Creators of TikTok’s ‘I Love You So’ reunite in Chicago


Carolina Garibay

The Walters perform at the House of Blues in Chicago Thursday. The band recently reunited after their song “I Love You So” garnered attention on TikTok.

By Carolina Garibay, buzz Editor

It didn’t take long for the House of Blues to completely fill up with young people Thursday night. Young, hip folks dressed in jeans and oversized shirts respectfully but eagerly gathered to see The Walters.

The Chicago native, indie band is made up of Luke Olson (lead vocals, guitar), Walter Kosner (lead guitar), MJ Tirabassi (rhythm guitar, vocals), Danny Wells (bass) and Charlie Ekhaus (drums).

The Walters perform at the House of Blues in Chicago Thursday. (Photo Courtesy of Tayler Sain)

Though from Chicago originally, the band hasn’t actually performed in the city since 2017 at Lollapalooza.

They broke up later that year, but then TikTok happened.

Late last summer, the band’s laid-back 2014 single “I Love You So” caught the ears of TikTok users, which pushed the band to reunite. Currently, the song has over 170 million streams and 460 million TikTok creates. It’s also in Spotify’s Global Top 50 chart.

The show in Chicago Thursday is one of their first live shows since 2017, and it’s clear that fans were eager to hear the band reunite live.

About two hours before The Walters were set to perform, the main floor was already half full, and by the time the band’s opener, Silas Short, took the stage, almost the entire venue was filled, with people squeezing in to find spots wherever there was space.

Short, a relatively smaller artist, brought talent and charm to the stage, immediately captivating the audience with bright, smooth vocals and live brass instrumentalists.

The audience, though there for The Walters, seemed to be pleasantly surprised by Short, and based on his reaction, he was also unprepared for the amount of support Chicago gave that night.

“That’s a lot of people, man,” Short said during the performance. “My mind is blown.”

After three songs, Short left the stage and The Walters’ fans anxiously played the waiting game, quietly speculating when the band would come out.

Once the band made their way on stage about an hour later, the energy immediately picked up, with lead singer Luke Olson jumping and screaming, clearly overjoyed to be back on stage.

After a round of high fives with each other, the band started strong with the first song of the night, “I Haven’t Been True” from their album “Young Men.”

Like many of their songs, it’s mellow and laid-back, but it’s also a great, upbeat opener that set the tone for the rest of the show.

The song also quickly proved that Olson is not only an incredible vocalist but an entertaining and strong performer as well.

Toward the end of the first song, Olson screamed, “Do you know how f—— good it feels to be on this stage?” which was met with several affirmative screams from the audience.

After pointing out their families in the boxes of the House of Blues and sharing a few anecdotes about growing up in Chicago, the band followed with feel-good tune “Old Friend” from their “Songs for Dads” extended play.

This song inspired a conga line to ensue in the audience, which briefly separated me from my friend, but that was only the beginning of the audience’s hype, which would only increase throughout the night.

Next was “Goodbye Baby,” a bright song with melancholy lyrics like “Goodbye baby / You’re no good for me / Goodbye baby / You’re not coming back to me.”

Despite the slightly depressing lyrics, the crowd was still singing loudly and swaying back and forth, proving that this song is a fan favorite.

But when The Walters made it to their sixth song, the energetic “City Blues,” the band picked up the pace a bit, dancing around and playing their instruments more aggressively.

The audience fed off of this energy and, too, danced up and down to the point where you could feel the floor of the venue shake.

After cooling off from what was probably the most intense performance of the night, Kosner said a few words about the last time they played the House of Blues, which was in 2015, where they opened for Hippocampus.

“It’s really great to be back here after six years,” he said.

This, of course, garnered several screams from the audience.

The band continued with “What’s Left” where Tirabassi’s amazing vocals got a chance to shine. They followed with folky “Cottage Roads,” where you could visibly tell that each band member was clearly feeling the lyrics.

“I Love You So” was next, which Olson introduced by saying, “It’s the song that got us back together!”

And there’s a reason why this song is their most popular. Not only are the lyrics endearing and “aww” inducing, but the lackadaisical melody mixed with Olson’s distinct vocals makes it hard to imagine this song not going viral.

The live version sounded exactly like, if not better than, the original, and clearly the crowd also loved it, since it was audibly the loudest they sang along to.

Before the band started the last song in their set, Tirabassi made sure to thank the audience and share how happy he is to be back onstage with his bandmates.

“To be on stage right now with my brothers, there’s no greater feeling in the world,” he said.

The band ended their set with “Fancy Shoes,” another one of their more popular songs that makes you feel like you’re taking a walk outside a small town after it just rained, which is an incredibly good feeling to get from a song.

The band then left the stage and came back for an encore where they sang “I Wanna Be Good” and “Hunk Beach,” which were back-to-back singles released in 2015.

Consistent with the previous songs, the energy for the last two was incredibly strong all around, from all of the band members to the audience. It was clear that the audience was just as excited to see The Walters reunite in their hometown of Chicago as the band was to be there.

The Walters perform at the House of Blues in Chicago Thursday. (Carolina Garibay)

Seeing The Walters in concert is a treat and an experience. Besides the band’s live talent and stage presence, a few other surprises I left the House of Blues with were witnessing two conga lines and a crowd surfer in the audience, which though caused my life to flash before my eyes, just further proved the power of live music and specifically The Walters’ effect.

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