February’s Artist Of The Month went to duo Lily & Madeleine – midwestern sisters whose folk pop harmonies have successfully created a dedicated fanbase over the past few years, thanks to a handful of national tours and a fourth studio album, Canterbury Girls, which was just released last month on February 22. You can read my interview with the sisters here.
I won’t go into too much detail in terms of L&M’s rise to fame, but a few things to know about the sisters is that they started to create music together in high school (Lily is 21 and Madeleine is 23). After meeting a local producer, they realized how well their sounds mesh together and decided to start recording music as a duo. After a video of Lily & Madeleine performing went viral and lauded on the front page of Reddit, musician Sufjan Stevens happened to see the video and was so impressed, his label, Asthmatic Kitty Records, released the sister’s debut EP, The Weight Of The Globe, in 2013.
Since then, Lily & Madeleine have released three full length studio albums since: Lily & Madeline in 2013, Fumes in 2014, Keep It Together in 2016 and Canterbury Girls earlier this year.
Lily & Madeleine’s Canterbury Girls tour kicked off on February 18 in Connecticut and ends in late March in Los Angeles. This past weekend, the sisters made their stop in Chicago stop at Schubas Tavern in Lakeview. The early show filled up impressively early – arriving just about 20 minutes before their set meant I was stuck towards the back of the 165 cap venue (I made my way through and got to around the halfway point of the crowd).
I figure this is for a few reasons: with support from Caroline Glaser (stage name Brother Bird), the lineup boasted up and coming talent from young women making emotionally jarring music. Glaser was discovered in 2011 after covering a Manchester Orchestra song on YouTube. Lead singer Andy Hull reached out and offered to work with her – fast
forward to 2018 and she’s touring with the band across 11 dates in the United States. Another reason is that Lily & Madeleine have been touring for a few years at this point and since they are from Indianapolis, Chicago is essentially a second hometown showoff them (something they had mentioned during the set).
It seems as though they have created a dedicated fanbase through their albums & performing history and it was nice to feel the atmosphere as though the sisters were coming home to perform to a familiar crowd. They made their way to the stage via the exit door – I always like to comment on the fact that Schubas is so tiny that there is no backstage area. you want to make an entrance onstage? Better be ready to swoop in via the exit door into unsuspecting (or to venue vets, very suspecting) fans and weave through the crowd to get onstage.
Joining Lily & Madeleine were Shannon Hayden (guitar, cello) and Pompy (drums). It was really fun and refreshing to see all four females sharing the spotlight onstage and creating music together. L&M’s set was short – just about 50 minutes – and straight to the point. Starting their set with “Self Care,” Lily & Madeleine were able to quickly make their mark onstage with the heavy pounce of the keyboard in the opening notes of the song and the steady beat that helped carry the song as they harmonized over the turmoils of a relationship that…probably needs to end.
One of my favorites, “Just Do It,” continue the set with ease. As one of the singles for the album, “Just Do It” is a strong representation of what the sisters are doing with the album. I wish they decided to sing “Supernatural Sadness” at this point as well – those are the first three songs on the album. It instead continued with the title track, “Canterbury Girls,” “Blue Blades,” “Analog Love” and “In The Middle.” These are all slower songs and it caused the set to lose momentum for a few minutes, but was revived again after Madeline introduced their next song, “Chicago,” one that was of course, fitting. They dedicated it to their friend, Peyton, who was in the crowd.
My favorite moment of the entire set was their performance of “Pachinko Song,” which after a few listens, quickly became my favorite song off of Canterbury Girls. I’m convinced I’ve listened to it at least once a day since the album came out. By the way, Pachinko is a Japanese arcade game, in case you are wondering.
The show was inherently intimate due to the size of the venue, but there was something specific about the environment of the show that made me feel as though I was watching my best friends perform onstage. Lily and Madeleine are the exemplary representation of the girl next door – in the best way possible. Their ability to perform onstage with innate #relatability makes you believe in what they are singing even more. It’s not easy to go onstage to a crowd of strangers and share the way you feel with them, especially doing it every other night. Lily & Madeleine seem to find comfort in sharing and creating with each other, which is something that we can all takeaway and try to emulate in our own lives.
Check out Lily & Madeleine’s tunes below:
Thanks for reading!