1354 West Wabansia Ave, Chicago, IL 60642 | 773.227.4433

Activity with Doom Flower

Ages 21 and up
Tuesday, October 03, 2023
Show: 8:30pm // Doors: 8pm
Activity, the Brooklyn-based band of Travis Johnson (lead vocals/multi-instrumentalist), Jess Rees (guitar/vocals/keys), Bri DiGioia (bass/vocals), and Steven Levine (drums), today announced their new album Spirit in the Room will be released on August 4th, 2023 via Western Vinyl. Produced by Psychic TV’s Jeff Berner, the band’s sophomore album is an emotional seance held through an unearthly haze of menacing trip hop, ambient electronica, and synth-based noise rock. The album’s darkly urgent lead single “Careful Let’s Sleepwalk” is out now alongside a video directed by the band’s own Levine. “Lyrically the song is dream fragments, nights that all left me with the feeling of something being really wrong (danger, shame, repulsion) without there being anything happening in the dream to obviously trace the sense of evil back to,” Johnson explains. “Just these internally grotesque and dreadful forms that are mundane on the outside. Everything seems calibrated to make us go insane now, and the feeling of the song corresponds to that.”

The band’s most collaborative album to date and follow-up to their 2020 debut LP Unmask WhoeverSpirit in the Room was written and recorded during the pandemic, “to keep from losing our minds”, as Johnson explains. The inherent limitations of lockdown meant that the band had to strip down the process considerably, relying heavily on processed samples and drum machines to sketch early ideas and begin to process the collective trauma. It was also around this time that Johnson experienced a series of personal tragedies, namely the loss of his mother to pancreatic cancer. “The grief was (and sometimes is) this colossal thing,” Johnson explains, “and I kept finding myself thinking of how I could find her or get in touch with her, like there was a phone number or address and I just had to find it.” 

The 11-song set–also featuring tracks sung/written by Rees and DiGioia–ultimately reflects the band’s deep anxiety about the modern world while simultaneously displaying their immense gratitude and—believe it or not—joy. As Rees describes it, “One moment it’s bottomless shearing chaotic noise, and the next it’s a sweet melody. Sometimes at the same time.”

This dichotomy seems to set Activity apart from their peers in the noise rock world. On the one hand, Spirit in the Room is a harrowing journey through a Bosch-like landscape of illness, global capital, and human-caused destruction. On the other hand, it’s a room full of friends who are simply trying to make it through the day and process this world that we’ve created. When asked why this album needed to be made, Johnson put it best: “None of us can stand to not make music is all, really.”

Doom Flower

· 21+

· Door staff will check ID.

· Tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable, please review your order carefully before confirming.
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