The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Slaughter Beach, Dog creates intimate performance at Independent Media Center

Kristina Muharremaj
Slaughter Beach Dog performs at the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center in Urbana.

Visiting Urbana this past Monday during their recent U.S. tour, crowds lined up along the door of the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center with excitement to hear Slaughter Beach, Dog live. 

Slaughter Beach, Dog, an indie-rock band that originated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has recently been on the road after the release of their most recent album “Crying, Laughing, Waving, Smiling” back in September 2023. This most recent tour was a solo tour with the band’s lead singer Jake Ewald, who is also behind the project of the band “Modern Baseball.”

Performing at the Independent Media Center meant the show would be much different than one at a larger concert venue. Those at the front of the stage were just a few feet away from the microphones, creating a very intimate environment. 

Blue lighting shone from the stage that was decorated with a patterned rug, stool and a nightstand that held a lamp and digital clock. The setup felt very homey, a sneak peek at the overall vibe of the show.

At around 7 p.m., opener Erin Rae came out onto the stage and greeted the crowd. Rae is a Nashville indie-folk singer and is no newcomer to Slaughter Beach, Dog, as she has many appearances in the background vocals of “Crying, Laughing, Waving, Smiling.” 

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Rae held a calm performance as she strummed her acoustic guitar and sang songs from her most recent album “Lighten Up.” At one point, she began to harmonize with her guitar using a mouth trumpet. This encapsulated Rae’s attention to detail within her music. 

In between songs, Rae often spoke to the audience, creating intimate conversations about her life as a musician and her time spent in Urbana. Rae revealed that many of her musician friends had wonderful words to say about Urbana, and she was especially excited to finally have her time in town. 

Audience members swayed along to Rae’s singing and laughed at the story she told about her single, “Modern Woman.” Rae said after a show one night, she had received a message from an audience member who could not find her song online. She giggled as she explained how the fan thought her song was titled “Modern Mormon” — which explained why the song was not able to be found. 

It was around 8 p.m. when Jake Ewald came on stage for his set. The crowd erupted with applause and cheers, encapsulating the high energy that the venue was carrying. Some technical difficulties with the microphones occurred, but this did not stop Ewald from carrying on with the crowd. 

“What’s a song we all know?” Ewald asked. 

Ewald strummed his acoustic guitar and sang the ABCs with the audience. It was a memorable moment that Ewald shared as he made the best of a minuscule interruption. 

Ewald opened his set with “Acolyte,” the band’s most popular song. He asked the crowd to continue signing along with him as he played. 

In addition to playing songs on the band’s discography, Ewald played his own rendition of “Everybody Loves A Winner” by William Bell. The audience kept a calm energy as Ewald took the stage alone and sang the lyrics to an old classic. 

Later inviting his bandmate Adam Meisterhans along with Rae onto the stage, the three musicians harmonized together for the rest of the set. Ewald and Rae’s voices mixed together in harmony for “Float Away,” as Meisterhans strummed behind their vocals and even used a finger slide to make the guitar carry deep and long strums. 

Audience members sang loudly along to the band’s set as they played a variety of tracks. The crowd jeered up when Ewald began to play the first chords to “Strange Weather,” a track on the band’s recent album. The audience members were incredibly respectful while keeping the spotlight on the band, singing along to their favorite lines. 

Ewald ended his time on stage by performing “Clay Pigeons,” a popular song by Blaze Foley. The crowd gasped in reaction to Ewald ending his performance with this surprise song. Ewald’s singing style matched Foley’s single, and some audience members could be heard singing along.

When the band parted from the stage, the audience began to chant for an encore. The show however had reached its end as minutes continued to pass without Ewald returning to the stage.


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