The Messengers Review - A Rousing Performance at Old Crow Smokehouse Wrigleyville

On a recent Sunday afternoon when Lollapalooza was going strong and the Cubs were scheduled to play at home, a small group of Chicago Splash Magazine journalist headed to Old Crow Smokehouse Wrigleyville.  You may wonder why.  We went to see one of our journalists performing as part of “The Messengers”, a country band.


The Messengers, Photo- Courtesy of The Messengers

The group that came to explore the restaurant and the band were not disappointed. Old Crow Smokehouse did not disappoint as a venue and for serving delicious food. “Asian-influenced BBQ pairs with Southern cocktails & live country music in a large urban-chic space,” says the website.  Our group can speak for some really great beers and other drinks and delicious brisket sliders.


Splash journalists gather

We were very interested in hearing “The Messengers” and I think I speak for all of us when I say they were fabulous.  The music they play is a blend of many styles and seems to be very original in its approach.  The rhythmic quality was so pronounced that people could not refrain from dancing.  The atmosphere was casual and very friendly. 


There are two men and two women comprising the group and it was pointed out during the performance that all of them sing and all of them play instruments.  Looking at The Messengers website, I found their blog and learned that:


The messengers performing


“… for the newly initiated, here's the story... 

The Messengers happened by accident. Andrew and Mark used to play together in various bands over the past decade or so. There, they met Emily... (who knew the bass player.) Em convinced Andrew to hang out after a show and see the next band... and proceeded to out-sing their female vocalist on every song. 



Casual and friendly


Flash forward a few months to a benefit thrown at a now defunct Naperville bar. Em wanted Andrew to do an acoustic duo for the night... but the other guy couldn't make it. So... Andrew and Mark poured several vodka tonics into Emily, handed her a shaker and a new thing was born on the Chicago music circuit... Urban Acoustic!


Suzanne (Andrew's sister) entered several months later and the Messengers were off and running. And we haven't really stopped. Frankly, none of us really had any idea our weird little arrangements and acoustic versions of disco would take off like this. We just were having fun enjoying a band that wasn't like anything else we had heard or been involved with. “



Sports, food and great music


Several things stood out about this group.  They never stopped playing.  One catchy tune followed the next.  It was easy to see why this group is one of Chicagolands most unique and interesting new bands.  Neither I, nor those nearby, could keep still.  We were tapping with our hands, feet, swaying and finally dancing.  And then I found out why.  Their members have diverse musical backgrounds and they build on this and have developed a large audience that appreciate the acoustic arrangements of today's best pop, rock, modern country and neo-folk.  We certainly did.


Group dancing - couldn't help themselves

It is also interesting to note that every show is different, and every night offers another chance to get the message.


Can't help dancing


Photos: B. Keer unless otherwise noted.


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