When alumn Josie Dunne ‘15 started making it big in the music business, Lyons Township students eagerly jumped on the bandwagon. On September 26, Dunne made a hometown stop on her first headlining tour. The familiar faces at the Bottom Lounge confirmed that LT students have stayed dedicated to Dunne and her music.
I can’t say I was surprised by the number of LT students, parents, and even faculty. But I was very surprised by Dunne’s response. Near the beginning of the night, Dunne asked the audience if and where they had seen her perform before. She prompted the audience with names of artists she had toured with, but the majority of the audience kept yelling out “LT” in reference to her halftime performance at the Blackout Game.
When she finally asked who had seen her perform at Lyons Township, the crowd let out a roar. Dunne then proceeded to sing the LTHS fight song and many students in the crowd joined along, clapping and jumping to the beat. It fostered a sense of community and family that Dunne’s music kept alive for the rest of the night.
Dunne played a few covers, including Ariana Grande’s “Thank u Next”, though it was clear the crowd was there for her music. When they heard the familiar melody of one of her songs, the atmosphere instantly became more electrified. Dunne would often encourage the crowd to wave their arms back and forth to the beat, enhancing the already present sense of unity.
Throughout the night, she sang all of her classic hits, including “Old School”, “Good Boys”, and “Mute”. Her voice was strong and unrestrained and her passion was clear in every note and move she made on stage. She was performing but she was having a blast while doing it, and the crowd thrived off of her energy.
Dunne mentioned more than once that this was her largest audience yet and spoke of her gratitude towards the fans. At points, she almost seemed awed that she was on stage, a poster with a red “jd” behind her. Her smile was wide and so genuine when she spoke. It left me with a positive energy for the rest of the night.
Dunne wore blue overalls with a white lowercase j on the chest and her accompanist, Will Honaker, wore a light blue jumpsuit. During a few songs, they stood side by side on stage and danced in synch in a way that was teetered between nerdy and adorable.
The last song Dunne played in her primary set was “Ooh La La”. The crowd completely vibed with it. Dunne ensured that it was the most hype song yet by prompting the audience to get down low and jump up on the beat drop. During this song, she invited some friends on the stage. The move highlighted her hometown focus, but I thought it was done in a way that lacked the level of professionalism you’d find at most concerts.
Before “Oooh La La”, Dunne told the audience she would be back for an encore as every artist gives an encore. While true, I did not like this decision. I felt like it took some of the excitement out of the closing song and the fun out of cheering and hoping she comes back.
Chaz Cardigan opened for Dunne. Previously known as Spazz Cardigan, he changed the band name to his birth name when he realized that spazz is derogatory in many parts of the world. This “woke” attitude instantly struck a note with me, as did his interesting choice of outfit: an oversized brown sweater and plaid pants.
Cardigan jumped around the stage in a vibrant, semi-chaotic energy, and was easily the best opener I have seen at a concert. His alternative-pop style of music was funky-fresh, and I will be keeping my eye out for more of Chaz Cardigan in the future.
Although some of Dunne’s decisions did not completely hit home with me, the concert as a whole was great, especially for her first headlining tour. Her passion was evident, her energy kept the crowd engaged, and her gratitude and joy of music fostered an upbeat vibe in the venue.