Xoe Wise at Schubas

On Wednesday night, I headed out to Schubas for an interview and the record release show for Xoe Wise’s new album, Racecar Orgasm: Foreplay.

I was surprised that when we were introduced I was warmly greeted with a hug from Xoe. Originally from North Carolina, Xoe has been calling Chicago home for the past four years because the variety the city has to offer makes it easy to stay in one place without worrying that her music is going stagnant. We talked a little about what to expect from the new tracks, and she mentioned how it is important to change things up some for each album. This one is more electronic rock, which gives it a heavier and louder feel than her previous work. At the moment it’s only an EP, but the full length album is soon to follow. Knowing that musicians sometimes have odd pre-show traditions, I tried to pry something embarrassing out of Xoe, but sadly, it was pretty normal. She enjoys a Bloody Mary (sometimes virgin) or something salty. Other than that, she stated that the oddest thing about her pre-show is that she doesn’t do anything odd.

The sold out show started, and I was almost immediately impressed. Based on the previous album, Breakfast, I was expecting a chiller more shoegaze feel to the show. What I got was something much more engaging and powerful. It wasn’t until hearing her live that I realized Xoe’s voice was a combination of Emily Haines (Metric) and Lizzy Plapinger (MS MR). Early in the set she was able to get most of the crowd involved with the new song “Cookie Dough,” where she asked for the crowds help with call and response during the song. During the last song of the set Xoe got down in the crowd for a bit giving the rest of the band a chance to step to the center of the stage. For the encore they didn’t have to ask for any help from the crowd because just about everyone sang along with their cover of Filter’s “Take a Picture.”

Overall, it was a great show. The only complaint I had of the evening actually came from the crowd. I was surprised that there was a constant murmur in the room and that I had to move a couple times because I got stuck next to people who just wouldn’t stop talking. Of all the shows I’ve been to at Schuba’s, I’ve never seen a crowd be that disrespectful. Though if the band noticed, they didn’t let it slow them down.

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