Walking into Sleeping Village Friday night, we were instantly stuck at the door. Weaving in and out of the busy bar crowd, we attempted our way to the concert hall. As we approached, we realized the stop at the front door was where Deeper’s ticket line actually began. As we politely made our way to the end of the line, familiar faces from other Chicago bands had already patiently established their place in the queue. This was Deeper’s first headlining show since their album release in May so no one would dare miss it. We were all there to help Deeper celebrate their tour with The Districts beginning the following Monday. It felt like a family reunion of proud aunts and uncles that also enjoy a good party. As people recognized and greeted each other with glee and a warm embrace, no one seemed impatient or mad they had to wait in a long line. Not only is Deeper full of talented musicians with a grunge and electric sound that energizes everyone, but the personal humbleness the guys emit creates a welcoming atmosphere that everyone wants to bask in. It was no surprise when Sleeping Village had to put a sign out saying the show was sold out before even half of the winding line had made their way into the venue. A simple ink stamp served entryway like a secret into the musically rich stage room.
Each opener that overtook the stage got the crowd warmed up from the bitter cold outside. As Mia Joy slipped the sleeping villagers into a trance, the harsh weather was soon forgotten while her voice offered a comforting blanket of musical warmth. Piping up a line about sharing birthdays with band members, she kept the crowd engaged until it was time for The Hecks to perform. In an unforeseen 180, the Chicago trio shifted the tone of the room into a punk groove. The stage lights dipped between the sound waves that scratched through the air. Later, the Latin-rooted Divino Niño grouped on stage to give listeners a taste of something hauntingly familiar yet completely fresh. The raspy vocals went hand in hand with the doo-wop musical feel as the bilingual band offered a romantic segway into our headliners.
Waiting for Deeper to take the stage you could hear the chatter of friends catching up and trying to distract themselves from the persistent anticipation of seeing the band that was weaving its way through the audience like smoke. Back in November when we interviewed Deeper, they had mentioned that this show would feature a lot of new songs. They kept their promise and the new tracks did not disappoint. They followed the band’s reputation of cryptic lyrics matched with raw and piercing instrumentals with the steadiness and reliability of Shiraz’s drumming. The lyrics faded out and a jam session began which synced the band to go off in a world of their own. A special moment was shared amongst the band members and if you blinked you may have missed it. Each band member made eye contact with one another and gave a meek smile. To us, it signified that they shared in the enjoyment and approval the crowd had over their new songs and the admiration of their classics. The stage lights illuminated the silhouette of each member in a personal, temporary holiness.
The band was having just as much fun as the crowd. It was a comfortable environment and even though the show was sold out, it felt cozy and intimate rather than stuffy and overwhelming. Deeper seemed to be one with the fans and encouraged the audience to interact with them. At one point Nic yelled out, “Alright guys, throw a beer at Drew over here. Keep it coming.” Although from what we could see no one actually threw a beer at Drew, the sentiment made the crowd hoot and holler and let loose even more.
After the show, we had the opportunity to talk with Deeper. They kept reiterating the fact that they were so grateful for Chicago showing up and showing out. The band is also grateful for The Districts having them join their tour and can’t wait to see what the next month has in store. Although the band has never fought on the road, Nic once torched Michael’s eyebrow so hopefully, he will return with both eyebrows after this tour.
Written by: Colleen Kennedy & Andrea Carrillo
Photos by: Kevin Allen