Video premiere: ‘Girl In Black’ by Take the Reins

Take the Reins puts a face on the west suburban punk rock culture with the band’s new video, “Girl In Black,” off the band’s 2017’s “Addiction By Subtraction” album.

Following up last year’s “South Side Rules,” which featured iconic shots that suggested Chicago’s cityscape and incorporated a large cast of musicians, “Girl In Black” dives deep into seclusion and isolation. The band — Courtney Boyers, Matt Benson, Erik Hilger, David Burke and Daniel Duffy — performs on a stark stage, the audience practically nonexistent.

“Matt (Benson) and I came up with the concept,” Courtney Boyers, Take the Reins’ lead vocalist, said. “We wanted a performance video to showcase the band, but we needed to incorporate some kind of story into it. The song is written about not being able to move on, constantly looking back, with the girl in black symbolizing mourning for the past. Unable to see the picture of what’s waiting for you because you’re always looking back.”

The normally cheerful Boyers dons a brooding scowl for much of the production.

“We shot some small scenes that let you know that I’m kind of disconnected from the band,  deep in thought.”

“That was the intention of the video, of the song, too,” added Matt Benson, drummer for Take the Reins. “If she moves on there’s more for you. In her head, she was having these feelings that she couldn’t move on because there wasn’t anything there.”

Boyers and Benson gave a good part of the credit for bringing those ideas to life to Alex Zarek, the man behind the camera. “Alex is awesome,” Boyers said. “One day, one camera, all those angles, all those shots, done in a day. He really impressed me.”

“I don’t know if we just had a similar vision for the layouts and the shots, but it was seamless,” Benson said. “We just played back and forth off each other to make it what it was.”

Brian “Flash” Gordon, the sound guy at BrauerHouse, also got a nod for running sound and lights during the shoot. “Flash is one of the best sound guys on the scene. He always does us right,” Boyer said.  

The video, shot at BrauerHouse in Lombard, is something of a nod to the old BrauerHouse scene.

“Steve (Brauer) graciously let us use the big room,” Benson said.

“I met Steve in ’02 at the old BrauerHouse,” Boyers said. “We used to hang out there and see bands. … It’s fun seeing the evolution of BrauerHouse.”

“We knew the BrauerHouse before it burnt down,” Benson said. “It’s our home base. We always have great shows there, we did our record release there. We always have a good crowd. It’s our DuPage County home for good shows.”

Brendan Kelly (of The Lawrence Arms), Courtney and Dave (Take the Reins acoustic set)

8:30 p.m. Saturday, May 18, at Siren Records, 3902 Main St., McHenry. $15-$20. (815) 347-8363 or

Rock Out For Amigo Skate with Take the Reins, Sleeping Under 47, Death & Memphis and Blunt

7 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at Fargo Skateboarding, 629 E. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb. $5. (815) 756-5555 or

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