏ – 0
Celebrity Sightings – Har Mar Superstar
Overall Score- 8 out of 10
Show on Deck — When We Were Young Festival
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