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Briar Rabbit performs at the Windy City Winter Ball

(Photo courtesy Phillip…)
March 05, 2012|By Melinda McIntire, for RedEye

The guy who frequents Ukrainian Village coffee shop Atomix is much more than a guy named Phil.

He's actually Phillip-Michael Scales, a Ukrainian Village resident and frontman of Briar Rabbit, a local Chicago act that recently dropped a new album, "The Great Routine," and is currently on tour throughout the Midwest. 

Briar Rabbit's tour has made stops in college towns including Des Moines, Ames, Madison, Grand Rapids and Iowa City. He said he was thrilled to return home March 4 to play at Subterranean for this year’s Windy City Winter Ball.

Briar Rabbit is used to playing shows in the area, but this year’s Windy City Winter Ball was his first performance at Subterranean.

"The show was so much fun, there was a lot of energy being passed back and forth between the band and the crowd which is all I can ask for," Scales said.

The set list opened with songs from Briar Rabbit's first album, opening with "Numbers" and "Company You Keep" [the song that the video includes]. The set continued with songs from the new EP, "Great Routine," "Coon," "In My Head," and "Afterward," and wrapped with "Tread Lightly."

Scales describes Briar Rabbit's music as "Thought Pop."

Hosted by local Chicago indie record label, Grape Juice Records, the annual ball is been based on a loose theme and included garage rock and Americana/folk. This year’s line-up included Pet Lions, Brighton MA, Briar Rabbit, and Ben Keeler and the 500 Club.

Grape Juice Records founders Ian Tsan and Nick Rush said they wanted an indie pop theme for this year's ball, and it by mere coincidence, Pet Lions andBrighton, MAwere looking to perform together, and Briar Rabbit and Ben Keeler were also planning a show together as well. 

"We put both of those couples together and ended up with the best bill I could have asked for," Tsan said.

Briar Rabbit will head back to Chicago April 17 to play at Schubas. For more information, go to briarrabbit.net.

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