Show Review: Citizen, Fiddlehead, and More at House of Blues in Chicago, IL

Kickstarting the night were the odd-ball band of the night, Sanguisugabogg, and by kickstarting the show, I mean a powerful rear kick to the gut followed by a swift left hook to the chin.

Harnessing the same energy as that iconic live video of Waking the Cadaver yelling at a crowd of indie kids at some emo fest in Germany, Sanguisugabogg pulled no punches and trimmed nothing from their set to try and appeal to the attending demographic; rather, they delivered a pure 100% authentic Bogg set filled with witty, goofy stage banter, powerful riffs, and adrenaline-infused breakdowns.

While it may have initially seemed odd for a band like Citizen to have a band like Bogg open for them, Citizen first got their start off of doing multi-genre shows. Plus, this made the overall night more memorable for everyone attending by exposing them to a sound and band they more than likely would never have been otherwise. While half the room was confused, the other half found themselves getting down to one of death metal’s newest rising acts.

Post hardcore supergroup Fiddlehead took the stage next, delivering their sound reminiscent of ‘80’s emo. Fiddlehead seemingly came out of nowhere back in 2014 when they released their EP Out of the Bloom, but the band didn’t really pop off until their 2018 debut LP Springtime and Blind. A style and sound that is often imitated, but rarely done correctly, Fiddlehead manage to fire on all cylinders, delivering authenticity and honesty both in their recordings and on stage.

Once you find out Fiddlehead re made up of members of Have Heart and Basement, it makes sense why their stage presence is so powerful and captivating as they deliver a masterclass on live performance, but what can’t be replicated or easily created is their sincerity and honesty within their music. Featuring incredibly tight musicianship and songwriting abilities, Fiddlehead are masters at work that have taken their personal life experiences, both positive and negative, and channeled them into their songs to generate not only skillfully crafted music, but music that can be relatable to anybody.

It literally feels like yesterday that Citizen unleashed their game-changing record, Youth, onto the world, not realizing at the time just how big of a record it would become nor where that record would take them. Who knew this emotional, desolate, gloomy, but also incredibly honest and from-the-heart of a record would resonate with so many people, even 10 years later… Well, Mat Kerekes did. Telling the story of how during the writing process for Youth, he was really going through a hard time in life, he told guitarist Nick Hamm that maybe it’ll be OK because they’re making something really special out of it.

This sentiment perfectly emasculates the massive impact Youth has had when, even a decade later, the record still stands strong, and this series of anniversary shows demonstrates that to a whole new level, as both old fans and new younger fans flocked to each date traveling all over the country to just attend one night. Citizen’s ability to craft a new and unique sound within the emo/melodic genre while incorporating elements of grunge and hardcore further solidifies Youth as standing the test of time.

While these shows, and the record in general, are filled with inescapable nostalgia, Citizen’s performance of these songs didn’t rely on the feeling of “Let’s transport back in time,” but instead let’s actively celebrate an important milestone in a genuine and grateful way. We all remember that span of two to three years when every single band were doing anniversary tours to the point where they started to feel like nostalgia cash grabs, so it was refreshing to see Citizen take a different approach and perspective to these specific anniversary shows.

The night was filled front to back with their greatest hits, plus some additional fan favorites and even a new unreleased track that brought the full energy out on display, as the crowd surged back and forth singing along to every word. If you were lucky enough to get a ticket to these sold-out shows, then you’re in for one of the best performances, but if you didn’t, let’s cross our fingers for maybe more shows being added down the road.

Citizen

Fiddlehead

Sanguisugabogg

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