It was an all-Chicago affair at South Broad’s Boot and Saddle May 20. Jimmy Whispers and Ne-Hi opened the show for Twin Peaks, who are touring fresh off the release of their new album “Down in Heaven.” In front of a lively sold-out crowd, Twin Peaks put on an insanely good set that was over far too soon.
Twin Peaks is a band that doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to rock n’ roll and I love them for it. Their first two releases, “Sunken” and “Wild Onion” are filled with energetic, raucous tracks that you can’t help but jump around and sing along with. “Down in Heaven” tones things down just bit but channels some old-school classic rock vibes somewhat reminiscent of the Rolling Stones in the late ’60s. After doing some thorough research on YouTube, I saw just how great Twin Peaks’ live performances are. Walking into the tight back room of Boot and Saddle, my expectations were high and the Twin Peaks dudes from Chicago did not disappoint.
The sold-out crowd went bananas as the lights dropped and Twin Peaks launched right into “Butterfly,” one of the best songs from their new album. They followed that up with “I Found a New Way,” which really got the crowd pumped. Only a few seconds into the song, the crowd had already begun jumping and moshing, having a good ol’ time. The best part was that the band looked like they were having just as good a time on stage, something you don’t see too often. Guitarists Clay Frankel and Cadien Lake James were electric on stage, jumping around and strumming like men possessed. The crowd fed off their energy, screaming out lyrics and bouncing off each other like pinballs.
The band splits vocal duties across Frankel, Lake James and bassist Jack Dolan. Interestingly, each has lead vocal duties on some of the band’s best songs: Frankel with “Making Breakfast,” Lake James with “Telephone” and Dolan on “Boomers.” New addition to the band, Colin Croom (on keyboards and guitar) contributed on the mic during a lot of the songs from the new album including songs such as, “Walk to the One You Love” and “Wanted You.”
Though their set did not breach the hour mark, the Twin Peaks left it all on stage. It’s tough because their songs are so short, often lasting a little over two-three minutes. Tracks like “Stand in the Sand” and “Fade Away” whipped the crowd into a momentary frenzy, before ending as abruptly as they started. Each song was fleeting but extraordinarily performed all the same. Twin Peaks never took their foot off the gas, sparingly stopping for tuning and some light crowd banter. They must have ripped through 15 or more songs in the course of 40 minutes. It was an exhilarating ride.
Twin Peaks has to be one of the best bands touring these days. They are playing some of the best rock n’ roll around and it was a treat to see them in such an intimate venue. Next time they come through Philly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in a much bigger room. Though their set was brief, Twin Peaks played every song you could want to hear from them. Keep an eye out for this band because their career is nowhere near its peak.