Essex Chanel at Schubas

Essex Chanel
Schubas – Chicago, IL

Essex Chanel Schubas - Chicago, IL 7/30/2008Essex Chanel is a one man band that is multi-instrumentalist Travis Lee Wiggin’s solo music project started in Chicago back in 2005. The album “Dancing At Weddings” was released last January.

On Wednesday Essex Chanel (pronounced Essex Shan-el) performed at Schubas along with Summer Salts (who Travis Lee Wiggins is also a part of) and Zerostars.

I have to admit, when I heard ‘‘one man band” I pictured the whole accordion & harmonica, symbols tied to the knees bit. Yes, I know I shouldn’t have expected that but I was actually hoping for something like it. That wasn’t the case but I wasn’t disappointed.

Essex Chanel Schubas - Chicago, IL 7/30/2008

I don’t know if I want to categorize E.C.’s music. He is a one man band after all, he could totally rock out to a Polka tune if he wanted to. However, most of it is pretty much danceable rock music.

Although Essex Chanel is a “one man band”, Wiggins did have an entire band backing him. Each member was sort of in their own world enjoying their performances while still managing to stay together. I appreciated that.

Essex Chanel Schubas - Chicago, IL 7/30/2008The first half of the set exhibited the bands softer poppy side, kind of reminiscent of Death Cab for Cutie’s marching band style but a bit cooler.

The second half was clearly when things picked up and was definitely the better half. All of a sudden I found myself in the middle of a dance party. A few audience members even jumped on stage to join in. I was also entertained by the very enthusiastic couple in front of me who attempted to break dance.

At the show, I was able to pick up a great CD sampler and I’ve now got Essex Chanel on my ipod ( I cant seem to get “Get Up and Dance” out of my head! ) and I’m surely going to be picking up a copy of “Dancing at Weddings”.

Cool band. Cool Show. I’ll be sure to catch Mr. Wiggins again.

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