Written by Camp Counselor Niki
A low, ominous cloud crawled through the city, passing through the tallest buildings. The sky glowed a yellow-orange above the breezy lakefront; a spooky reminder that fall is upon us. Cars filtered into the Lakeshore Drive-In stacked with passengers 4 or 5 deep. Parked in off-set rows, hatchback cars and trucks of every size formed parking-space-wide campsites complete with camping chairs and portable couches. Friends and family of SunSquabi sat on the tops of their vehicles shouting to each other in celebration of the band’s return to Chicago; their first show in the Midwest since Summer Camp 2019.
Kevin from SunSquabi welcomed the audience as the band took stage and shredded on guitar and keys all night. Josh on bass brought big energy with his big hair and Chris on the drums kept the beats loud and proud. Surrounded by two huge screens broadcasting the show across the parking lot, there was not a “bad view” from any spot in the house. The two-set special kicked off with an emotional “Caterpillar” and funky “Pygmy Up”. SunSquabi played “Top Down”, the band’s newest release and collaboration with The String Cheese Incident towards the end of set one. Then, “Cinnamon”, a fan-favorite, literally brought fans to their feet during set 2. The LED flow toys swirled along with the staged light show, completing the music festival aesthetic. The visual sets included trippy, patterned artwork, visual pieces from Vincent Gordon, and an 80s lo-fi video game simulation.
As the set ended, the band thanked friends and family for coming and sent us off with well wishes. Good vibes were seriously in the air as cars pulled away on Lakeshore Drive. Fans were shouting back and forth through open windows, sharing smiles, laughs, and their last goodbyes between stop lights and exits. As I turned off the main road to return to my South Loop apartment, the car next to us honked and waved, “Bye Neighbs!”, oddly reminiscent of Summer Camp. It hit me right in the festie-feels.
The band posted the entire set list on Instagram Post about 12 hours later, featuring this incredible skyline image from @Samsilkworth. I woke up afterwards feeling healed, positive, and hopeful. While 2020 is certainly an extreme year with the pandemic, increased violence, and a country in political despair, these three young, brilliant and personable artists, continue to perform for us, the people. A quote from Toni Morrison comes to mind:
“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”.
Toni Morrison describes the “brokenness” of a world and how artists’ work is so valuable and needed. That’s just what these SquabCats did Saturday night in Chitown. Find out where else you can catch Sunsquabi performing this fall here.
Lake Shore Drive-In has certainly set a high-standard for the “new normal” with their wonderfully-adaptive solutions to accommodate live music during a global pandemic. Masked-up staff deliver concessions and merch straight to your car, all of which you order via a QR-Code. Wine, beer, taco plates, and band t-shirts are just a few clicks and card-swipe away. Find out what other shows are coming to Chicago’s Lakefront Drive-In experience here.