Joe Pug at Space in Evanston, IL

Joe Pug brought the poetic lyrics, the laughter, and the all-around good feels for a night at Space in Evanston.

It’s got to be a daunting task stepping out onto a stage, knowing you, single-handedly, need to entertain a whole crowd. But some people make it look effortless, as though it’s something they were born to do. From the moment Joe Pug stepped out onto the Space stage, he looked completely at home. Armed with an acoustic guitar, a harmonica, a piano, and a great sense of humor, the singer-songwriter brought some new material along with some fan requests. Joe was joined on stage for a selection of songs by Charlie Muench who provided additional vocals and double bass accompaniment. 

Joe always receives a warm welcome from a Chicago area crowd, and luckily he’s no stranger to performing here. However, this show honestly felt like you were watching a friend perform. His relaxed manner on stage helped draw the crowd in. When his harmonica decided to misbehave and try to jump ship on a number of occasions, it was all okay because we were in the hands of “a professional.” A member of the crowd even joked that the mishap may be due to his recently acquired facial hair which Pug took in good jest. 

Poetry and songwriting often go hand in hand, and never is this better demonstrated than with Pug. The last time we saw him perform, we made comparisons to his writing style to Bob Dylan and, whilst this is lofty praise indeed, it is well earned. The imagery used in his lyrics paired with the arrangements make for some of the most beautiful and emotive songs you will hear. Bringing back a sense of humor to proceedings, Pug was sure to include the song he penned for his wife to explain his chosen profession called ” I Don’t Work In A Bank.” 

Here at Loud Hailer, we have an appreciation for all genres of music. Each has its place given your mood, but we do have a particular soft spot for singer-songwriters. The emotions that are evoked during these shows are cathartic and can often be akin to a therapy session. Walking out of Space after the show, it certainly felt like Joe had just had his way with you on his couch (so to speak…..).  

It’s that time of year when people are posting their Spotify “Wrapped” figures all over social media, and already a number of musicians have posted their own comments about the lack of money they receive from the streaming platform. It’s worth mentioning that Pug is taking a different approach to bringing his newest music to his fans by offering early access to his new album via his own subscription service known as The Vault. His upcoming album, Sketch of a Promised Departure, is set for release in March 2024 but subscribers to The Vault can stream it now, along with getting access to all his other music, all episodes of his fantastic podcast “The Working Songwriter,” and the archive of the “Enthusiast Digest” newsletter. We are very interested to hear how this pans out for him and whether we see others taking a similar approach in the future.

JOE PUG
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SPACE
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About Kirstine Walton 383 Articles
Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!