The Scene

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Company of Thieves steals Blue Fugue crowd Friday night

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Vocalist Genevieve Schatz was virtually in the crowd at the Blue Fugue with guitarist Mark Walloch Friday night.

Vocalist Genevieve Schatz warms up the crowd with some call-and-response at the Blue Fugue with guitarist Mark Walloch Friday night.

When Genevieve Schatz sang out the notes of the songs that have rocketed this Chicago-based band to even Gossip Girl fame, they filled the Blue Fugue as though the space were silent. Which was far from reality, of course, what with the sounds of mugs of beer clinking, groups of people chattering and the constant inundation of more Bluebird Festival-goers from the frigid air outside.

But Schatz and her bandmates didn’t appear to let this or the world outside the smoky, wood-paneled neon-lit darkness of the Fugue into the intimate, yelled conversation they were having with the crowd.

“Go on!” yelled Schatz, bobbing her head into the microphone as guitarist Mark Walloch and percussionist Mike Ortiz strummed and drummed their beats through the walls of the building, spilling onto Ninth Street. “Go on, go on, go on!”

To which the audience replied with arms and fists thrust in the air in time to the songs, breaking away from any conversation, any drink, any distraction to yell back at the band.

Genevieve Schatz, Mark Walloch and Mike Ortiz of Chicago entered the scene with catchy singles like Oscar Wilde.

Genevieve Schatz, Mark Walloch and Mike Ortiz of Chicago entered the scene with catchy singles like "Oscar Wilde."

While there was still room to move around inside the Fugue, there was an almost comforting feeling about having people surrounding you with a foot or two to spare. When everyone else around you is loving the music and cheering on the artists so genuinely, there’s little else to do besides throw your own hands up and bob with everyone else.

Company of Thieves left to cheers for more after their 45 minute set. I didn’t see Mike Kendrick or John Henry and the Engine (although they received a warm welcome by Schatz), but I didn’t have to be a chilly 40 degrees again when the band left me with a feeling of rowdy fun that refused to shake off even as I followed a mob out the door.

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