The Shades at the City Winery in Chicago, IL

The Shades made a welcome return to the stage for their first ticketed show since their EP release towards the end of 2019.

If any band embodies the sound of summer in Chicago, it’s The Shades. It’s always a true sign that summer has begun when you catch them performing at the city’s Navy Pier, with the water behind you, a beer in your hand, and the music playing (even if they do sometimes invoke the weather gods, and bring the rain by performing Chance The Rapper’s “Sunday Candy”). 

To say this crowd was eager and ready for this show is an understatement! Instead of casually strolling through the door 10 minutes before the start of the show, which is often the case, these fans, friends, and family of the band were practically breaking the door down to get in nice and early. It was great to see everyone excited to be out and amongst friends with a common goal of enjoying a night packed with great wine and fantastic music. 

If you haven’t seen The Shades before, let us introduce you to them. In the past, fans have been used to seeing them perform as a three-piece – Andrew DeMuro, Phil Jacobson, and Mark Jacobson. Together, they bring you some of the tightest, beautiful harmonies you will ever hear. The range of Andrew’s voice is astounding. Guitarist Phil adds some intricate and complementary riffs which accentuate the songs without overpowering them. And then you have Mark, who is the band’s secret weapon/rapper extraordinaire! 

This year has seen them add three more members to the band – Andrew Vogt (bass), Andrew Lawrence (keys), and Dave Brandwein (drums). The addition of these musicians gives The Shades a fuller sound, without taking any attention away from their harmonies. Andrew and the Jacobson brothers could quite easily take to the stage without a single instrument and captivate the audience all night a cappella, but adding in the full band experience kicks the party up a notch.

The night was filled with a mixture of old and new original songs with some beautifully orchestrated covers thrown in for good measure. They included a performance of the recently released “Running” which had the whole audience singing along. One thing we must prepare you for before you start listening to The Shades is they have an uncanny habit of writing earworm songs that you will be singing days later. It’s certainly not a bad thing, but since it’s guaranteed to happen we thought we’d better warn you. 

There are times when you hear a band cover someone else’s songs and you end up preferring their version to the original. There were two prime examples of this during the show. Brandi Carlile’s “The Eye” and Chance The Rapper’s “Sunday Candy” are brought to life with their three-way harmonies. If you don’t believe us, check out when we had The Shades around to Loud Hailer HQ and they performed “The Eye” live for us

A great night was clearly had by all as many of the audience hung around at the end to show their appreciation to the band and thank them for the night which was enjoyed by all in attendance. 

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About Kirstine Walton 377 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!