Madison indie fans were in for a treat this past Thursday, Aug. 24 when Chicago garage rockers Twin Peaks headlined Madison’s Favorite Concert, a show put on by Isthmus Magazine to celebrate the winners of the magazine’s Mad Faves reader poll. The band landed the headlining slot after being voted the best live show of 2016 in Madison by Isthmus readers. Twin Peaks proved they are more than deserving of the honor with a performance that gave the delighted audience 90 minutes of their signature high energy, throwback rock ‘n’ roll sound.
The concert kicked off with performances by local bands and fan favorites Disq and VO5, with DJ Nick Nice spinning tables and keeping the crowd moving in between sets. Disq’s set was particularly impressive considering the band consists of some seriously talented high school students.
The crowd’s energy hit a high when the members of Twin Peaks ambled on stage. The band is comprised of five musicians — four of which share the role of lead singer — that met growing up in the suburbs of Chicago. Each holding multiple beers, they professed their love for their “sister city” and continued to do so throughout the night.
The band’s set consisted of a healthy mix of older and newer music. With a discography that consists of three LPs and a number of singles, there is a lot of great music for the guys to choose from, and Thursday’s setlist didn’t disappoint. Longtime favorites like “Flavor” and “Boomers” got the entire crowd singing and moshing in the front. The band also showed how their songwriting and musicianship has matured over the years with newer, more introspective tracks like “Tossing Tears,” released over the summer as a part of their “Sweet ’17 Singles” promotion.
As fun as they are to listen to, it is equally as rewarding to watch each band member give each of their songs their own personal style. When each musician took their turn as vocalist, the mood of the set shifted to match each songwriter’s distinct personality. Bassist Jack Dolan was the most low key, practically slurring his vocals to match the easygoing vibe of his songwriting. Guitarist Cadien James headbanged his way through crowd favorites “Walk To The One You Love” and “Telephone,” while guitarist Clay Frankel careened all over the stage, mirroring the limitless energy and pure joy of “Making Breakfast” and “I Found A New Way.” Newest member and keyboardist Colin Croom showed off his singing chops on his track “Keep It Together,” which was rounded out with harmonies from the other guys and quickly became my favorite moment of the night.
It’s been said many times, and now confirmed in print by Isthmus, but I’ll say it again: Twin Peaks offers one of the best live performances out there right now. Armed with a catalogue of great music and plenty of drunken banter and antics to fill up breaks between songs, the guys in Twin Peaks create something special every time they take the stage, something worth seeing over and over and over again.