CMJ Music Marathon 2008 Day 3: Company of Thieves

Words and Pictures by Thomas Hauner

Chicago band Company of Thieves was impressive in an old-fashioned sort of way: They played clean, perfectly balanced songs with compelling writing and a great lead vocalist. Writing and recording well-crafted songs is one thing, but conveying that studio magic in a tangible and visceral way is another, and precisely the task at hand for the CMJ-bound. But Company of Thieves played with apt dynamics, shaping each song into moments of low contemplation and high exhilaration. Singer Genevieve Schatz was controlling and gentle in her vocals, exuding a comfortable maturity. Guitarist Marc Walloch, who twinkled delicate lines during verses but could also detonate an electrifying solo at any given point, deftly complimented this, sliding the songs back into equilibrium with each transitioning line. Keyboards also provided an even counterweight when things got more complex. Dancing around like an elated flower child during their last number, Schatz looked to be channeling her inner Janis Joplin, bandana on and tambourine in hand. She also showed strong conviction in her singing and coy stage presence, leading the crowd in some key “na na na’s” during a final chorus. That the crowd eagerly picked up the a cappella moment was justification of the band’s stellar set.

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