Caribou - Tour North America 2021/22 - with opener Jessy Lanza, Riviera Theatre Chicago - Friday 11/19/21
Writing and Photography by Bobby Talamine
Finally, finally, the wait is over to witness Dan Snaith and his band Caribou coming to Chicago, on his North American Tour for 2021.
Originally scheduled back in the spring of 2020- then the pandemic stopped the tour in its tracks, like so many others.
It's been a long wait I tell ya- the last time Dan Snaith and his band came through town was back in April of 2015 at the Metro Chicago- and that show in particular, in such a gorgeous venue and listening room, was oh- so- memorable, in so many ways.
When you become a seasoned and professional photographer after years and years of photographing virtually everyone, you pick up on a few things that stand out.
That- and being a music hound on top of it certainly helps.
The show at the Metro was cool, simply in the way Dan laid out his musical gear and equipment, with his band following suit.
The entire setup was center stage, laid out in a semi- circle, all band members within eye sight of each other, and also it was mainly lit from below the instruments on the floor in the center of the semi circle, creating this beautiful and amazing glow that would permeate and reflect throughout, changing vibrant colors depending on mood of whichever song.
I still remember this show like it was yesterday- myself, like so many other in the Metro, stood there transfixed throughout.
So now jump ahead some five and a half years later, and here we have Dan Snaith and band at the Riviera Theatre in Uptown. And again, throughout the show, depending on various vantage points for photography, the mood on the main floor, and in the balcony audience wise, is mellow, with people dancing in place, being cordial, mostly everyone I saw throughout the night wearing their masks.
It was simply a jovial and communal vibe, with everyone again transfixed with the visuals, let alone the gorgeous and hypnotic singing and songwriting from Dan Snaith and band.
Again, the band is center / front stage at the Riviera, albeit settled in on a larger floor than the Metro, and with a gigantic white backdrop for hypnotic usage, such is the case with the song "Sun", towards the end of the set, showing a small and tiny grayish circle slowly getting bigger and bigger and bigger, like a gargantuan sun, then going back down again.
Talk about setting the mood with a hypnotic and transfixing song, a song going way back with Caribou, back like in 2010.
Me- I stood there for a moment, putting down my camera, soaking it all in- eyes wide open, nodding to the upbeat and soothing and propulsive beats from "Sun".
It was like this throughout the show, with most of the setlist belonging to Caribou's latest release- "Suddenly", which actually came out back in late February of this year.
The tracks from "Suddenly" fit the mold of sophisticated songcraft from Dan Snaith, with more vocal and less instrumental, again, all soothing, all chill / rave danceable, and definitely catchy.
Opening the set with "Filtered Grand Piano", and into "New Jade", both from the album "Suddenly", and then forward into "Odessa", and the iconic "Our Love"- the assessment halfway into the show is so satisfying, so tranquil, so In- The- Moment memorable.
The lighting throughout was equal to the measure of whichever song in question- yes- we were occasionally blinded by bright white strobes, but still, even that added to the overall mood of un-categorization, which when you think of it, with repeated listens to all things Caribou, leads you to discover new nuggets throughout.
As far as Dan's band goes- Ryan Smith, Brad Weber and John Schmersal hold court with Dan with apparent ease, throwing the occasional smile between one another when they spot an instinctive groove that they totally dig.
Always love witnessing that firsthand, rest assured that nothing performance wise is simply dialed in.
Have to say again that the mood was contagious throughout, between audience and band members, knowing full well that Dan was so happy and grateful simply to be performing again.
There was a moment after the song "Sun", when the heavy and bright floor lit strobes were brandishing a fine white light throughout the stage to the audience, and Dan vacated to the propulsive beats from the band stage right, not disappearing, but letting his band have some fun instrumental wise, and I caught some pics of Dan playing with the light, refracting it, and looking at it through his hand, with a big smile on his face.
You can see he was enjoying the beats, swaying and slow dancing his way back to his perch with the other band members to get back into the song.
To me, that's what makes shows like this so memorable- enjoyment is had by all throughout, sending the fans home happy on a brisk and chilly Friday night, with huge smiles on their faces, equal to Dan Snaith and band.
Lets hope that Dan comes through town again sometime soon, and we all don't have to wait another five years for hypnotic dance revelry.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago