To answer my own question and complete for you yet another curiosity-filled Live Fix Experiment, I will tell you that, yes, Gayngs was just as good live as they are on their debut album Relayted, one of my favorite albums of 2010.
But read on, because there was more to this show that just Gayngs rocking the joint and getting all funky and silly with the auto-tune.
Have I ever told you how much I love the Chicago music scene. And have I ever told you how much I love going to see a show at the Metro?
Before I tell you all about the Gayngs show, let me first put the show in context by explaining that when I bought the tickets I was sent a message via email from Metro telling me that because I purchased the tickets in advance, the Metro was saying “thank you” by allowing me to bring one person with me for free for each ticket (two) that I bought.
I’ve bought tickets in advance many times and having gotten a message like this before, so I was really stoked to pick a couple to join us for the show.
But Who Would I Bring?
I called up by little brother Ken, and he and his girlfriend came along with us.
Then on the ride down, I discovered that Ken hadn’t been to a show at the Metro before so I was even more excited and honored to be able to take Ken there and have him join us for the Gayngs show.
So what you’re about to read is a review of a special show as I stood next to my brother who taking in his very first show at one of Chicago’s most legendary independent rock venues.
Okay, Now On To The Gayngs Review…
Like I said before, the debut Gayngs album Relayted features over 20 artists including Justin Vernon & Mike Noyce (Bon Iver), Zak Coulter & Adam Hurlburt (Solid Gold), Michael Lewis (Happy Apple/Andrew Bird) Ivan Rosebud (The Rosebuds), Brad Cook & Joe Westerlund (Megafaun), Jake Luck (Leisure Birds), to name a few. And the man at the helm of it all is Minnesota musician/producer Ryan Olson.
Relayted has a steady and beautifully subtle slow-burning groove to it. And I’ve loved swimming through its dark, gorgeous and mysterious mix of indie-R&B, folk, pop, dub-style electro beats and funkified soul.
If I were to compare it to something else I heard before, I would say that the individual ingredients recall elements of multiple genres.
It’s somewhat of sonic love child birthed from the musical DNA of Barry White, Genesis, Prince, Kid Cudi, Massive Attack, and then injected with fresh takes on modern melodic, atmospheric and jammy indie-rock.
Front to back, Olson and company find the right balance between entertaining and enlightening you with romantic wisdom that’s humorous, wry, indigent and even sarcastic at times.
Like I mentioned, it all sounded sweet and solid on album, but the true test was to experience it live.
Would this indie-rock super group be able to pull it together triumphantly, or would the sum of the parts flop miserably making fans hang their heads on their way home?
As expected the stage at Metro was packed with players as Olson led the way backed by ten of the Relayted’s 24 contributing artists. They opened with soulfully electronic and slow-grooving lead single “The Gaudy Side of Town.”
Right from the start, it was nearly impossible not crack a smile at the sight of Justin Vernon in a big fuzzy fur animal skin hat and cool black shades crooning his way into our hearts with a deft mix of natural and deftly massaged auto-tuned croon.
And it was also equally impossible not to be swept up in the soft-rock and euphoric blending of sax, drums, bass, guitars, keys and beat machines. During “Cry,” “No Sweat” and right on through through to the final number “The Last Prom on Earth,” Gayngs took us to dark and wondrous places on the inside, while still making us smile blissfully on the outside.
And if you ever wondered if auto-tune is just for lame commercial rap or crappy pop songs, guess again.
T-Pain and Justin Bieber should be shaking in their boots because the bold boys of Gayngs not only know how to woo a live crowd, they also know how to correctly use both auto-tune and a vocoder as powerful Viagra-style song enhancers and as hilarious side-show comedy weapons.
Without a doubt, Gayngs passed the live test in Chicago. What’s next? Well, it’s time for you to see them live, of course. They wrap up their current tour at Austin City Limits Festival, but keep an eye out for more dates this winter.
Got a Gayngs Story?
Have you ever brought someone to their first show at one of your favorite venues? Then tell your story and share your favorite Gayngs concert experiences in the comments below. Then check out more exclusive Live Fix fan interviews here.