Hailed as “one of the best young bands in America,” Filligar has headlined sold out shows at some of the nation's most acclaimed venues, toured the United Kingdom to wildly enthusiastic audiences, and supported such major acts as The Black Keys and My Morning Jacket. The powerhouse Boston music blog RSL recently named them one of the top 8 live acts in the USA, along with fellow Chicago rockers Wilco. With high energy keys, guitars, drums and vocals, Filligar delivers pure rock n roll.
This summer Filligar joins Counting Crows on the Outlaw Roadshow tour. Visit www.filligar.com for dates.
Johnny Mathias (guitar, vocals)
Casey Gibson (keys, bg vocals)
Teddy Mathias (bass, bg vocals)
Pete Mathias (drums)
"The Nerve" (Electrical Audio, 2010)
"Near or Far" (Gravity Studios, 2008)
"The City Tree" (Gravity Studios, 2007)
"Succession, I Guess" (Gravity, Studios, 2006)
"One of the Best Young Bands in America"
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Filligar are one of the acts I've been keeping a close eye over the last two years. In that brief sp...Filligar are one of the acts I've been keeping a close eye over the last two years. In that brief span, I've witnessed these upstarts develop from promising greenies into one of the most exciting young bands in the US of A. Celebrated for their scalding live performances in concert halls, Filligar proved this year that they are more than just a pretty face and an ascending jam. The band plumbed new depths of their creative souls with the bold new album, The Nerve. A collection of songs that take us along with these young men as they grow into the world on an exciting path.
"One of the USA's most exciting young bands"
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After a highly impressive appearance at this years SXSW, one of America’s highly tipped bands Fillig...After a highly impressive appearance at this years SXSW, one of America’s highly tipped bands Filligar have announced details of their debut set of live UK shows. The rock group from Chicago, Illnois will play a total of seven dates in London and Oxfordshire this coming July, ending their stay from across the pond with a show at The Festival of Nine Muses with Johnny Flynn.
Filligar comprise of a trio of brothers in Johnny, Pete and Teddy Mathias along with their friend Casey Gibson, and are definitely no strangers to the music scene. Having formed at the turn of the millennium, their discography boasts a highly impressive eight release, including their latest titled ‘The Nerve’. Influenced by the likes of The Rolling Stones and The Doors, ‘The Nerve’ is a impressive collection of pure rock and roll, defined by their own unique style.
Further adding to a long list of accolades, the quartet have supported Black Keys and have also shared festival line-ups with none other than the likes of Eric Clapton and Roger Daltry. It makes for appetising viewing in a time where the UK music scene could do with a much needed push in the right direction – and Filligar may be the ones to start it all off.
Their seven UK dates will be their first since their formation back in 2000, and is the perfect opportunity for British audiences to endure one of the USA’s most exciting young bands
"Seeing the band live was amazing... these guys will be the next Kings of Leon."
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A couple weeks ago, author and go-to concert partner Aubrey Beck and I went on a journey that would ...A couple weeks ago, author and go-to concert partner Aubrey Beck and I went on a journey that would rock so hard that I would end up in the hospital. No seriously.
My first encounter with Filligar was with their recently released album, The Nerve. Just to give a little background of the band, they hail from Chicago and are comprised of brothers Johnny, Pete, and Teddy Mathias, with Casey Gibson (a childhood best friend) rounding out the quartet. While this is my first outing with the boys, they have released an album every year since 2002. Doesn’t this brotherly tale sound familiar to you?
Filligar is one of those bands that has me scratching my head as to why they haven’t made it “big” yet. They’ve already been all over MTV shows, and have played alongside The Black Keys, and the Cool Kids just to name a couple, and I’m sure will add to their stage repertoire. Many claim these men will be the vehicle for college rock to make its return; and I agree, with choruses that are catchy as hell, and a folk-ish tempo in just about all the songs on their recent album.
Seeing the band live was amazing, with everyone in the crowd fueling the room with their energy for the boys to feed off of. Everything down to the interactions from one band member to another showed you that Filligar is a team that is in it for the long haul. I can think of few bands that have such an impressive list of albums, and kept the original lineup intact.
On the album, Not Gonna Settle was the first favorite of mine, with a catchy chorus, beautiful pacing, relatable lyrics and one hell of an organ solo by Casey Gibson.
Teddy tore it up on the bass for Gray Area, one of the more dance worthy tracks on the album, giving reason to clap along during the live show.
As I said earlier, we rocked so hard, I went to the hospital the next morning, as my appendix had apparently burst. Strangely enough, one of the songs that I had stuck in my head during my recovery was the 3rd track on the album, ironically named Health. This song has damn near perfect timing, and one of the most catchy choruses I’ve heard all year. The formatting during the verses lead to lovely buildups into the choruses, making it a great…if the greatest addition to the album.
From the offbeat timing of Ticket Line, to the saloon piano singalong of Slow Night at the Red Sea, the album was one of the best artists submissions we’re had all year for me at Behind the Hype. I’ll be the first to call that these guys will be the next Kings of Leon. Yeah I said it.
Thanks again to Stephanie, Pete, Teddy, John, Casey, and all the awesome people we met that night both at the show and afterword at the Hudson!
Until next time my friends,
"Guitar-powered rock 'n' roll a la the young Rolling Stones... Pay attention to Filligar because you're going to want to say you saw them when."
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"Filligar Has Nerve" Filligar isn't out to be a retro rock band, but the quartet takes guitar-pow..."Filligar Has Nerve"
Filligar isn't out to be a retro rock band, but the quartet takes guitar-powered rock 'n' roll ¿ la the young Rolling Stones, mixes it with alt-rock and pop elements, and serves it up with clever lyrics and plenty of energy.
The Chicago-based band is the Mathias brothers, Pete (drums), Teddy (bass) and Johnny (guitar, lead vocals), along with childhood friend Casey Gibson (keyboards). Filligar is on the road with a new CD, The Nerve, and is set to stop at the Pedicab Bar & Grill Wednesday night. The Nerve is packed with catchy, rollicking songs, selections such as Guilty Good Intentions, Robbery (Shocking Love) and Gray Area, which will appeal to the old-school as well as to fans looking to rock 'n' roll without worrying about trends.
Filligar at The Pedicab Bar & Grill Sometimes you need a good shot of basic rock with a pop overtone. It's time to meet Chicago-based Filligar. The quartet is the Mathias brothers, Pete (drums), Teddy (bass) and Johnny (guitar, lead vocals), and childhood friend Casey Gibson (keyboards). Filligar is touring with its new CD, "The Nerve." The band's sound is basic rock with fuzztone guitar, irresistible rhythm and catchy songs such as "Mumbling Girl" and "Not Gonna Settle." But Filligar embellishes that rock with harmony vocals, keyboards and a fresh, alt-rock energy. Pay attention to Filligar because you're going to want to say you saw them when.
Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/music/article/Night-After-Night-Aug-13-2010-782133.php#ixzz1XDYMU5x7
"[Filligar makes their London] debut appearance to a lucky crowd that will no doubt be reciting the evening when the band do finally gain the recognition they deserve... It is your moral obligation to give Filligar a chance."
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Tired of conceited bands singing their own praises and telling the world they’re the next big thing?...Tired of conceited bands singing their own praises and telling the world they’re the next big thing? Well, allow us to introduce a band that let their music do the talking. You might not have heard of Filligar but you’ll certainly be familiar with their influences – The Rolling Stones, The Doors and Wilco to name a few.
Filligar might appear to be a bunch of fresh faced American chaps but they’ve actually been churning out albums for nearly ten years, the most recent being ‘The Nerve‘, released in July 2010. During this time they’ve recorded an impressive eight records, bringing a whole new meaning to the word prolific, and demonstrating a work rate that is almost unheard of in the modern world.
Filligar hail from Chicago, Illinois and consist of brothers Teddy, Johnny and Pete Mathias as well as their friend, Casey Gibson. We all know of the trials and tribulations that arise in a band comprising of family members but this infamous hindrance in music history is yet to dismantle the solid rock that is Filligar.
Boasting an abundance of 14,000 fans on Facebook and over 250,000 views on Youtube, this is clearly a band that have won over a lot of people, but could this be the year that the UK finally give them a chance? You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you might find, you’ll get what you need, and try they will, as they embark on a mammoth UK tour, starting in London.
Kilburn, home to the Good Ship, might not be the most well known town in London but it certainly has its place in history. Ian Dury’s Kilburn and The High Roads put this area of London on the map and The Good Ship remains one of the most credible music venues in this corner of the city. Its intimate setting makes it the perfect place for Filligar to make their debut appearance to a lucky crowd that will no doubt be reciting the evening when the band do finally gain the recognition they deserve.
From the outset it’s clear singer Johnny Mathias is not the shy, retiring type. Beaming confidence and clearly having a good time, Johnny left the stage before singing a single note and strummed his guitar inches away from the audience with a swagger that you just had to admire. Announcing: “This is our first time in the UK, spread the word”, you’d never have thought this actually was their debut appearance as they got stuck into the tunes without showing any signs of nerves. If any of the band were indeed nervous, they were damn good at hiding it.
Drummer, Pete Mathias, exuded an enthusiasm that had him literally bouncing off his seat and smashing the drums in a way that even Dave Grohl would be proud of. The tight musicianship displayed by Filligar is a testament to the length of time the band have been together, as they have seemingly harbored a chemistry on stage which allows them to prioritize enjoyment over worrying about getting the notes right, and it is now second nature to them.
Despite having a catalogue of over 80 original songs to choose from, they delved into Neil Young territory by covering ‘Helpless‘ and did it the justice it deserves, largely due to Johnny’s impressive vocal range and emotive delivery. Yet it was one of their own song’s, ‘Health‘, which was the real highlight of the evening, driven by its ‘Strawberry Field’s-esque keyboard riff and blues influenced sound. Filligar had the full attention of the Good Ship’s audience who had huddled around the stage and surrounding balcony.
It’s just a shame that the set had to end so soon, clocking in at approximately half an hour, as they were really getting into their stride and had so much more to give. It was an impressive climax of keyboard riffage, guitar fret wankery and stomping blues which undoubtedly left a lasting impression on the crowd. If you like the 22 20’s and The Black Keys, then it is your moral obligation to give Filligar a chance.
"Hours before Eric Clapton and Roger Daltry took the Summerfest stage, a young, up and coming rock quartet was wowing an enthusiastic audience at the U.S. Cellular Stage."
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MILWAUKEE - Hours before Eric Clapton and Roger Daltry took the Summerfest stage, a young, up and co...MILWAUKEE - Hours before Eric Clapton and Roger Daltry took the Summerfest stage, a young, up and coming rock quartet was wowing an enthusiastic audience at the U.S. Cellular Stage.
Filligar is a Midwest-based band steeped in classic rock. Although they are young, they have a great sense of rock and roll heritage.
"Filligar is a breath of fresh air, in a genre that is growing stale... For rock n' roll purists out there"
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Album Review: Filligar – The Nerve By Michael Roffman Rock ‘n’ roll has an image disorder. L...Album Review: Filligar – The Nerve
By Michael Roffman
Rock ‘n’ roll has an image disorder. Like, what the hell is modern rock? Should a frontman sing hard and rough anymore? Do solos need to sound like someone hit the guitar with a screwdriver to maintain relevancy? It’s fucking confusing. Some artists feel this deep-seeded need to reinvent the wheel, to dispel all truths about a certain genre. Chicago’s Filligar shakes these “rules” off and instead keeps it simple: They play rock ‘n’ roll. On The Nerve, the punchy quartet’s eighth studio album, they continue this trend and to agreeable results.
“Cat got your tongue,” Johnny Mathias asks early on during “Health”. Perhaps. Together, the four channel some balmy grooves, echoing early Blood, Sweat, and Tears, especially with their early morning harmonies and layered “highway rock” rhythm section. It’s tight, but oddly liberal. The group’s multi-instrumentalist Casey Gibson refuses to let the silence in. If he’s not at the organ, he’s at the piano, adding scales at a frantic pace. This jammy element keeps this sound fresh and separates it from, well, what you might find at your local corner bar. Lush instrumentation, but deserved.
Blame it on the family fare. Three-fourths of the group are siblings and it shows. Bassist Teddy Mathias and drummer Pete Mathias push their brother Johnny forward, throwing the proverbial bouncing ball that tugs and pulls at his soulful melodies. The brothers’ work, coupled with Gibson’s knack to fiddle about, keep this music engaging. This benefits the group, namely because the lyrics aren’t always quite there (“Architect”, “Ticket Line”). There are some high points – the visually fantastic “Slow Night at the Red Sea”, for example – but there are too many vague moments where Johnny sounds as if he’s barreling forward with a chip on his shoulder yet no clear target.
Though for an eighth album, Filligar sounds remarkably youthful, if not admirably fresh. Some might compare them to Kings of Leon, and they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, but where the Followhill’s lack these days (e.g. convivial songwriting), Filligar excels. They know how to have fun, but they know when to get serious, too. On “Wild Nature”, Johnny chugs ahead and cuts loose, both lyrically and vocally, all while the others struggle to keep up (in a good way). It’s pretty cool. Now, if they focus on this sort of chemistry and leave tracks like “Ticket Line” in the notepads, then their ninth effort should really hit home. Still, for rock ‘n’ roll purists out there, The Nerve should suffice.
"With tremendous talent and drive to match, Filligar will be another Chicago living legend if they keep up this pace "
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"Chicago's Filligar Blasted the Nerve through the Troubadour" Watch out music lovers, Filligar ..."Chicago's Filligar Blasted the Nerve through the Troubadour"
Watch out music lovers, Filligar will seep into that crack in your heart and set up camp there for life. Playing the Troubadour for the first time, celebrating their new release "The Nerve", and driving cross country in their stealth red tour van, these cats are not playing for fun, but for keeps.
If you combine interesting arrangements, soul, americana/jam/blues sounds and season it with 10 years of playing together (even though these cats are in their early 20's), you'll get Filligar. Opening with "Robbery" and "Guilty Good Intentions" which is how their new release The Nerve begins, was an interesting choice because there was an expectation that this may be a full CD show. Fortunately it was not, because that formula seems to work best for mega bands and not for others.
Gushing and pouring themselves through their instruments, these guys deliver an intense and incredible show. A jamming harmonica from keyboardist Casey as they did a good cover of Neil Young's "Helpless" which lulled the crowd and kept the set fresh. Shawn, (singer/guitar) roused the audience with the subtle charms of Dave Matthews just by singing and playing his @ss off. Near shows end he ran, as far as his guitar cord would allow, through the jamming crowd, and then back up jumping off the railing onto the stage moving the energy around and sucking the audience into a virtual musical tornado.
Understanding less is more, the guys came back on with a one song encore that resembles Wilco mixed with Arcade Fire on speed. The song was a poinant signature of a band that understand music and having a musical career on various levels. With tremendous talent and drive to match, Filligar will be another Chicago living legend if they keep up this pace and if mainstream catches on them.
"Chicago's favorite rock band... on the same caliber as the Black Keys."
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Chicago’s favorite rock band, Filligar, is coming to Southern California this Wednesday night to ce...Chicago’s favorite rock band, Filligar, is coming to Southern California this Wednesday night to celebrate their Los Angeles Record Release party. The record of course is The Nerve and Bootsy and I plan to be at the show, which just happens to be at my favorite LA venue – The Troubadour.
You can get tickets at the door for $12 or if you’d like to save some cash and ensure you can get in, you can buy tickets for $10 from The Troubadour itself.
And I’ve said it before but these guys just make solid, good old fashioned rock and roll music. I’ve yet to see them live and have been waiting for this show all summer. We hope to see you there!
Oh, and if you are looking to learn a bit more about the band, here is an interview I got a couple months back.
Frank: This album definitely sounds grittier and more rock n roll than your last albums. You mentioned over beers that things were different this time. What was the new process and so far, has it worked out?
Teddy: We had just finished a two-month tour before starting to record the album and were feeling very comfortable with our live sound. We wanted to capture that raw, live energy on the record, and the move to a new studio, Electrical Audio, allowed us to achieve that. Rather than putting down the instruments one at a time and building a track piece by piece, we’d cut the track as a full band playing live onto 2-inch tape, then go back for any overdubs and vocals. It was definitely more fun to do it that way, and I think the end result has a much more organic and exciting feel.
Frank: You mentioned some bands you were into during the writing of this new album, and one that seemed to come back to me while listening was The Black Keys. To me, this album sounds on the same caliber as the Keys – how does that feel?
Johnny: That’s pretty good company! We really look up to those guys–we were lucky enough to play a show with them in St. Louis in 2009 and, besides being just really cool dudes, they put on an amazing live show. We’ve had their new album, Brothers, on repeat since it came out. They’re definitely one of the better bands out there right now, so to be compared to them is certainly high praise.
Frank: Okay, I know you’re coming to LA in August (yes!), but how does the rest of the tour look? Will college shows still be the backbone?
Pete: Given that it is the summer, this time around we are playing mainly small to mid-sized clubs and festivals. We are visiting parts of America that we have never been to before. We’re looking forward to traveling back to the eastern seaboard and making it down south all the way to New Orleans. The itinerary even includes a stop in Vegas–no shows, just seeing the sights. Then we’re heading out west with a great bill lined up at the Troubadour in L.A. that includes our friends Red Arrow Messenger and All Wrong and the Plans Change. Really excited to finally get together with those bands for a couple of shows in California.
Frank: It was really interesting talking to you about working outside the label structure and doing it alone. How has that been so far?
Casey: Our version of walking and chewing gum at the same time is loading the van while confirming shows with talent buyers. Controlling both the business and creative aspects of our band has been rewarding and a real advantage in many instances.
Frank: Your last album, Near or Far, had a very robust companion videos to the music. What can we expect with The Nerve?
Johnny: Expect the unexpected. And the unexplained.
Frank: You told me an awesome story about some USB Flash Drives, I think the Muffin readers must hear this.
Pete: Lets just preface this by saying we have since severed business ties with this company…We ordered some flash drives from a company in China that does custom-printed, 2-gig flash drives. When they arrived, they had “customized” MTV logos on each drive and also “customized” less-than-2-gig memory. They were useless. Might as well have been Legos. Just another lesson in Running Your Own Business 101.
Frank: Okay, so I already asked you what muffin you guys liked in our last interview. So what is your favorite place to eat in LA and Chicago?
Casey: Let’s start with Chicago, which is probably the best food city in America. Hitting all three Windy City food groups: Giordano’s for pizza, Hot Doug’s for hot dogs, and Kuma’s Corner for burgers. In LA, Cha Cha Chicken has great jerk chicken. $3 beers at Dillon’s is always a great time, too.
"Band to Watch: Filligar... Do us proud, boys."
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Band to Watch: Filligar Filligar’s 2010 release, The Nerve (its fifth album), showcases the band’...Band to Watch: Filligar
Filligar’s 2010 release, The Nerve (its fifth album), showcases the band’s vintage-meets-modern sound. “Our music takes our parents’ record collections and fuses it with things we pick up along the way,” says Teddy, citing The Rolling Stones and Wilco as influences. Do us proud, boys."
"What can I say that hasn’t already been sai… oh wait. I may be the first. I’d better make it good. I’ll put it in quotes for you so you don’t have to bother. 'I have seen the future of rock and roll, and it’s name is …'“
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I just received word from Filligar that the new album is indeed on iTunes and that I can finally sha...I just received word from Filligar that the new album is indeed on iTunes and that I can finally share a couple of tracks from it with you. It’s called The Nerve. And I have to agree. The nerve of them to make such a huge leap forward, creating their best recordings yet. I’ve had this album since last month and it’s been KILLING me not to talk about it and share tracks. KILLING me. I provide now, with permission, two fantastic tracks from the album. The single is out there and can be had on their site. It’s a great track as well. But I’d like you to hear my two favorites….
Filligar-Not Gonna Settle (right click save)
What an anthem. You may want to wave your fists in the air while you sing along, walking steadfastly away from that non-ringing phone to head out for a night on the town. The serial monogamist or pushover-no-more’s anthem. In real life or on TV.
Filligar-Health (right click save)
What can I say that hasn’t already been sai… oh wait. I may be the first. I’d better make it good. I’ll put it in quotes for you so you don’t have to bother.
“I have seen the future of rock and roll, and it’s name is …“
Been done already hasn’t it? I’ll try again.
“If you see one movie this summer, make it Filligar’s new song HEALTH. You will not be sorry.“
“THIS SONG IS FU(K!NG GREAT!”
That’s about right.
I love their other material, but this new album is much, much better. It’s rich, diverse and full music (to a greater extent). It defies previous labels loosely applied to their music such as… essentially… “surprisingly good for a dead genre”. Well, tell you what. Some of us don’t read Paste. We just glance at it and chuckle a little under our breath. If this is a dead genre, then the genre being spoken of is music itself. This is pure, rock music.
While so many artists are paying less attention to getting nice, big, full sounds and instead attempting to mimic various kinds of low fidelity or dead formats, Filligar went for the hi-fi sound here and it works for them. Not that there are not real gems in the lo-fi music out there right now. This album just sounds so beautiful and sunny. A nice change. That’s all. A Perfect soundtrack for your summer exploits. And I feel it’s necessary to point out that the keys on this album feel organic, full and out front for once. The organs, the electric piano. Nice. That can be hard to pull off without sounding wimpy or thin. And they never once sound wimpy or thin. I cannot wait to hear what this will sound like live.
Pick it up at iTunes right this second. And if you can find it anywhere else, grab it there. The physical CD comes out today. It’s so worth it. Buy it immediately. Show them your love.
"A sound that is dirty, raunchy, and ever so appealing in the way a bad boy giving a gal a broodingly, smolderingly come-hither stare is appealing"
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The Untitled Interview #87 – SXSW Edition: Starring Casey Gibson (Filligar) The days are getting ...The Untitled Interview #87 – SXSW Edition: Starring Casey Gibson (Filligar)
The days are getting longer, the nights are getting shorter and sweeter, and that, my little vixens, can only mean one thing: it's getting close to being almost time for the one and only SXSW. And of course, that means I had to ask some questions of the bands I'd sure want to see if I was heading down to Austin for the 25th annual SXSW-stravaganza.
This here blog is very definitely pro-Filligar. Those Chicago gents have a sound that is dirty, raunchy, and ever so appealing in the way a bad boy giving a gal a broodingly, smolderingly come-hither stare is appealing. Ladies, you know what I mean. And while I can't (sadly) say from personal experience that these nasty boys are house-blown-down fantastic live, from what I've heard on record it wouldn't surprise me in the least if they were. So go check 'em out and let me know, if you please.
"Megan's Top 70 of 2010: #50 - Filligar"
Ah, the happiness that a good, dirty rock & roll record can bring. Chicago's Filligar just so happen to have made such a good, dirty rock & roll record, The Nerve, and oh my sweet mercy is it a doozy. It's a rollicking, foxy romp, taking cues from the modern bluesy juggernaut of LET faves The Black Keys, the sexy lasciviousness of vintage Mott The Hoople, a smidge of that nouveau Southern rock a la The Black Crowes, and plenty of late, late nights in smoky, filthy, trouble-filled dives. The Nerve comes off as a ballsy, bluesy firecracker of a record. Throw it on for yourself, and just try not to fall prey to that appealingly predatory sonic swagger.
"What rock looks like in 2011..full of bluesy stompers, backroom brawlers and songs that any shifty go-between would play on the jukebox in your local dive bar."
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Every once in a while, it’s nice to unwind with a straight-up rock record. Unadulterated rock – wit...Every once in a while, it’s nice to unwind with a straight-up rock record. Unadulterated rock – without the burden of introspection or fear of the conventional – is nothing to laugh at or look down on. Its virtue is that you can unwind to it and tap your foot along with the rhythm. I find that works best when you are leaving work or while driving. There’s a place for rock in anyone’s life, even if they are afraid to admit it. The best type of rock is the kind that comes from bands that you don’t have to ask if they are serious (a la The Darkness).
Conventional rock is something like a natural redhead: a pleasant expression of a recessive trait that kicks like a mule. The fear of rocking (in my eyes) comes from a fear of regression. People who play music chase after the new to stand out from the crowd. People who write about music meet the familiar with derision. People who listen to music (well, buy tickets to shows) want to be rocked. The three groups of musicfolk rarely fall into a happy unity. Because of this a true rock band is a rare breed.
Filligar’s latest entry into the rock canon, The Nerve, shows exactly what rock looks like in 2011 (or 2010, I should say, since I kinda dropped the ball on this release!). Full of bluesy stompers, backroom brawlers and songs that any shifty go-between would play on the jukebox in your local dive bar.
“Robbery (Shocking Love)” is a nice, raucous foot-stomper that opens the album. While I listen to a lot of weird stuff, I do not shy away from the Temple of Rock. The kind of rock that comes from a guy on guitar who isn’t afraid to play power cords, his buddy from high school on drums, a singer with delusions of grandeur, some guy who everyone kinda knows who happens to play bass and someone in the band’s girlfriend’s brother on keys. It’s almost sacramental for me.
[Note from the author: I have no factual evidence to apply this background to the gentlemen in Filligar, especially since it is a four-piece.]
“Guilty Good Intentions” follows in the second position. Upping the ante, Johnny Mathias sings “Would you believe me if I said the boy who cried wolf is innocent?” in the most awesome slice of rock lyricism in the album. Take cliché or adage, put a spin on it and repeat it until you have everyone else singing it with you. Augment the standard meaning of a stock phrase with a slice of mayhem, and you have the recipe for a great rock’n’roll song. My dark horse pick for best song, though, would be the down tempo and keyboard-driven “Gray Area.” The track showcases how Filligar click as a collective.
[mp3] Filligar // Guilty Good Intentions from The Nerve [mp3/review] Filligar // The Nerve
[Note from the author: Johnny Mathias (guitars, vocals) is the brother of not one but two members of the band (Pete on drums and Teddy on bass). In traditional rock brother fashion, they fight constantly. Keyboardist Casey Gibson joined the band after (original keyboardist) Viv Savage was arrested halfway to Memphis while touring. Gibson is known as the peace-keeper, and his frequent travels through India will inevitably swing future tracks with an Eastern flavor and provide stability for the band after one of the brother's is kicked out.]
So anyone who isn’t afraid of simple, straight-forward rock will enjoy The Nerve. They sound like they would be even better in concert than on record, like any real rock act. Filligar is definitely a serious rock band that stays on point for the entirety of an album.
"Nothing flash, just performing good old honest rock... it's impossible not to be impressed with Filligar tonight."
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Filligar, on the other hand, are a band who are clearly very comfortable within their sound and are ...Filligar, on the other hand, are a band who are clearly very comfortable within their sound and are happy to play to their strengths alone; nothing flash, just performing good old honest rock. On stage, the band are predictably amiable and gracious, full of gleaming white smiles stuck in good-looking heads. Country influenced rock has taken a backseat in recent years compared to its shaggier haired brother called Folk, but Filligar are very much country boys, walking in the same dirty tire tracks as fellow alt.country Chicago brethren, Wilco. The songs are well structured, perfectly textured and arranged fairly simply around an electric guitar, bass, drums and keys.
Every song played had the crowd nodding along, and as the evening passed by, limbs became even more limber allowing for some rather enthusiastic dancing near the front. It was a short set, but very much an “all killer, no filler” collection of songs. The songs are very much rooted in the classic song-writing of acts such as The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young (a mid-set rendition of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song, ‘Helpless’, had members of the audience contentedly singing along) and the odd inflection of a dirty toned guitar solo, ala Neil Young, or staccato organ stabs, ala Ray Manzarek, gives them a more credible edge than your average “pub-rock” act.
It’s impossible not to be impressed with Filligar tonight; they not only present themselves as a genuinely bunch of kind-hearted chaps (something which many modern bands wrongly dismiss as an unfashionable over-eagerness, opting instead to be artistically over-serious or nonchalant), but also have the songs to back it up. Whether you want to call it AOR, MOR or AM friendly, you’ll probably be using far too many acronyms and overcomplicating the simple fact that Filligar write great songs, perform with aptitude and are one of the most affable travelling bands your likely to see come through Oxford.
"Listening to the album is akin to flipping through the AM radio of the 70s, an album to blast.... It’s a rock album. It's an American rock album. It’s ambitious, it’s bombastic, and it’s shooting for the big dogs"
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Filligar - The Nerve Lot of shows coming up in the next month, but I wanted to take a moment to h...Filligar - The Nerve
Lot of shows coming up in the next month, but I wanted to take a moment to highlight one that’s got me especially in a bother. Filligar, a rock band from Chicago, is playing two shows in NOLA next month—one at Checkpoint Charlie's on Thursday, 8/12 and then Friday, 8/13 at Circle Bar with Sun Hotel.
And yes, I did just call Filligar a “rock” band. I know that term gets thrown around now in an almost demeaning way (when you think “rock” music, you
have to think of Creed, Nickleback, etc. Without the prefix “indie”, it’s tough to take a band seriously.) But it’s hard to call Filligar anything else. Let me explain.
I’ve been following Filligar for about 5 years now. I took a music class with the bassist, Teddy Mathias, in college and he dropped a CD of their stuff on me. Teddy was 18 years old at the time, as was his twin brother, Pete (drums) and their keyboardist, Casey Gibson. The Mathias’ younger brother, Johnny, who provided lead vocals for the band, was sixteen years old.
Four albums later, I’ve had the chance to watch and listen to Filligar move from a bunch
of goofy high schoolers with a hell of a talented keyboardist (Gibson is classically trained) to a full-on, ass-kicking rock band. And, yes, again I use “rock.”
And I never would have used “rock” to describe Filligar until their latest album, The Nerve, which just came out this summer. On their earlier albums, Filligar were a good (at times, great) indie rock band from the Midwest. They were good musicians, and they knew how to write a hook. They wore their influences on their sleeve (a friend of mine heard an earlier album and dubbed them “Baby Wilco”) but their songs had such a pure joy that it was tough not to get hooked to them. Johnny was especially effective with his lyrics—my favorite Filligar song to this day is “Slow Motion Records,” an ode to the schoolyard with such pitch-perfect detail it’ll bring you back to the blacktop. But yes, they were a good indie rock band, they sounded a bit like Wilco, and every album they were going to drop three or four songs you would listen to 4,000 times before you would get sick of them.
And then, well, they dropped The Nerve. To say this is a seismic shift for Filligar is an understatement. To get technical with it, the band abandoned their recording techniques from earlier albums, instead moving to a full-band approach (everyone playing their instruments together while recording, not linking up with a metronome later, etc.) that immediately lends a different, fuller sound to the album. Also, the three Mathias brothers have gone and mastered their instruments in a way their fans haven’t seen before. (The rhythm section especially—Pete and Teddy have gone from able performers to stars in their own right.) All that is interesting, yes. But what really strikes this album differently is where the guys have started pulling their musical influences. In essence, they went back in time. And it garners huge results.
No more pulling from the loves of the modern Midwest—Sufjan, Oberst, Wilco, etc.—instead, Filligar reached back in time and set their sights on the big boys. The Band, CSNY, the fucking Beatles, are all evoked as the boys from Chicago lay it out there. The album opener, “Robbery (Shocking Love)” starts with some Hendrix feedback before launching into a riff Neil Young wouldn’t blush at. From there the tracks keep coming—on “Health”, Gibson sets his keyboard to Revolver setting and the boys launch into a track that feels like the coda to “Back in the USSR.” “Resurrection Song” hits us with a Stevie Ray Vaughan lick before settling into a Band-style sing-a-long. Listening to the album is akin to flipping through the AM radio of the 70s, an album to blast as you drive on some skinny highway through our nation’s heartland.
So yeah, this isn’t an indie album. It’s a rock album. It's an American rock album. It’s ambitious (14 tracks, hour-run-time), it’s bombastic, and it’s shooting for the big dogs. This could have been a triumphant flop. Instead, Filligar has gone ahead and recorded their finest album to date.
Performer Magazine: Filligar
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Filligar has been wading near the mainstream for ten years, drifting slowly from 13-year-old unknown...Filligar has been wading near the mainstream for ten years, drifting slowly from 13-year-old unknowns to local legends in the Chicago area. Looking for a change of scenery, the family folk rockers Pete, Ted and Johnny Mathias - along with childhood friend Casey Gibson - spent last winter holed up in a shed in the Vermont woods while composing their latest album The Nerve. "Some of the darker stuff came out there," says Gibson, the group's keyboardist. Sounds intense, but the important question isn't how to stay sane while cooped up in a shack, it's how to stay sane after ten years of recording, touring, and generally being in the same room as one another every day. Keeping it in the family can be fun (see Hanson), but not always (see Oasis), and these guys have been doing it since before they could shave.
"You can imagine the tension that gets created in the creative process when you're dealing with three brothers and plenty of testosterone in the room," says Gibson, Filligar's honorary Mathias brother. "We're trying to come up with good music that we can all get behind, and everybody's got their own opinions. But at the end of the day, there's almost always that moment when we realize, 'Oh, we've hit it now.'"
Gibson says there has never been any problem drastic enough to jeopardize the future of the band. "We're always under the same roof, we're always at the dinner table together, and we're always doing everything together, so any problems that we have are generally short-lived," he states. "We all want to do this. We are all in it for the long haul." It's already been a long haul. After ten years and eight studio albums (three under the name Flipside), it's safe to say that Filligar have found the key to longevity. Not only have they managed to survive, but they seem to be gaining momentum, catching more press and selling out venues such as Lincoln Hall in Chicago, The Bowery in New York City and The Troubadour in Los Angeles during their recent "The Nerve Tour." What's more impressive - they self-booked the entire thing.
Filligar are down with DIY. So much, in fact, that they started their own music and film production company, Three-One-Two Productions, in response to their band's success. The company, which includes several family members and close friends, handles every aspect of Filligar's music, including promotion, booking and filmmaking. Last winter they released Far, a series of eight Filligar music videos shot by various directors from around the country. "We, over the last decade, have been producing ourselves," says Pete Mathias, drummer. "We believe our best bet in realizing the ambitious goals we have is by working hard to keep our creative freedom."
Personally overseeing everything holds Filligar directly accountable to themselves, a practice they say is crucial to their success. "When we book a tour ourselves, we have a pretty large stake in it. It really puts the pressure on us to promote the gigs and put on the best show possible," says Gibson. "There can't be any finger pointing, because it all just leads back to us." The band says this level of involvement guarantees they remain completely engaged, something not every band can attest to. "We don't ever want to be in a situation where we don't feel like we have got anything at stake," says Ted. "A lot of bands would rather have someone tell them where their next show is and have everything laid out for them."
After a decade of active recording and performing, Filligar's avid self-promotion seems to have been hardwired into their brains. They say even a day or two of inactivity tends to make them anxious. "[Promoting] isn't just a means of getting somewhere, or a means of getting people to come to the shows," says Ted.
"We just really want to be out there. It's a lot of fun to be out on the streets, meeting people and seeing what kinds of things come our way." It's also necessary, as the guys have learned over the years. "You really have to get out there, and you have to be there in the flesh," says Ted. "You can't be on MySpace saying 'Hey, check out this link.' I don't believe that anyone, even in this day and age, is going to really buy into that. We like being out there."
When compared to fellow Chicago natives Wilco, Filligar seem to welcome the association. "We're a Chicago band, and we're certainly informed by where we come from," says Ted. "You are always influenced by your contemporaries, but we tend to not be as conscious of it. You don't want to feel like you are ripping off Kings of Leon, or Wilco, or whoever." He pauses briefly. "Well, Wilco is a little different."
Consciously or not, Filligar's sound is maturing into a style more honed than their previous efforts. The Nerve sees them relying less on the folk/pop/rock variety in favor of thicker blues and roots rock. Hi-fi and heavy, it's an album that was "written to be performed."
"That unbelievable feeling [on stage] makes it worth it when you are driving through West Texas and your van starts breaking down, and you begin to wonder what you are doing there," says Gibson.
After ten years, Filligar have experienced more than a few van breakdowns. At this point, they are more excited to talk about their positive tour experiences. "Driving down the interstate leaving Portland, we got an e-mail from a guy saying 'Hey man, I'm traveling with you. I'm behind you in the big truck. If you want to get a new fan, pull over and give me a CD.' We figured it was someone in a pickup, but it turns out it was this big rig," says Ted. "We pulled over to the side of the road with this guy on the freeway and started talking to this dude while traffic was zooming by. We gave him the CD, he really dug it, and we kept e-mailing back and forth the next couple days."
Encounters like this are the reason Filligar keep on trucking. Ten years may seem like a lifetime in the music industry - or half a lifetime, in Filligar's case - but they're still fresh out of college, a time when many bands are just reaching their formative years. "We would love to tour 365 days a year," says Ted. "Or, maybe not 365, but long enough that...we..."
"360, maybe," adds Gibson.
"Yeah, 360," says Ted. "Maybe get Christmas off."
"Good old-fashioned rock n' roll... I could definitely get into this."
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Some of my favorite memories from my childhood are learning to play the piano. My teacher was this a...Some of my favorite memories from my childhood are learning to play the piano. My teacher was this ancient man with few teeth left, and quite possibly the sweetest man to ever walk the Earth. He had a tape recorder that he would leave himself messages on. I remember he would tell me my piano homework and then he’d pull out his tape recorder and say something along the lines of “Bring 5th Sonata for Lydia.” I can only imagine what his home looked like; something tells me the walls were covered in piano sheet music and books.
Ever since my childhood, I’ve aspired to be a good piano player. Unfortunately, to this point, I’ve fallen short of my dreams, but I like to think that dream will never die, nor should it. But hearing a song like this one by Filligar reminds me why I want to master the art of piano playing. To simply be able to sit down and jam away at the piano would be so fun.
This song is some good old-fashioned rock and roll. The piano playing is incredible; definitely my favorite asset on the track. I could definitely get into this.
Filligar performs original music. A set consists of selections from the band's catalog of over 50 songs.
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