By Josh Krol
It was a hot and muggy night in late August the last time BoomBox played Chicago. They headlined the Logan Square Boulevard Festival and then continued to play an extended after party set at the Concord Music Hall. For those who attended both shows were lucky enough to experience around three hours of the groove-based sounds BoomBox has come to redefine.
Since then the duo released their newest album, “Filling in the Color.” Various articles and interviews with Zion and Russ claim they had put boundless heaps of heart, soul and passion into making this album’s sound come together. With this album in particular they felt as though they had found and mastered that groovy, beat oriented BoomBox sound. A sound they have been working on and perfecting for a decade now and one they showed off during their latest visit to the Windy City.
The air hovered around freezing as snow and ice covered the city streets as BoomBox made their first Chicago appearance of the New Year returning to the Concord Music Hall last Friday. While the weather was polar opposite from the last time they visited the Logan Square venue, the excitement and anticipation hasn’t changed.
As fans shook off the snow from their flat brim lids upon entering the venue, nothing but smiles could be seen as they lifted their heads to be greeted with deep, rich beats and groovy guitar licks that could only come from the likes of the BoomBox duo.
From start to finish the flow from one track to the next was pretty much flawless. The first half of their set saw them pushing out new material such as the hip shakingly good “Planetary Mirror” and “Lost Ya” to “Sahara” and “Waiting Around” which encompassed nearly half of the tracks on the new album.
During the midway point of the set, BoomBox really put on them dancing shoes as they played “Baby Caught My Blues.” When you get this track in a set, you better make sure you take it all in because it is one that not only makes a rare appearance, but the beat is one that forces feet shuffling. The combination of cymbals, deep bass and soft guitar notes creates a soaring sound that compliments the airy poetry that is sung throughout.
After “Baby Caught My Blues” the guys laid down a new house jam. If you have seen BoomBox live before you might be familiar with these “House Jams.” These jams contain a gut-punching thump that gets in your head forces you to get down. This newest jam contained a deepening bass tumble coupled with a Hip-Hop inspired beat got a solid reaction from the crowd as cheers could be heard from all around as everyone started grooving in unison.
After a rarity and a new jam, it seemed like the show had reached its climax. But with Zion and Russ really jamming, they pushed forward with power. If their goal was to make sure no one stopped dancing the entire show, it’s probably safe to say they succeeded. From new jams to old classics the second half of the set was fueled by familiarity. Flowing from “Watergun” to the fan favorite, “Who Killed Davey Moore,” BoomBox finished their set strong with the upbeat, cowbell infused “Showboat.” From song to song, this sold out show was funky, smooth, dirty and everything in between.
BoomBox walked off stage to a roaring crowd that was left panting for more. While they didn’t play an encore, everyone seemed pleased with the show as smiles stayed intact as everyone bundled up their jackets and headed out to the frigid, cold night. While we would have loved to RayJohn with BoomBox all night, you can see them this summer as their name continues to get dropped on festival lineups across the country.