After spending the Summer traveling with the Vans Warped Tour, Nutshell favorite Stepdad went back to playing intimate shows, with the final stop being at Chicago’s Beat Kitchen. It was hard to budget spending a WHOLE 12 DOLLARS, but it got us up close and personal with the band, bantering with them as they set up on stage and exchanging high fives and hugs after the show. The venue was perfect to house the atmosphere of a Stepdad show, and there was an added bonus of the friendly weirdness of The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt! and the unbelievable quirkiness of Rich Aucoin to open up the show. Both acts provided a pleasant surprise, and being buried underneath tarps (twice) to dance and sing with the two rising artists well exceeded the expectations of the show on its own, and by the end of Aucoin’s set everyone had done their fair share of sweating and spastic jumping. But come 9:30, the heat and energy collaborated at the foot of the stage when the first hints of Stepdad’s “Treasure Hugs” blared through the speakers.
They powered through a ten song set that lasted about an hour, covering material from both the Ordinaire EP and Wildlife Pop. The stage presence was priceless, with frontman Ultramark shuffling around in gold tights and a purple and gold cape/hat combo that he told us was given to him just before the show. The set was loud and powerful, with all members of the band smashing buttons on a Novation Launchpad to recreate the band’s notable vocal loops, along with drummer Jeremy Malvin breaking pair after pair of drum sticks. The music was spot on with the band being chatty and engaging in the short gaps following songs. Between sips of the PBR’s on stage, the band openly spoke of things that usually concluded with Ultramark being called “sexy”. Both the crowd and the two supporting acts were thanked by Stepdad as the show and tour came to a close, and the set ended with Ryan McCarthy saying, “This is going to be our last song. If you can’t guess what it is, then you don’t know us very well.” The band then exploded into an entrancing rendition of “My Leather, My Fur, My Nails” while the crowd erupted into a frenzy of dancing and moshing as confetti rained upon them. They then wasted no time exiting the stage, only to go out and mingle with the many fans congregating at the merchandise table.
Stepdad was a band that instantly caught the attention of Nutshell back in June with the release of Wildlife Pop. They’ve been on our radar ever since, and to catch them at a live performance was an interesting experience to say the least. It’s impossible to say whether or not their Beat Kitchen set was their most impressive to date, but what is possible to say is that Stepdad ended their tour on a nearly perfect note. They get an A for this show, no questions asked. And the question has to be asked (very hopefully): does the touring hiatus mean a new album is to come?
Here’s the setlist from Stepdad’s Beat Kitchen set, 10/13/12:
- Treasure Hugs
- Magic Stones
- Must Land Running
- Wolf Slaying As A Hobby
- Pick and Choose
- Will I Ever Dance Again
- My Leather, My Fur, My Nails