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Saturday, June 22, 2024
Twin Peaks

The Orwells, Twin Peaks, Young Holidays bring youthful flair to Memorial Union terrace

It’s officially summertime because nights at the UW Memorial Union are once again filled with live music from both local and nationally touring acts.

Thursday was my first time attending the Terrace After Dark concert series this year, and I couldn’t have picked a better show to begin my summer at the Union. Despite looking like it might rain, being a bit chilly and having to miss the Blackhawks game, I made the correct decision in heading out to see The Orwells and Twin Peaks—both hailing from the Chicagoland area—and Young Holidays from Milwaukee.

Young Holidays was the only band that I had seen live before—they played a house show in Madison maybe six months ago. Their synthy-ness is definitely something that I can get behind. Unfortunately, a small outdoor venue isn’t necessarily the best place to hear the music of Young Holidays—a lot of their parts got buried in the night’s ambience.

Regardless, I highly recommend checking out their single “Jackie Kennedy.” The way I’ve felt about Young Holidays since I first heard them is that they make pop-driven tunes, but in a way that doesn’t come off as contrived or obsessed with a single hook or feel. “Jackie Kennedy” cemented that idea in my head; you can ride along with or be enveloped by each contour of singer Max Holiday’s voice, which is paired perfectly with the continually evolving keyboard lines.

Next up were Twin Peaks—a band I listened to a little bit, but not really explored with much depth before Thursday. Any self-respecting David Lynch fan can’t hear about a band called Twin Peaks and not at least give them a listen. And that’s about all I did at first, listened and then moved on without thinking too much about it. But their live show is pretty killer.

They played several really short songs, some of which I doubt went longer than 90 seconds. A lot of bands are obsessed with making things into more than they should be, but Twin Peaks definitely don’t commit this error. Their playing is concise (I’m not sure if anyone has ever used that word to give a positive description of a band, but voila), there’s nothing frivolous about the sound. Overall, their stage presence is superb. Twin Peaks is certainly worth seeing.

The Orwells headlined the show. Previous to Thursday, my experience with them didn’t go much beyond “Halloween All Year” and “Mallrats (La La La),” two of their more popular, and admittedly, super catchy, songs. My exposure to The Orwells prior to their set at the terrace in no way clued me in to how undeniably exciting they would be in a live setting.

Lead singer Mario Cuomo is one of the most entertaining and animated performers I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching on-stage. His below-the-shoulder length, wavy blonde hair juxtaposed with the redness in his face—an effect of belting lyrics at full-blast and vigorously pacing around for an entire set—make him and The Orwells a must-see. Even with the subpar weather, which kept away the large audiences that usually congregate on the terrace, people were up and dancing when The Orwells took the stage. At one point several people in the crowd got up on stage with the band—something that seemed to have happened before because nobody skipped a beat. The Orwells are coming back to Madison in November, when they will open for FIDLAR at the High Noon Saloon. Take my advice, don’t miss these guys.

All of these bands write and play with a sense of youth that likely stems from, well, all of them being pretty young. Check out these up-and-coming artists, especially live, if you get the chance. They all have the potential to do great things.

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