A packed-to-capacity Double Door in Chicago was the setting for Conflict of Interest Presented by Taco Bell, a party featuring Brooklyn indie rock group Ambassadors, Louisiana polyrhythmic band Royal Teeth and L.A. garage punks FIDLAR that held the honor of being the only event to feature free bean burritos and Dorito locos for the drunk, sweaty masses. To see more of the action head over to our bangin' photo gallery.
Brooklyn quartet Ambassadors describe themselves as "dark, tribal, dance rock 'n’ roll," which deftly encapsulated their Thursday night set. We'd go further, though. Frontman Sam Harris doubles as an extra drummer, adding multi-percussive, hyper-rhythmic sound indebted as much to Afrobeat rhythms as traditional rock 'n' roll. In between leading handclaps, Harris is an earnest frontman, channeling Bono and Gaslight Anthem's Brian Fallon and leading his group into classic anthemic rock.
Maybe it's coincidence that Royal Teeth and Givers were formed, in part, from Lafayette, Louisiana, but maybe not. Both groups utilize polyrhythmic structures and dual male/female vocals to add dynamics to traditional indie rock melodies. Female vocalist Nora Patterson splits the difference between Arcade Fire's Regine Chassagne and a downtempo vocalist found on any one of those nu-jazz compilations, while the group utilizes up to four drummers at a time to create uptempo singalongs. Toward the end of the set, frontman Gary Larsen brought a drum into the crowd, showcasing the utilitarian side of the group as a circle of fans quickly formed around him. By the time confetti dropped on the last song, the group had the crowd hooked.
Los Angeles garage punks FIDLAR were in the Olympic spirit, as frontman Zac Carper boasted an USA flag tank top behind a band that blurred the lines between pub rock, Blur's "Song 2" and punk pioneers X. A psych rock version of the Black Keys, FIDLAR is music for crowd surfing, and came at a late enough point in the night where booze was freely flowing, bean burritos were being consumed at a rapacious rate and the crowd was ready to start a riot.
As savvy as we are, we're not above a little help from our fans. Erin (aka @e_may88) earned her access through Taco Bell's Twitterspondent contest and live tweeted throughout the party:
Check out more of her report over here. If you need us, we'll be lying on our backs in a food and music coma.