In The Pit- Pedro The Lion Performs “Control” and “Its Hard to Find A Friend” At Thalia Hall

Thalia Hall opened its doors, flooding its venue and dousing its stage with blue light for Seattle native indie rock band, Pedro the Lion; who played two of their albums in their entirety and featuring Special Guest, Perfume Genius


Antonio Llanos, Staff Writer

Chicago’s landmark venue Thalia Hall opened its doors and doused its stage with blue light for Seattle native, indie rock band, Pedro the Lion May 28. The band played two of their albums in their entirety, featuring special guest Perfume Genius for the second leg of their spring/summer tour. Six years into their return after a long hiatus, Pedro The Lion’s incorporation of fellow Seattle musician, Erik Walters, added another musical flavor to the well-established dynamic of the band.  

Erik Walters, Perfume Genius, helps support the band (Rachel Wagner)

The sound from the stage was blaring, emoting long audiological tendrils, invisibly sliding the audience to the stage. Walters’ voice was the perfect welcoming treat for incoming audiences as doors opened. The crowd acted with familiarity. Upon entrance into the venue, most of the audience tried to get as close to the stage as possible toward the main band member, David Bazan, who was on percussion for the first set. 

The band, vocally led by Walters, played four songs from his personal repertoire that set a somber mood, in contrast with the set to come, before taking a 15-minute interlude. When the band returned, Bazan, founding member, main lyricist and songwriter for the band, switched to bass and also took up vocal responsibilities for the remainder of the night. 

Band Pedro the Lion prepares for next song (Rachel Wagner)

The band performed their albums “Control” (released in 2002) and “It’s Hard To Find A Friend (released in 1998), celebrating both the 21st and 25th year anniversary of the release of both albums, later noted in a speech by Bazan. 

“We’re Playing these records “It’s Hard To Find a Friend” and “Control…I was 21 and 22 when I wrote most of “Friend” and I was 25 and 26 when I wrote “Control,” and, man, a lot has happened since then.”

Bazan further noted as discretion to the audience members, 

“It’s pretty strange to play everyone of these songs which we are pretty contracted to do at this point…But because of that, there are songs that uh, I didn’t understand misogyny back then, ya know what I’m saying, or the experience of all the women that I knew in this world…ya know “Minor Prophets and Their Prostitute Wives?” was just total abusive language, its religious language as well. I was in one abusive relationship and I passed that on to the listener in the form of that song. So if you feel bad because of It, I am so, terribly sorry and you should do whatever it is you need to take care of yourself.”

Drummer for Pedro the Lion, Terence Ankeny, performs for the crowd. (Rachel Wagner)

The performances of these albums were a testament to the overall concert experience. From the moment the band played the first song, the audience was entranced by the precision and knowledge of each note. Bazan and Walters established a combined dynamic in their performance to sync perfectly with touring drummer, Terence Ankeny. As the band progressed through the set, the audience responded with enthusiasm, erupting in cheers on the initiation of a classic from the album, like “Rapture” or “Progress,” praising the performance of the previous song. 

The setlist showcased Control, which was more commercially successful, allowing the band to gain more recognition and traction as artists. Bazan’s vocal articulation was that of a seasoned professional.  Composed of a more melancholic, lower octave range, Bazan stole the show, tying together songs from both albums and elevated the fluid nature to the set. Notably, the transitions from both “Promise” from “Its Hard to Find A Friend” and “Seamless” mirrored the original recording with precision.   

The night ended with the remainder of songs from “Its Hard To Find a Friend” and ”Control,” which allowed the show to flourish, not only with a resounding response from the audience, but with a triumphant performance of the set that left the audience more than satisfied.

Big thanks to Rob Wilcox of Polyvinyl Records for making this happen.