Author: Annie Borse
On Thursday, August 31, The Aces, an all-girl rock group the music scene has been desperately needing, stopped by Chicago for a short and intimate show at Schuba’s Tavern, leaving the crowd giddier than when they came in.
Fans of the Utah-based band packed themselves in the back room of the rustic bar in Chicago’s Lake View neighborhood hoping to get as close to the band as possible, which wasn’t a tall order. The venue probably only fit around 100 people, making anywhere you stood a great view. Looking around, the early to mid-twenties hipster was the dominating face in the crowd, but speckled in was the occasional teenager and hip dad, a collection of people that made the entire atmosphere feel laid back and welcoming.
I should really emphasize the size of this place: it was so small there was no backstage and equipment was coming through a side door two feet away from where everyone was standing. So, when The Aces were ready to go on, they had to work their way from the back of the bar through the audience to get to the stage. Thanks to my strategic, and just plain lucky, choice of where to stand, I was within feet of the band while they were getting ready to go on stage, and it wasn’t until then that I realized just how young they all are. Three of the four, Cristal, Katie and McKenna, are 21 years old and Alisa is only 20. I feel like their ages highlight how mature their sound and music style comes across. Just listening to them or even watching their live shows online gives no indication that they’re the same age as the typical college student struggling to keep it together, but they are and look at where they’re already at in life!
Currently, The Aces have only released a 4 track EP, I Don’t Like Being Honest, a collection that I highly recommend listening to because every single song is a complete jam; but they opened with a song I don’t know the name of, so for the purposes of this review I shall call it “On Your Time” (if anyone from The Aces is reading this, let me know what that song is called because it’s fantastic). They played their whole EP through and peppered in a few unreleased songs for good measure. Their self-proclaimed favorite song to play, Baby Who, was undoubtedly the climax of the show. The guitar riff and vocals on that song can be summed up with one word: groovy.
Their entire set was only seven songs and they probably played for around 45 minutes, but wow, those 45 minutes were filled with energy and some of the most genuine and carefree playing I have ever seen. The small venue combined with the way the lead singer, Cristal, interacted with the crowd, made it hard to not feel connected to the music and the personalities behind the instruments.
At the end of the day, The Aces is a group of best friends playing music together. The fact that I can see and feel their passion for performing as just an audience member is a true testament to who they are as artists and where they’re heading. When their full album finally drops, they’re going to get big, fast. I’m placing my bets on them for someone to look out for in the very near future, and you should too.