Twin Peaks at The Riviera

By Avery Adams

29 Nov, 2019

Twin Peaks attracted fans of all ages to the Riviera on November 29th through their notoriously goofy and energetic stage presence and lengthy discography — releasing their sixth full-length album this past September. As eager as I was to see them, I soon found that I was not alone. I initially arrived at the Riviera a few minutes before the doors opened, but quickly walked past, searching for ways to occupy myself as the line wrapping around the block died down. (I ended up dining in at Carmela’s Taqueria as I watched the eager flannel-flaunting millennials squeezing into the venue). 

After everyone entered the hall, it was only a matter of waiting — and drinking for many who seemed rather young to indulge. OHMME, a noisy duo based out of Chicago, kicked off the performances of the night with the only song I recognized previously from them, “Icon.” Both Macie Stewart and Sima Cunningham delivered powerful vocals paired with noisy shredding, producing an eerie, indie-rock atmosphere. Although they presented the crowd’s introduction to the night, that was not the last we would see of them, as both members of OHMME had their own setups as backup vocalists for Twin Peaks later that evening. 

What followed was one of the most unexpected, exciting moments of the night: seven spiffy 60’s-dressing fellows waltzed on stage, my jaw dropping at the sheer number of mullets and velvet suits. The Nude Party brought the perfect, peaking amount of twang needed to animate the crowd for Twin Peaks. Their use of the venue’s colorful lights and large stage brought a retro, purely fun vitality to those who never even experienced the era they stepped out to recreate — myself included. Their set was definitely one to hold on to, setting the enthusiasm high and hard to follow. 

Meanwhile, between each act, fans were purchasing more and more drinks, resulting in the security guards becoming more and more on edge up until Twin Peaks took the stage. By the time the lights dimmed and the five-piece appeared, the majority of the audience was severely wasted. 

After running on stage, Twin Peaks vocalist and guitarist Clay Frankel greeted the packed venue of screaming fans with a warm, energetic hello, backed by an ongoing drumroll from Connor Brodner. As an avid concert-goer myself, this initial greeting seemed out of place compared to the majority of bands that jump right into their set upon entering the stage — but it was endearing and well-received nonetheless. After this dragged-on address to the crowd, Twin Peaks kicked off their 21-song setlist with “What Up Dawg,” interjected by the unexpected-but-welcomed, quite-intoxicated intrusion of a friend of the band, who ran on stage from the back, screamed the lyrics alongside Frankel, kissed him boldly and at length front-stage, and proceeded to kick a snare drum down as he marched off stage. That chaotic energy pretty much set the tone for the rest of the night.

Although Twin Peaks bled each song into the next, not allowing any time for banter or introductions, they were anything but aloof on that stage. Their ceaseless dancing and vibrant flailing across the stage captivated the audience of all ages — and by all ages, I mean all ages. I witnessed a little girl on her dad’s shoulders, swaying to the piano riffs of “Ferry Song” and “Getting Better” — I couldn’t imagine anyone who could refuse swaying to these sultry, twangy melodies — and was impressed how Twin Peaks, chaos and all, was able to create a welcoming, wholesome performance for both children and their parents. However, although the music and energy of the band seemed very suited for youngsters and older generations alike, I would not say the crowd made for a very warm and welcoming space; Drunk teens were being escorted out of the venue left and right, throwing full beer cups into the air, and crowd surfing directly into the burly arms of the fully-staffed security guards. As long as you avoided these obstacles, it was very easy to admire the interactive energy of the crowd — hundreds of fans themselves performing as if the entire show was a chanting session at times. During songs like “Good Lovin’,” I wasn’t sure if the band was shouting “Ho!” “Oh!” “Ow” or “Jump!” but the audience responded to it all nonetheless.

Showcasing such a lengthy setlist, I did find myself lose track of specific songs as I was pushed to the back of the venue, but soon was rejuvenated with the series of “Shake Your Lonely,” “Dance Through It,” and “Blue Coupe” consecutively performed. With only simple check-ins, asking how we/Chicago was feeling, Twin Peaks flew through their first 18 songs before briskly exiting the stage. It was only once they came back on for the encore when they finally introduced themselves: “We’re Twin Peaks. We’re from Chicago,” sending the crowd into a mix of chuckles and hollers. The distinct, twangy guitar riffs and familiar drawl of the lyrics sent the entire audience swaying from the minute they took the stage, leaving us all longing yet satisfied as the final whoops and beats of “Oh Mama” faded away. 

SET LIST:

  1. What Up Dawg
  2. Making Breakfast
  3. My Boys
  4. Ferry Song
  5. Tossing Tears
  6. Good Lovin’
  7. Getting Better
  8. Walk to the One You Love
  9. Under the Pines
  10. Boomers
  11. Shake Your Lonely
  12. Dance Through It
  13. Blue Coupe
  14. Irene
  15. Butterfly
  16. Under a Smile
  17. In the Meadow
  18. Strawberry Smoothie
  19. Wanted You*
  20. Unfamiliar Sun*
  21. Oh Mama*

*encore