Aly & AJ
Petrillo Music Shell – Chicago, IL
Taste of Chicago
Radio Disney hosted the final concert of this summer’s Taste of Chicago downtown in Grant Park. Headliners of the show were Disney stars Aly & AJ. The girls also happen to be sisters who play in a band together – Aww! I have heard their big hits and enjoyed seeing them rock out for the first time last Sunday. I have to admit, I could never tell the two of them apart, but by the end of their show, I will never forget which one is which. After the photographers were cleared out of the photo pit, Aly & AJ’s mom went to go sit in the very front row to cheer her daughters on. It was great watching their mother; it was so evident that she was the proudest mom at the concert that afternoon. She sang along to every song, having every last word memorized. She also recorded almost every song while dancing around like crazy and jumping up and down. It made me melt inside.
While some people I know immediately write Aly & AJ off because of their association with Disney, I have respected them from the time I found out they played their own instruments and co-wrote their own songs. I knew the girls could play guitar, but was pleasantly surprised to see that two identical keyboards were set up on stage for them by their mic stands. Yay for girls playing the piano! It has been an entire year since their latest album, Insomniatic, was released on July 10, 2007 (Hollywood Records). I can’t wait to hear the new material. Aly & AJ are so young; their songs can only get better as they grow up.
I now have some tips on how to tell the sisters apart: 1) Aly has the curly/wavy hair, tattoo on her inner right forearm, nose ring piercing and is on the left side when looking at the stage. 2) AJ has the long straight hair and is the one on the right when looking at the stage. One thing I still have trouble identifying is each of their voices. They sound so similar – it’s insane! I only knew who was singing or talking because I was watching them. I didn’t get a chance to grab a set list, but I know for sure they played my personal favorites:
Potential Breakup Song (Insomniatic 2007)
Chemicals React (Chemicals React – EP 2006)
Rush (Into the Rush 2005)
The number one way I discover new music and hear songs that will become some of my favs is by going to shows and seeing artists whose music I have never really listened to before. This was the case with Aly & AJ. I can now say that their song Closure is a new fav of mine. I also got into Bullseye – very catchy. This show at the Taste was the last stop on the girls’ month-long summer tour. They will not be playing another concert until 2009! I felt special to be at their last show of the year 2008. If you are a fan and missed seeing them this summer, I feel sorry for you! You are going to have to wait while the girls write and record their next album.
Besides both sisters being able to play the guitar, piano and bongos (yes, bongos!)….they can also sing. What I liked most about this duo of rocker chicks is that on each song they get to display their talents pretty equally. Aly (Alyson, 19) and AJ (Amanda Joy, 17) take turns singing verses, choruses, bridges, etc. in addition to playing their own instrumental parts. It was great to see the performance duties shared equally versus one sister being the “frontwoman” of the band. The sisters didn’t have to play instruments the whole time, though. They had a full backing band complete with a drummer, keyboardist, guitarist and bassist. All pretty good-looking guys, too. Aly & AJ sure know how to pick ‘em!