The lights dimmed and smoke filled the stage as Phil McGill began sweetly strumming his guitar. He glowed red, then blue, and illuminated a tender green as he quietly sang with his reserved Southern drawl. The rest of New Madrid soon joined in on the country soaked “Declaration.” When Graham Powers broke in with his killer guitar riffs, people instantly filled the intimate Chicago venue with whistles and applause, signaling the unanimous understanding that this Thursday night was going to rock.
It’s hard to truly define New Madrid’s sound. At times they sound like a more laid back version of Moon Taxi. At others, they seem to channel early Fleetwood Mac. Think “Albatross.” They’re like jam band meets classic rock meets country meets psychedelia and indie rock. (Pretty positive that as teenagers, these guys listened to Meddle on the regular, if you know what I mean.) What I can tell you is this: their music fills you with the strong desire to kick back a few beers over a warm, crackling campfire with your closest friends. Now, while there may not have been an actual fire that night at The Beat Kitchen, these Georgia boys sure warmed the room with their jams and smiles.
Throughout the night, New Madrid played plenty of material from their recent release Sunswimmer. Songs like “And She Smiles” and “Homesick” feature beautiful harmonizing and rich melodies that take you on an incredible musical journey. Their experimental soundscapes paired wonderfully with what I would say was one of the best light shows I’ve ever seen at The Beat Kitchen. At one point, the band created the sound of thunder, lights flashed like lightning, and smoke filled the room, brewing up a musical storm that captivated the audience. The guys ended the night with the beat heavy, catchy tune “Forest Gum.”
New Madrid are forever touring, so you’ll be sure to find a show of theirs near you. Just head over to their Facebook page and click on the “shows” tab.
Local band Color Card started the night off, with their dreamy indie pop. The duo of Kyle Irwin and Eden Sierotnik brought their experimental synth pop to life with their backup band in tow. Yes, yes, electro-pop seems to be all the rage these days, but these guys bring more to the table, as they are more intent on making art inspired by their hero and minimalist pioneer Steve Reich. Fitting pick as an opener for New Madrid, if you ask me. You can check out their music samplings over at BandCamp.