Rock’s not dead and the proof was in the sold-out show at Schubas Tavern (3159 N. Southport Ave.) Feb. 28 where The Glorious Sons and Liily delivered an evening of unfiltered, unpolished rock ‘n’ roll.
JJ Wilde was first to the stage as she began what would be a loud, guitar-filled night. The Ontario native welcomed fans to the tavern’s backroom with her commanding sound.
California-based rockers Liily followed with a head-banging performance. The 19-year-olds took over the stage like seasoned musicians as their fast garage rock resounded in the room.
Bassist Charlie Anastasis made dramatic hair flipping a centerpiece of the set with his long, curly locks. It can’t be proven that these hair flips improved the sound, but lead singer Dylan Nash got in on the action and his rough vocals matched the spirit of the show perfectly.
The set was filled with wild, frantic energy from the four piece, but the energy of the crowd didn’t seem to match considering much of the audience was older than the band members.
The crowd loosened once The Glorious Sons took the stage. Fans filled the packed room and quickly connected with the band, screaming back the lyrics to the band’s song “Mama.” The Glorious Sons might be Canadian, but there’s something distinctly American about the song’s harmonica solo and cowbell.
Lead singer Brett Emmons stumbled around the stage — his raspy vocals matching the band’s classic rock sound. He would reach into the crowd but instead of finding hands to hold onto he would grab the tops of heads, seemingly to interact with the crowd and for balance. The fans laughed at the odd display of affection.
Emmons’s long hair spent most of the time in his face Cousin Itt-style as he sported an orange tracksuit. Guitarist Chris Koster opted for a fur coat for his on-stage attire. The odd outfit choices added to their rebellious attitude.
Lead guitarist Jay Emmons showed the controlled side of the genre as he nailed solo after solo, most notably from the hit “S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun)” which spent four weeks at the top of Billboard’s Mainstream Rock charts.
The band’s last song before the encore was “Everything Is Alright” which included a heartfelt rendition of the chorus from the crowd. The mass of people singing the lyrics “Tell me that you’re alright / That everything is alright” brought comfort and camaraderie among fans, speaking to The Glorious Sons’ ability to tap into a shared experience.
The Glorious Sons returned to the stage not with a burst of energy that might be expected, but rather with its piano ballad “Amigo.” Emmons sang the emotional track barefoot and crouching at the base of the microphone stand as Koster played the keys.
The full band came back in to close with its rendition of The Rolling Stones classic “Gimme Shelter,” offering a fitting end to a night centered around the genre of rock.
The Glorious Sons and Liily are available to buy and stream on iTunes and Spotify.