After a family dinner at Yogi’s, several members of local band Street Pennies walked back to The Bluebird to perform on Feb. 16.
The walls of the bar were lined with posters of famous musicians who have performed at The Bluebird, including Koko Taylor and Morgan Wallen. Ryan Cook, saxophone player, placed a Street Pennies sticker on a wall in the green room. He said performing on that stage is humbling for the whole band.
“I think in many ways, The Bluebird is kind of the apex of the scene here,” trumpet and tambourine player Abe Plaut said.
The crowd erupted when the band members walked on the stage. By the second song, vocalist Ollie Grcich had taken her microphone out of its stand and moved more freely on the stage.
Not one person stood still—the entire place was moving. As each members’ head nodded along with the music, Plaut jumped up and down, and Grcich turned to face each member of the band. Grcich danced as much as she sang.
An audience member said Grcich brings great energy to the stage, and she wants to see her perform everyday for the rest of her life.
By the third song, the floor of the venue was no longer visible. People had abandoned their tables and rushed to the floor to be closer to the stage. Phone flashlights, waving arms and beer bottles were raised toward the stage by many audience members.
The band played “This Love” by Maroon 5 and “Respect” by Aretha Franklin. Vocalists Lucas Hallal and Grcich belted out the lyrics. The crowd sang every word back to them as Grcich bent down, face to face with her fans.
“I want to be in people’s faces and have them sing it with me,” Grcich said.
Johnathan Hasey, guitarist, even played his guitar behind his head during one song. At many points of the night, members of the band would sit on the stage, playing their guitars and singing on the floor, their heads level with the members of the crowd.
At one point, Hallal was sitting on the ground, singing up to Grcich as she sang down to him. Plaut, with a tambourine in his lap, sat between them. The connection between the band members was evident.
When the band broke into the song, “She’s So Gone” by Naomi Scott, the crowd immediately jumped in the air and sang every lyric along with them.
As a cover band, they spoke about wanting to produce their own music.
“I’d hate to be in this band and not make at least one original,” Michael Carter, keyboard player, said. “We’re all way too good for that.”
Carter said he would want their original song to have a lovesick vibe, influenced by The Jonas Brothers’s song “Lovebug.” Grcich said she would want the song to include a heavy blues influence.
Grcich said the band wants to play another house show and make their music accessible to everyone.
“By only doing 21 and up shows, we’re completely ignoring a whole (other) group of people who want to be able to go out and listen to music,” she said.