The Hotelier - Dekalb, IL
The House Cafe 02/28/18
The Hotelier have been a critical darling since their sophomore album, Home Like No Place There Is, hit record store shelves in 2014. Their third album Goodness was released to a similarly positive reception and a fourth album is in writing stages but has yet to be recorded. They’re on an extensive North American tour full of long drives and supposed alien abductions, according to vocalist/bassist Christian Holden.
Chicago math rock/midwest emo band Furlough opened the show to the 20 people or so strewn about the coffee shop as though they were playing to a crowd of 2,000. Though young, Furlough really brought the finger-tapping talent that’s sure to attract plenty of Spotify streams after they record their upcoming 2018 album. Their performance was unrefined but sincere; exactly the kind of artist that other artists and genre devotees fall in love with.
Pink Beam was up second, taking the stage with two lightning bolt straps and a McCartney-esque Hofner bass. True to their aesthetic, they brought out Blue-Green album Weezer garage rock with super sweet harmonies and some 50-60’s inspired cadences. There is an elegance in simplicity and Pink Beam was strumming all the right power chords for fans of 90’s alternative and good ol’ rock ’n’ roll.
The Hotelier took the stage with a nonchalance that provoked conversation with the front row. The venue had filled out quite a bit at this point, but it was easy to feel like everyone there was just hanging out with the band. They played Your Deep Rest, a powerful song and fan favorite, second: an unusual choice given that most bands save their popular songs for last. The crowd was with them for the hits and the deep cuts, The Hotelier’s emphasis on dense emotional lyrics attracts the kind of fans that can’t wait to let out a venue-shaking “FUCK!” as their song An Introduction to the Album came to its crescendo.
“This will be our last song, we’ve been The Hotelier” Holden told the crowd to many of their dismay.
“I’ll pay you 100 dollars a piece to play Dendron!” came a desperate cry from Luis Rojas, a dedicated fan. The crowd cheered, the band was caught off guard. Holden jokingly offered his Venmo name and told him they’d play Dendron if he was serious. To the surprise of everyone in attendance, Luis took the stage phone in hand and sent the band 400 dollars. They played with a fervor matched only by Luis himself, who they let stay on stage to sing his heart out. After the closing chords, they insisted that they’d send him his money back and they ended the set with the song they had originally intended.
By Brandon Phipps