Ghouls and ghosts came out in force for the Main Squeeze and Zoofunkyou’s Halloween celebration at The Bottom Lounge in Chicago on Friday, October 27th. Batman, The Dude, and the many other usual suspects gathered outside the venue before showtime was evidence that this was a full blown Halloween celebration. A green light hovering in the sky over the club turned out to be the Main Squeeze’s drummer, Reuben Gingrich, snapping some drone photos for his latest creative endeavor.
Born and bred in the midwest, the Main Squeeze called Chicago home for years before relocating to Los Angeles. “The Squeeze” receives a true homecoming reception every time they come back through the Windy City, and this show was no exception. Even though it’s been a number of years since they moved to L.A., fans in the Chicago scene still very much claim the Main Squeeze as their own. Chicago based six-piece rock outfit, Zoofunkyou, rounded out the bill for this hometown throw down.
The Bottom Lounge was filled when showtime rolled around, and Zoofunkyou got things going with a huge four-song set opener, including an extended cover of Pink Floyd’s “No Cigar”. Blending their psychedelic-soul foundation with boogaloo grooves, dueling guitar parts, bluesy crooning, and catchy melodies, Zoofunkyou had the room bouncing from the moment they hit the stage until they played their final note. Look for this young ensemble to make some waves in the future—they’ve got it all.
The Main Squeeze delivered two hours of powerful music to a packed crowd on the second-to-last night of their tour. Their unique and impressive mix of soul, funk, rock, and hip-hop sets them apart from the pack, but their top-notch musicianship is what makes their performances such high energy spectacles. The band took the stage without lead singer Corey Frye and vamped on the intro riff of their rock number, “Get At Me”. Guitarist Max Newman looked entranced, bouncing around on stage with his signature SG slung over his shoulder offering an absolutely ripping sound reminiscent of Joe Bonamassa, if he was funky.
Corey finally took the stage to complete the five-piece unit and addressed the crowd, “It’s good to be back in Chicago!”. Corey’s unique vocal delivery combines R&B sensibilities, powerful rock & gospel chops, and has become The Main Squeeze’s true sonic calling card. The band’s versatility was on display during “Two Steps” when Corey took over keyboard duty while Ben “Smiley” Silverstein rocked center stage wielding his keytar against Newman for the first of two duels between the co-founding band members.
The band worked through their own take on“Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, presenting a version of the hit song that no other band could quite match. They maintained the theme and feeling of the Tears For Fears cover, but took artistic liberties that made the song a very special crowd pleaser during their set of mostly originals. Squeeze’s drummer, Reuben Gingrich, was the star of the group’s celebratory rendition of “Mama”. During his three-minute drum solo, he showed why his chops, creativity, and athleticism on the kit set him apart as one of the best drummers out there.
As perhaps the longest and most extended song on the set list, “I’ll Take Another” featured J Dilla teases, a run through of the Star Wars theme, and the final guitar versus keytar shred-off. Bassist, Rob Walker, took over the keys and laid down a melody while Corey delivered some warm words to the crowd as the band started their set closer, “Women Whiskey and Cocaine”.
The encore tune was a version of Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” that was equal parts unexpected and impressive. The laid back tune isn’t what you would think of as a perfect way to close this high octane funk-rock set, but the band knew exactly what the crowd needed. Take a look at the video below courtesy of IZEoftheWorld’s Youtube channel, plus this gallery of photos from Nick Langlois below.
The Main Squeeze just wrapped up their fall tour, but you can catch them at The Vogue Theater in Indianapolis on 11/22, two nights at The Mint in LA on 12/30-31, and then cruising the high-seas for Jam Cruise 16 with Galactic, Lettuce Turkuaz and many more.
Setlist: Zoofunkyou | The Bottom Lounge | Chicago, IL | 10/27/2017
Set: Maj> Metric> Shapes*> Doctor, No Cigar^> Steaze, Funkasass> Molumby’s> Jafunkablue
Notes: * In The Hall Of The Mountain King tease, ^ Pink Floyd Cover
Setlist: The Main Squeeze | The Bottom Lounge | Chicago, IL | 10/27/2017
Get At Me, Loud> Sweat, Two Steps%, Everybody Wants to Rule the World*, Angelus> Mama> Dr. Funk> Where Do We Go, Ebeneezer, Only Time, I’ll Take Another^%, WWC.
Encore: Redbone #
Notes: %Keytar, * Tears For Fears, ^ Dilla/Star Wars Theme Tease, # Childish Gambino