Optimistic and enthusiastic, Dayglow shone at House of Blues
On tour for his latest album, House of Harmony, Dayglow (real name Sloan Struble) is every bit as sunny as its name suggests. I know that was a bad pun, but honestly, when a guy struts around in a dapper suit and enthusiastically performs a cowbell solo, how can you not comment on how infectious and cheerful he is?
At one point during his gig at the House of Blues in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, my friend leaned over and said, “Oh my god, he’s like an independent Michael Bublé in the best possible way.” I would say that is a very apt description. Dayglow is able to channel Bublé’s relentless optimism into his performance style without it feeling forced or commercial. While I know it’s impossible for one person to be this happy all the time, Dayglow’s clumsy dad dancing and swaying on stage was genuine. As I scanned the crowd, it was hard to find anyone unaffected by Dayglow’s light energy. Forget the teenage fangirl stereotype; at that concert, there was a group of three six-foot-tall teenage fanboys wearing backwards baseball caps who had to take their first steps by jumping up and down to each song. I bet they also lost their voices the next day considering they shouted “I love you Sloan!” at every possible opportunity.
The setlist has been carefully constructed. The show started with “Something”, the opener to her second album. The upbeat drum intro was a catchy start to the performance, but it was clear that Dayglow was saving his biggest hits for later in the gig. The performance really started to pick up on the fifth and sixth songs, “Hot Rod” and “Balcony”, hit singles from fuzzy brain and house of harmony respectively. I may be biased because these are two of my favorite Dayglow songs, but they’re my favorite for a reason: the “Balcony” chorus melody is infectious and feels like it was created for live singing. The instantly recognizable intro to “Hot Rod” prompted excited squeals from across the hall as the opening melody filled the room.
Halfway through, Dayglow brought out his acoustic guitar for his more vulnerable songs. As the audience swayed to the atmospheric synths and guitars of “Fuzzybrain”, it became clear that Dayglow’s talent is palpable. As the lights behind him shone pink during his performance of “Woah Man,” Dayglow was able to make a large concert hall look like a bonfire. Putting most of his slower-tempo songs one after the other was a risky move, as it could easily make the second third of the gig feel sluggish. However, Dayglow’s energy and stage presence kept the audience engaged and made the final third of his concert where he included his greatest hits even more exciting.
In the final third of the concert, the audience danced and danced to “Can I Call You Tonight.” When Dayglow concluded with its first single House of Harmony, “Close to You”, the audience shouted for an encore. He quickly returned with “Run the World!!!”, and as the lights shone red and the guitarist adopted a more insistent and incisive tone, I wondered what Dayglow would sound like if he made songs one little more angry.
A common complaint against Dayglow’s music is that everything sounds the same, but can you really blame it for sticking to the same sound when it’s earned it such an enthusiastic following? What Dayglow does, it does well. His aesthetic and personality are so well-constructed that it’s understandable he doesn’t want to spoil his success. But looking forward to future music, I for one am more excited about the possibility of Dayglow expanding its emotional and sonic range than the idea of it repeating its previous hits. However, judging by the enthusiasm of the public, I am the only one who feels this. Seems Dayglow fans go to his shows because in an indie music scene full of angry and jaded songs, they’re looking for music that gives hope, and who am I to judge them for that? So if that’s the case for you too, and you’re looking for a bright and cheerful but still real artist, then I can’t offer you a better suggestion than to turn on one of Dayglow’s albums, or better still , to see it live. .