To put it simply, The Evening Attraction is utterly spectacular.
The band (composed of Miles Malin, Paul Ansani, Joey Abaroa, Nick Tumminello, and Vince Pimentel) has been producing sonically impressive discography since 2014 – and it all started with a high school band.
“Miles and I played together in a band in high school called The Break. When that project fizzled out we formed The Evening Attraction with our old drummer, Matt Gieser, and Joey,” said Ansani. “Matt, who owns and founded Treehouse Records, was just getting started with that endeavor around the same time. Nick had sparingly joined us in those early days on organ and had contributed on our first record as well. When Matt needed to commit more fully to Treehouse, Nick moved over to drums full-time. Vince AKA Stromboli joined us on Farfisa organ about a year ago.”
“Most important, it’s a group of guys who get along; who were raised on 60s albums and couldn’t wait to grow up and share it with one another,” adds Abaroa. “Stromboli and Nick Tombs are always a good source for an amazing conversation too. The whole thing doesn’t seem to be getting old.”
And it hasn’t been.
The Evening Attraction has been a beloved fixture within the local music scene ever since they came to fruition. Since then, the band cites age and a multitude of musical influences as catalysts for their artistic growth.
“With age and influence of different types of music, the sound has progressed and has become more diverse and in its arrangements and song writing. On this new album the vocal arrangements have become more frequent and more clever along with the song arrangements,” the band said. “More of the songs have 2-3 parts that take you on more of a journey and strays away from your typical verse-chorus-bridge-etc, type of arrangement that is typical in most pop music. Our interest in different types of obscure music has opened up doors in our own sound. A liking for South American, Latin and Brazilian music gave us ideas for different types of percussive elements to few of the new tracks on our coming album. We all like a range of music and it filters through us into the music.”
“I know that I, and this group have become very interested in impactful subtleties,” Abaroa said. “The record we just finished blends our love for tonal recordings, like reverbs that Phil Spector used, how Carl Wilson got the high-ends out of his guitar or what organs the Blues Magoos used. We love finding out who and what made it just as much as it is a marvel that songs like “Be my Baby” and “Blue Velvet” exist.
Standout track “The Kids Don’t Care (For Rock and Roll) is deeply reflective of the band’s strategic use of subtleties to create a song that undeniably stands out. It has a certain sonically addictive quality that practically makes the repeat button beg to be hit. Each and every musical entity within the track is rich and full in sound, and is as warm and exciting as a debauchery – filled summer night. The track has a certain air of ease to it, and yet is packed with its own raw power. It possesses the musical elements that have historically made rock tracks notable: lush vocals, an inventive guitar riff, fluid dynamic transitions, cohesiveness, and a dash of grit. The song contains a timeless quality that makes it a classic in the making.
“When You’re Young” yields an equal amount of power in its own right. It exudes an element of bittersweetness that is a pristine encapsulation of all youth entails. The smartly composed track takes on the form of the auditory embodiment of youth itself, emulating simultaneous senses of wonder, certainty, and disillusionment through sound alone. Not only is the track purely euphonious, but it contains the potency to serve as an auditory time capsule and put listeners back into a specific moment within their youth in which they were in the thick of the emotional journey described within the song’s masterfully written lyrics.
According to the band, Malin generates a majority of the musical blueprints when creating new material.
“Miles comes up with the ideas and vision for these songs while pulling riffs from Joe as well. He’ll record a demo, sometimes pulling a couple of us in on those early recordings, and then send it out to the group for us to learn. Then when we learn it as a band the songs go through some natural changes, but the main structure behind most of these songs is coming straight from him.”
“Songwriters like Lennon and McCartney, Noel Gallagher, Jeff Tweedy, to name a few, have taught me how to write songs in the fashion of straightforward chord based progressions,” Malin said. “Those type of guys who can sit down and sing you song on their guitar have been extremely impactful as far as learning the craft of songwriting.”
One of the most unique aspects of Chicago’s music scene is its sense of community, which local artists have historically spoken about in an overwhelmingly positive light. The Evening Attraction is no exception, citing that some of their favorite memories from live performances have been with other Chicago -based artists.
“I loved headlining Schubas back in April with our friend Joe Bordenaro. We did an hour long set of mostly songs off our new record mixed in with a couple off our first and our singles. The room was packed. And getting that amount of draw based on our own crowd was a trip,” Ansani said.
“We’ve played a lot a great show as a band,” Abaroa added. “Some of the DIY stuff has been a trip, we’ve played so many great shows with Yoko and the Oh No’s, Post Animal, and Red Francis.”
Another standout aspect of Chicago’s creative community, according to Ansani, is stage performance.
“It really seems like to be able to break through and capture a crowd in Chicago, you have to be willing to go a little mental. That works well for us because we all have a couple screws loose and we let it show.”
The Evening Attraction’s existing discography is well- stocked with sonic variety, something that perhaps stems from the band’s varying array of musical influences.
“Although I’m far from any Jazz musician, I’ve also been influenced and learned from 50s and 60s jazz and soul players how to give things a swing and soulful groove which has brought a whole different attitude and vibe to my style in songwriting and playing,” Malin said. “That kind of soulful vibe and swing is brought together with my songwriting capabilities and creates its own sound.”
Abaroa and Ansani resonated with a sunnier sound.
“The Beach Boys was one of the first things I think Paul and I really started talking about heavy, it’s funny how we still are throwing trivia at each others after these last few years as a band, Abaroa said. “I know that we’ve all gotten a lot of joy from sitting around a record and talking about how Brian “just gets it” He’s also just been an influence on me as a individual, all of them have their own flavor i can say i’ve probably pulled from at some point, Dennis Wilson really knows how to groove! Miles and I have always had a love for The Zombies. Probably, if not, the best band in the world.”
The Evening Attraction has been displaying incomparable levels of artistic craftsmanship since their first release, and have only continued to evolve as an entity over time – an impressive feat given that their inaugural batch of material was sophisticated in its own right.
“I think in the early days on the first record, we were pretty content to write average songs. You see that pretty clearly just based on the track time of all our songs on our first record: a lot of 3 and a half minute pop songs. Which was great at the time and I think we had a lot of fun in that era, but there was really nothing pushing the envelope,” the band said. “On this new record we really tried to do something different and new to the scene. We tried to call on a lot of influences and get creative with structure, harmony, and instrumentation. We put a lot of effort into vocal arrangements and pride ourselves on production. We were not as willing to settle on this latest effort.”
The Evening Attraction possesses the inherent tenacity required to make one’s creative efforts rise to prominence as an artist in the contemporary music industry, where new technological advancements have made it possible for many to release musical material. This is something Ansani sees as new challenge for artists creating music today.
“…One of the biggest issues I see, and this can be seen as a good thing, is the sheer volume of musicians out there. Because there is essentially no barrier to entry, every person walking down the street either is or is friends with a musician. All it takes is garageband and a soundcloud and you’re a band,” he said. “And while that’s great and definitely provides a lot of opportunity, it has made the industry at this level extremely over-crowded and taken away a lot of the emphasis on what it means to be a musician. You have to put in a lot to make it nowadays, which is a welcomed challenge.”
The band recently finished recording their next record, The End, which is due for release in a few months. In addition to touring with fellow Chicagoans Post Animal later this month, they are both performing tonight at Subterranean as part of an ACLU benefit show co-hosted by ANCHR Magazine and Kickstand Productions.
As for the rest of what they have in store: