Yellow Days at Subterranean

By Finn Hewes

31 July, 2019

Exactly duplicating their Sub-T appearance in April of last year, Yellow Days would take the stage after some assistance from Chicago-based rapper, singer, and producer Elton Aura (just Elton on Spotify).
Elton was backed by a live band, spewing out funky R&B rhythms. He gave a great show with plenty of audience interaction. He lit a spliff along with many members of the crowd, and was able to get maybe 60% of the phones in the venue up in the air, flashlights blaring for his 2018 single, “Callin’”. He brought out a friend, fellow Chicago rapper, and ex-Blue Man, Luke Titus for a verse, and announced his upcoming 2019 project.
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Wading through an unusually fratty crowd at the beloved bar venue, I encountered a wavering, flanneled individual who seemed drawn to me for some unknown reason. He picked my face out of the crowd through the haze of ten or twelve cocktails and it was over. He was on me before I knew it. Nowhere to run or hide. So now he has an arm around me and I’m swaying under his weight and trying to get as little gin-tinged flannel sweat on my shirt as possible. He wanted me to pour my beer into his rapidly emptying cup. He wanted me to go to a Grateful Dead show with him tomorrow. He wanted tomorrow to be the best day of my life. I guess he meant well? We’ll go with that. With a duck, dodge, dip, dive, and dodge, I made my escape just in time to see our boys descend the red-lighted spiral stairs and take their spots on stage.

Beautiful George waltzed around in his classic Gallagher striped shirt and teardrop-shaped, baby blue guitar and fired up his amp. Yellow Days leapt into the all-too-familiar soundscape that made their name. Sparkly, undulating synths simmered beneath heavily wah-ed funk rhythms and splashy cymbal work. Stop. Start. Stop. John-Dwyer-Shreik. Fuzzed out solo. You know. Yellow Days.
YD did some dip diving and dodging of their own, effortlessly sliding in and out of new tempos and rhythms, starting and stopping, making a self-referential, disconcerted style of play feel warm and cozy. People don’t do that. Only Yellow Days does that.
After getting the crowd riled up with some old favorites (“Gap in the Clouds”, “What’s it all For”, “A Little While”), they dipped into a drawn out soul-jam section that came to a gradual end.
“Who likes weed?” George implored. “This song’s about smoking weed and feeling sad in your room!” A bit of a pander—but hey. A little better than, “Chicago!!!” and a lot better than “Chicago ladies lemme see them Chicago titties!”
YD closed the set with “It’s Real Love,” their mid-July single release. The crowd went nuts. Yellow Days has certainly carved out a spot for himself in the Chicago indie scene. The kids love him. What more can I say. Check out his “new” single if you haven’t already and keep your eyes peeled for his next Chicago show; you won’t want to miss it.