RedEye Rock 'n' Vote 2014 Top 10

Chosen out of more than 200 entries, these local bands vie for your support

April 30, 2014|By Matt Pais | RedEye music editor

UPDATE: POLLS ARE NOW CLOSED. CHECK BACK WEDNESDAY TO FIND OUT WHO MADE THE ROCK 'N' VOTE TOP 4 AND WILL PLAY MAY 22 AT LINCOLN HALL.

In the NBA and NHL, more than 50 percent of the teams make the playoffs.

An all-time high of more than 200 artists entered the 11th year of RedEye’s Rock ‘n’ Vote local band competition (featuring well-known alums including Rockie Fresh, I Fight Dragons and JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound). That means that less than 5 percent of the acts earned a spot in the Top 10. Now, these rising artists need your help—until 5 p.m. Sunday, visit redeyechicago.com and pick who you want to see on May 22 at Lincoln Hall. (Early bird tickets are $10 from 4/30-5/6 and $12 after that.) The top four vote-getters win a spot on stage, competing for on-site text votes and judges’ approval, not to mention a slot at the Taste of Chicago 2014.


Daryn Alexus
Neighborhood: Bronzeville
Sound: Beautifully sung, infectious R&B that this 23-year-old D.C. native (and Columbia College Chicago grad) says is meant to be fun and freeing
Influences: Tina Turner, Beyonce, Janelle Monae, Stevie Wonder, Nile Rodgers, Pharrell
Live show: A full-band party (drums, bass, guitar, keyboard) heavy on crowd interaction. “Everybody says that,” Alexus says, “but honestly, that’s truly what I can do. Even in rehearsal I don’t fully rehearse because I can’t pretend what could possibly happen. I don’t even know what I’m going to say or do.”
Claim to fame: Won Columbia College Chicago’s Biggest Mouth music competition in 2013
Fun fact: She’s “300 percent” addicted to sucking her thumb. “I can’t seem to quit, and no one believes me.”

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CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS TO ROCK 'N' VOTE (THURSDAY, MAY 22 AT LINCOLN HALL): Early bird tickets are $10 from 4/30-5/6 and $12 after that.

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Flesh Panthers
Neighborhood: West Town, Logan Square
Sound: Instantly catchy punk fuzz that drummer Michael Wolforth, 22, aptly summarizes as “scuzzy, beer-soaked rock ‘n’ roll.”
Influences: Velvet Underground, Oasis, Black Flag
Live show: A danceable, DIY good time from a band that prides itself on booking an East Coast tour on tour on its own and being a cranked-guitar rock band without pretension or a sense of exclusivity
Claim to fame: Reviewed by Pitchfork; named as the No. 1 band to watch in 2014 by Loud Loop Press
Fun facts: Singer/guitarist Ryan Pusheen is a dog walker; bassist Lucas Tashey is a baker; guitarist Nick Dehmlow studied at the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Science, where he spent a week watching a dolphin

‘Poppers’ S/T (Dumpster Tapes) by flesh panthers


‘I Lost My Mind’ S/T (Dumpster Tapes) by flesh panthers

Samy.Language
Neighborhood: Ravenswood
Sound: Nimble, electronic-fueled rap that flows so quickly from challenging to clever you might miss the switch. The 23-year-old MC (born Samy Sabh in Manhattan) says part of his goal is “exposing my vulnerabilities.”
Influences: Jamie T, Brand New, Chicago rappers including Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, Alex Wiley, Mick Jenkins, Lucki Eck$
Live show: A full-band experience that includes Samy, a DJ, a producer, a drummer and a three-piece horn section (trumpet, trombone, sax)
Claim to fame: Premiered track “No Signal,” off the forthcoming “The Skinny Cairo Tape,” on a London radio station
Fun fact: Threw up in the pyramids in Egypt—Samy believes it was a result of sun poisoning and exertion while playing soccer

Draft Week
Neighborhood: Pilsen, Lakeview, southwest suburban Darien
Sound: Dangerously sing-along-able, soul- and classic rock-influenced rock that singer/guitarist Kevin McNamara, 24, calls “modern Southern rock from Chicago”
Influences: Led Zeppelin, Kings of Leon, The Black Keys, As Tall As Lions
Live show: A “no-frills” rock show with minimal chatter between songs and “no backing tracks or choreography required”
Claim to fame: Opened for Skrillex before he was known as Skrillex; LeAnn Rimes attended one the group’s shows
Fun fact: To fund its original material, the band also operates as a cover band (they can play a full set of Queen songs)

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