Cobalt & the Hired Guns
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Cobalt & the Hired Guns

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States
Rock Americana

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"Recent Quotes"

"They remind me of a band that would be playing at a party in a movie that is more fun than a party that would happen in real life" -Mike Raspatello of Kingtello Productions

"It's a SMASH!" -The Brooklyn Paper, Smash or Trash segment

"I Love This!" Tom Marker of WXRT Chicago 93.1 FM

"Look forward to a high energy show from a band that gives their fans everything they have." - The Chicago Flame
- various


"Rowdy, foot-stompin’ honky-tonk music!"

Cobalt & the Hired Guns got the night off with a rockin’ bang. The band impressed this reviewer with their unique spin to Americana music. What was performed on stage wasn’t your ordinary brand of folksy music. It was Americana with a punk twist that had the audience moving to the beat. This unusual sound was energetic, fun and, Fearless fans, Southside liked it! Even while taking the energy down a peg to a more relaxed atmosphere, Cobalt never lost the momentum with its fans. They were too hyped enjoying the guitar solo which was the highlight of their show. Rowdy, foot-stompin’ honky-tonk music closed out this set leaving everyone hungry for more. If you’re looking for a cool twist to Americana music, SouthSide recommends checking out Cobalt & the Hired Guns at their next show. For more information about this band, visit them at www.cobaltandthehiredguns.com or www.myspace.com/cobaltandthehiredguns. - Fearless Radio


"Sold Out Metro show - Cobalt on tour w. State Radio and Big D & the Kids Table"

Hey, blogspot readers, it's "Take Your Kids to Work" Day for SouthSide. She was joined with her "test audience" (as she lovingly calls Vyolet, age 17, and Sunday, age 8, - not their real names of course) for this review. They spent a rockin' evening as guests of Cobalt and The Hired Guns at the Metro's all ages show Friday. The lineup featured Cobalt opening for State Radio with Big D and The Kids Table in between. Since the "test audience" was the target age group of the night, parts of this review will contain their thoughts/opinions about the performances by Cobalt and State Radio. They did give big thumbs up to Big D's energetic set and exuberant rock sound. Sunday liked the funny song titles while Vyolet was seen partying along with the crowd. This reviewer recommends listening to the song, Hell On Earth which caused a fan frenzy on the main floor. For more information, visit Big D and The Kids Table at www.bigdandthekidstable.com or www.myspace.com/bigdandthekidstable.

For one night only, this indie band was known as Cobalt and The Hired Guns and Hired Guns. The extra "hired guns" included a four-person horn section and accordion player to give their sound that special umph for the home crowd. This truly, blogspot readers, had fans instantly dancing to Cobalt's unique twist on the Americana/alternative music. So after that explosive opening song, this crowd and band were definitely ready to party all night long. And how could you not blame them. With the band's catchy tunes and energetic beats, you won't be standing still for long. SouthSide could clearly see that from the way they were rockin' the stage. Cobalt was absolutely having fun which kept everyone else under that same momentum. The horn section and accordion sound certainly did their jobs maintaining that eclectic uniqueness for the band. Vyolet loved Cobalt and The Hired Guns stating that the horns were an awesome touch. She enjoyed their charismatic style and whimsical songs. According to her, this band drew lots of attention and excitement towards the crowd - a real eye catcher. Meanwhile, Sunday simply wanted to say they were awesomely cool. Well, blogspot readers, the "test audience" has spoken highly recommending that you catch the new Americana wave with Cobalt and The Hired Guns. Besides listening to their hits, You Left Your Sweater and Of Summer, listen to the brand new song, Lazarus - a mellow alternative sound but still retaining that energetic spark to keep you grooving to the rock rhythm. For more information, visit www.cobaltandthehiredguns.com or www.myspace.com/cobaltandthehiredguns.

Now, SouthSide has attended many shows at the Metro. However, she has never seen it so packed before! It was a sellout crowd ...standing room only everywhere including the Reserved/VIP area for State Radio's performance. The entire venue lit up with screams and cheers when this touring band took the stage for their first song. This band had an organic feel to their rock sound ...think of them as the millennium's version of 60s grassroots rockers like CSNY (Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young). Their music and songs, like CSNY, had a story that needed to be told ...a cause worth supporting ...a message to be heard. With their sign, Wage Peace, waving proudly behind the band, there was in Southside's eyes universal peace and harmony amongst the masses. It was simply amazing, blogspot readers, to hear voices singing along with State Radio. This crowd was definitely feeling each rhythmic guitar vibe waifing from the stage. There were many hands in unison clapping to the crescendoing riffs until it peaked. Then - wow! So hard to describe the heads bobbing (as well as bodies surfing around the main floor) to the music. You truly had to be there to witness this. State Radio's performed under an eclectic array of genres such as Reggae/ska to Irish melody within in their songs. Vyolet and Sunday both enjoyed the energetic atmosphere in which this band's rock music provided. They liked how the Metro security kept the fans near the stage from overheating by squirting water at them. SouthSide highly suggests listening to State's Bohemian Groove, Masin Humanity and of course the popular Knights of Bostonia (also check out the hilarious video for this song). For more information and tour dates, visit www.stateradio.com or www.myspace.com/stateradio.


Until next time, support your local scene,
SouthSide - Southside Chicago


"What color is this local band's music? Totally green!"

Cobalt & the Hired Guns shooting for environmentally friendly production

July 3, 2008
BY LAUREN WILLIAMSON

When members of Cobalt & the Hired Guns sat in the audience of the “It’s Not Easy Being Green” panel last March at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, little did they know they’d soon become the main attraction.

“We asked some questions and told them what we were doing, and suddenly it became the Us Show,” said Matt Hart, 24, lead singer and guitarist for Cobalt. “People started asking us questions and giving us their cards.”
» Click to enlarge image
Chicago band Cobalt & the Hired Guns is Mike Roth (from left), Alie Plotsky, Tom Fort and Matt Hart.
(Courtesy)

With a carbon-neutral album and shows promoting eco-awareness, Chicago-based Cobalt is making a name for itself as a leader in the greening of the local music industry.

“They walk the talk,” said Kirk Fox, music director for the Green Festival at Navy Pier, where Cobalt performed in May. “Some people just jump on the bandwagon, but they have a real commitment to bringing awareness to environmental issues. Not too many bands are doing that right now.”

While national acts like Dave Matthews Band and Jack Johnson have the leverage on tour to effect larger-scale ecological change, drummer Alie Plotsky said Cobalt is learning to get its message across creatively.

“It’s different for a smaller band,” said Plotsky, 22. “We have less disposable income, and it’s tricky to find things that work.”

At their spirited live shows, Cobalt features environmentally conscious products and information to educate fans on how they can positively impact the planet.

At the record-release show in May for the band’s second album, “Jump the Fence,” bassist Mike Roth said they invited a speaker from sustainable-living group Urban Habitat Chicago to address the sold-out crowd at the Elbo Room.

“We focused on educating people about green products as well as alternative energy,” said Roth, 25. “We had a table that had everything from reusable SIGG bottles, to energy-efficient light bulbs, to vegan cake, to eco-friendly soaps and T-shirts.”

Cobalt worked with NativeEnergy to offset all carbon emissions associated with producing and recording “Jump the Fence.”

By purchasing wind power to compensate for every bottle of water they drank and each mile they drove during the 10-day recording period, they neutralized five tons of carbon dioxide. That’s equivalent to 10œ barrels of oil, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Cobalt started five years ago at Oberlin College in Ohio, where all four members were undergraduates. Hart, Roth and vocalist-guitarist Tom Fort, 24, were an acoustic trio looking for a drummer when they put up audition posters featuring a depiction of Animal, the wild, red-haired drummer from “The Muppet Show.”

“Alie talked to us about trying out, and we went to her Web site,” Fort said. “Instead of a picture of her, she had a picture of Animal. We knew it was meant to be.”

Because each band member has a background in community work and activism, Hart said weaving environmental responsibility into Cobalt’s work makes the whole process feel more whole.

All of the good eco-karma is paying off. In June, fans voted Cobalt’s song “Spotlights” onto this year’s iGo “Audio Emissions” compilation, alongside tracks from Wilco and Neko Case. Starting in July, every iGo car will include the CD in its stereo.

“We set goals for the beginning of the summer, and we’ve already surpassed all of them,” Plotsky said. “We’ve absolutely morphed into being a grown-up Chicago band.”

Over the next few months, Cobalt will work on a plan to provide incentives to fans who bike to their shows rather than drive or take public transportation. On deck is a show July 23 at Martyrs’ (773-404-9494), a show at Lilly’s on July 9 (773-525-2422), and, starting in August, three performances at the Green City Market in Lincoln Park.

“The environment’s something we care about individually,” Plotsky said. “And we can use the music we love to encourage people to do something about it.” - Chicago Sun-Times


"The Deli's Erin Keane sits down Colbalt and the Hired Guns"

"The Double Single was the perfect way to kick off a Chicago summer. "You Left Your Sweater" is a boot stomping anthem about the transitory nature of summer love ..and the addition of Alexander's sweet vocals on "Of Summer" is delightful and fills the track with the sort of tension that tugs at your heart strings. - The Deli Chicago


"Cobalt and the Hired Guns to play Union Hall"

“Cobalt & the Hired Guns are a great live band and, for lack of a better word, their shows are simply fun. As I've seen too many mopey, lo-fi bands this summer, it is nice to a see a band that actually enjoys themselves on stage.” –Brooklyn Rocks Blog - Brooklyn Rocks


"Reviewing THE DOUBLE SINGLE and JUMP THE FENCE"

“[The Double Single is] seven minutes worth of neatly hoppin’ and harmonic country-tinged pop-rock fun. The lively tempos and jumpin’ beats keep things peppy and rousing while the robust vocals and snappy playing are both up to speed.”

“[Jump the Fence is] a smooth-jumpin’ blast of pure straight-up cookin’ basic rock’n’roll, this album goes down easy with a good deal of flair and spark to spare. There’s no dreaded pretense or needless flashy razzle-dazzle to speak of. Instead we have neatly vibrant and melodic meat-and-potatoes rock that gets right down to snazzy brass tacks with admirable economy and tunefulness. The pleasant vocals, clean and crisp arrangements, and proficient playing keep things bubbling along throughout. A solid and worthwhile album.”

–The Jersey Beat - The Jersey Beat


"WXRT 93.1 plays Cobalt & the Hired Guns"

"Of Summer" builds slowly and kicks into something real nice... Angelic vocals. -Richard Milne, WXRT 93.1 - WXRT 93.1 Richard Milne


"Ever feel unable to stop your foot from tapping?"

Ever feel unable to stop your foot from tapping? Well, you will when listening to this cheerful folk-rock quartet, which prides itself on involving audience members in shows (tambourines are often passed around). Vocalist Matt Hart calls the band's sound "upbeat Americana folk-punk" and notes that they like to make friends. When we say that's not a very punk attitude, he adds, it's like very inclusive, happy punk." - Metromix Chicago & Red Eye


"Cobalt & the Hired Guns - Metromix TOP 4 in Chicago"

by Matt Pais - 4.23.09 -

“It’s been such an exciting week,” raves Cobalt and the Hired Guns singer/guitarist Matt Hart, 25, of the constant attention gained and promoted by the band during the Rock ‘n’ Vote competition. Now the rowdy Americana-folk-punk foursome can’t wait to unleash their seemingly insuppressible energy on the crowd at LaSalle Power Co. In fact, Hart is glad the new bar’s layout doesn’t allow concertgoers to distance themselves from the performers. At least, not if they want a drink: “I [love] that the bar is next to the stage,” he says, “because you can’t go to the back and hide at the bar.” Once listeners get a taste of Cobalt’s pep—which has helped them land on an iGo Audio Emissions compilation alongside artists like Wilco and Kid Sister—they likely won’t have any inclination to slink away. - Metromix Chicago / Red Eye


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Cobalt And The Hired Guns don’t just have a kick ass name; they seem to have a lot of fun making music. Not “a lot of fun” in the way that’s annoying or unearned, but rather a lot of fun because they’re genuinely good at what they do and they know it. The group’s got a style that’s warm and friendly, so all of its music videos show the band members being lovely and charming with each other. It may all be malarkey, but it’s persuasive all the same. The chemistry isn’t limited to a video of The Hired Guns hocking snowballs at each other; it’s heard in every chord progression and drum beat. This combo of commodity and talent is remarkably unpretentious and needs to be heard more often. - AV CLUB

A mixture of folk, punk, roots-rock and passion has earned Cobalt & The Hired Guns comparisons to plenty of perennially en vogue predecessors, but as usual the key lies not in the lineage but in the delivery, which in this case is convincingly full of conviction. –Time Out Chicago - Spring 2011

“...Incredibly charming, poppy, youthful music...” –Roctober Magazine

The Double Single was the perfect way to kick off a Chicago summer. "You Left Your Sweater" is a boot stomping anthem about the transitory nature of summer love ..and the addition of Alexander's sweet vocals on "Of Summer" is delightful and fills the track with the sort of tension that tugs at your heart strings. -The Deli Chicago

"["Of Summer"] builds slowly and kicks into something real nice... Angelic vocals." -Richard Milne, WXRT 93.1

“Cobalt & the Hired Guns are a great live band and, for lack of a better word, their shows are simply fun. As I've seen too many mopey, lo-fi bands this summer, it is nice to a see a band that actually enjoys themselves on stage.” –Brooklyn Rocks

2012: A brand new full length record, 'Everybody Wins!' is set to drop June 12, 2012. This is the most fun, most dynamic, most effervescent effort yet, and will be celebrated with a release party June 16th at Chicago's infamous Metro. Cobalt & the Hired Guns is gearing up for a solid Summer/Fall tour to support the release.

2010: Cobalt & the Hired Guns just finished playing two SOLD OUT tour dates w/ State Radio and Big D & the Kids Table (Metro - Chicago, IL 2/19 & Cat's Cradle - Carrboro, NC 2/25). They are working on a new album and have some exciting plans in the works for the rest 2010!

2008's Jump the Fence saw the band getting serious about art and environmentalism - the album was a carbon neutral project - but the new Double Single ("You Left Your Sweater" b/w "Of Summer") aims for the rafters with a one-two punch of rip-roaring cow punk!

Track #5 won the Ourstage.com $5000 grand prize in June of 2008!

The band will be on tour this winter 2010 with State Radio and Big D & the Kids Table!

FOR FANS OF: The Hold Steady, Old 97s, The Clash

"What do we know about these guys? I know that they ROCK! Yeah, it's a hit!" -The Brooklyn Paper

“[The Double Single is] seven minutes worth of neatly hoppin’ and harmonic country-tinged pop-rock fun. The lively tempos and jumpin’ beats keep things peppy and rousing while the robust vocals and snappy playing are both up to speed.” –The Jersey Beat
“[Jump the Fence is] a smooth-jumpin’ blast of pure straight-up cookin’ basic rock’n’roll, this album goes down easy with a good deal of flair and spark to spare. There’s no dreaded pretense or needless flashy razzle-dazzle to speak of. Instead we have neatly vibrant and melodic meat-and-potatoes rock that gets right down to snazzy brass tacks with admirable economy and tunefulness. The pleasant vocals, clean and crisp arrangements, and proficient playing keep things bubbling along throughout. A solid and worthwhile album.” –The Jersey Beat

"They remind me of a band that would be playing at a party in a movie that is more fun than a party that would happen in real life" -Mike Raspatello of Kingtello Productions

"If you’re looking for a cool twist to Americana music, SouthSide recommends checking out Cobalt & the Hired Guns at their next show." -SouthSide of the Town, Fearless Radio Blog

"If you're into ska or punk-tinged rock music, you'll appreciate the high energy of this band. -UR Chicago Magazine

SUMMER 2009 U.S. TOUR:

March 31 – Duke University w/ Dashboard Confessional – Durham, NC
July 9 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
July 10 - Pittsburgh, PA - Club Cafe
July 11 - New York, NY - Arlene's Grocery
July 13 - Asbury Park, NJ - The Saint
July 14 - Stanton, CT - Seaside Tavern
July 15 - Philadelphia, PA - PubWebb
July 16 - Clementon, NJ - The Cherrywood
July 17 - Washington, DC - Velvet Lounge
July 18 - Cambridge, MA - The Middle East
July 19 - Northampton, MA - The Elevens
July 21 - Baltimore, MD - 8x10
July 23 - Washington, DC - The Girl Cave
July 24 - Philadelphia, PA - The Fire
July 25 - Brooklyn, NY - Union Hall
August 12 - Chicago, IL - Schuba's
August 13 - Des Moines, IA - Vaudeville Mew