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


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 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.”


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.


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

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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