ARTISTS TO WATCH: Filligar
Chicago’s Filligar is a road-tested, high octane
blend of Southern roots rock and modern alternative
which is at once invigorating to hear and yet vastly underexposed. Fans will testify the band’s roadshow,
both solo and with others, is unparalleled.
So why haven’t you heard of them?
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If Beware of Darkness deserves credit for reviving music inspired by Led Zeppelin into the modern consciousness, music junkies should be flocking to Chicago’s own Filligar for equal doses of Allman Brothers grit and Levon Helm-inspired lyricism. This band’s got the whole package, and after six albums they’ve morphed from what was primarily an in-studio exercise to being among the best rock acts I’ve seen live, period.
Granted, I only was lucky enough to catch them opening for Counting Crows — which meant they only got to play six songs as part of a four-band traveling roadshow. But the energy they put out there, coupled with their incredibly tight arrangements and ridiculously catchy songs, and I have to wonder: Why aren’t they household names?
The band’s sixth album, The Nerve, has been out since 2010 and was a nominee for the Independent Music Awards’ Rock Album of the Year in 2011. Even a cursory listen reveals the band’s incredible gift for melody and blues-rock revivalism. Johnny Mathias handles vocal duties with the assured grit of the Black Keys, meshing perfectly with keyboardist Casey Gibson’s Gregg Allman-esque skill on the Hammond B3 and a rollicking rhythm section few of their peers can challenge. This is music which sounds on first listen as though we’ve been singing these songs for years. The Nerve brings their live sound into the studio, making it an assuredly confident album which, even two years after its release, has the potential to be their breakthrough.
I sat down with Casey Gibson and Teddy Mathias after their Outlaw Road Show set, opening for Counting Crows at Louisville’s Iroquois Amphitheater this past Monday night. You can view the result below. Then check out their video for “Robbery (Shocking Love)” and tell me these guys aren’t your new favorite band. I dare you!