To Chicago indie-alternative band Scotch the Filmmaker, the energy of a live show is where it’s at. With masterfully improvised solos and brilliant, dulcet vocal layering, they shine on stage.
The grasp on musical composition the (currently) six-piece act — Joe Monahan and Brad Mueller of Riverside, Joliet native Brian Kinney, Chicago’s Franny Sadler, and Katie and John Schieber — has is tight.
Which is exactly why the next album, due out in late July, is a live album. “We want to share that feeling of being at a show,” Monahan, who sings and plays guitar for Scotch, said.
The band’s premiere of the “Mania (Thursday Rain)” video, filmed during a January 2019 performance at Schubas Tavern, is the first of three dropping in advance of the album release.
The song for “Mania” was born as part of 2018’s concept album “Can’t Say It With Words,” which chronicled the eight archetypes of love from the ancient Greeks.
Monahan, also the band’s lead songwriter, said he was going through a terrible time when he was writing the album. “I had bedbugs and roaches, and three of my friends passed away in a two-week span.” Throw in tumultuous politics and near-constant traveling for work, and the result was a rough span for the musician.
“I was just hanging on,” he said. “‘Mania,’ ‘Philautia’ and a lot of the songs, they’re very desperate feeling because that’s where I was at the time.”
But as many musical artists tell you, sometimes that’s where the best songs evolve.
“I think ‘Mania’ is the song that cracked the code of my voice,” Monahan said. “I never really was a confident singer. ‘Mania’ was the first song that showed me ‘That’s how I’m supposed to sing, that’s how I’m supposed to deliver this.’”
“I don’t have a pretty voice. I’m not Franny or Katie,” he joked. “They have all the beauty in their voice, I have the desperation. I think that was always part of Scotch’s intent, to have the mixture of colors between male and female vocals.”
Scotch the Filmmaker will perform “Mania (Thursday Rain)” Friday at GMan Tavern as they bid farewell to Franny Sadler before she heads to L.A. for law school.
“It’s going to be a lot of our favorite songs,” Sadler said. With such a large band of members pulled in many different directions, sometimes scheduling shows can be difficult. “There are shows where one or two can’t be there, so we play to the strengths of the members who are there.”
“We’ll be doing that Friday. Cherry-picking our favorites from across the albums and EPs.”
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ACOA, Scotch the Filmmaker, Safari Room
When: 8:30 p.m. Friday, June 28 (doors at 8)
Where: GMan Tavern, 3740 N. Clark St., Chicago. (773) 549-2050 or gmantavern.com
Tickets: $10 in advance, $12 at the door