Admiral Radley is a recently formed band consisting of 2 parts Grandaddy and 2 parts Earlimart. The group released its debut album in July and made a tour stop at Schubas on Friday night. The gig was initially scheduled at Lincoln Hall, but days before the venue was changed to the smaller Schubas.
Representing the Grandaddy faction on vocals/keyboards/guitar was Jason Lytle and on drums, Aaron Burtch (the bearded doppelgänger of Zack Galifianakis). The group played nearly every track from their record, highlighted by the Lytle led “I Heart California.” The Earlimart contingent was headed up by Aaron Espinoza who spent much of the night on bass/vocals and acting as ad hoc emcee along with Ariana Murray on keyboards/bass/vocals. Espinoza told of how their van broke down and they spent much of the day drinking in Baldwin, WI while the van (aka vanna white) was being repaired. I respect the band for their no-nonsense approach and thought the show brought the album to life well, augmented visually by dual film projectors beaming a host of images (largely landscape photos).
Perhaps the most euphoric song of the night was “Sunburn Kids” which name checks Chicago multiple times and Espinoza goaded the audience to go bananas. Coming into the night I was far more interested in the Grandaddy element and hearing Jason Lytle sing. I left feeling the same way, but was won over by the Espinoza led “Lonesome Co.” and “Chingas In The West,” although his tunes are a bit MOR.
Kicking off the encore was Jason Lytle’s “Everytime I’m With You” from the Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse Dark Night Of The Soul album. This was a real treat and made the show for me, although when the song was introduced as being a non-Admiral Radley song and attributed to Lytle, he said he thought the crowd was being led astray. So, in an era where the number of possible band reunions is dwindling I wouldn’t be one bit surprised to see Grandaddy playing at a future Pitchfork Music Fest.