Article by: Kelly Milionis, Senior Contributing Writer/Interviewer/Reviewer
Photos by: Cas Leonard
Joshua Radin rocked out with a few of his close personal friends in attendance Friday night at the Vic Theatre in Chicago but Alison Sudol, performing under the name A Fine Frenzy, stole hearts and the show. This was a night that saw Sudol in top form (begging the question, when is she ever NOT?) with an audience eager to respond to her every whim and wowed by her vocal prowess. Sudol found herself thanking the audience on many occasions throughout her set, at one point stating, "Wow, my friends, you have amazing lung power. Thank you for that!" after a lengthy and healthy amount of cheering and clapping. Singing with a fervor that kept fans wanting more, Sudol was able to weave in and out of the myriad of emotions found in her songs; sadness, happiness, melancholy, and heartache combined with her thought-provoking and meaningful lyrics, was brilliant and effortless.
Playing songs almost entirely off of her recent release entitled Pines, Sudol showcased her sometimes whimsical, sometimes falsetto, sometimes powerful, sometimes but a whisper vocal capabilities highlighting why she is an artist to be reckoned with and may be one of the great singer/songwriters of her generation. Sudol also looked as if she was having the time of her life feeling very comfortable on stage performing and always exuding that extra special something, that true star quality. Her backing band of highly proficient musicians complimented her well as she danced, moved about the stage conversing with her fans in the audience while singing and moving on and off her keyboard. Hard to imagine Sudol was an opening act (second opening act) on this bill and not the headliner - that was Josh Radin.
Radin, an Ohioan who has ties to Chicago, having lived in the city while attending Northwestern University, had a few close personal friends in the audience that watched him perform songs that have been heard on television, including Scrubs, American Idol, Grey's Anatomy and in movies and commercials. Radin came out on stage solo, turned on a lamp on a table nearby and proceeded to begin "No Envy, No Fear" while his bandmates entered one by one doing the same while taking their positions. The setting created a look and feel of a family living room; highly appropriate for Radin's more singer/songwriter guitar-based country-esque musical leanings. Radin performed songs from his latest release entitled Underwater including "Anywhere Your Love Goes," "Tomorrow Is Gonna Be Better," "One Of Those Days," and the album's title track "Underwater." During his set he welcomed back to the stage the evening’s first opening act, Madi Diaz, an impressive singer/songwriter from Nashville, TN, to assist him with duet duties on his song "Today."
Radin's performance was solid but lacked the genuine audience enthusiasm that was witnessed earlier in the evening with A Fine Frenzy. Again, hard to imagine Alison Sudol/A Fine Frenzy was an opening act on this bill and not the headliner. Still, a fun time was had by all!
A Fine Frenzy Setlist:
Winds of Wander (Culla's Song)
Dream in the Dark
They Can't If You Don't Let Them
Now is the Start
What I Wouldn't Do