Cobalt & the Hired Guns is a boot-stompin', tambourine-shakin', irresistibly genuine good time. Seamlessly blending upbeat genres from Americana to Ska, this dynamic four piece puts on a rambunctious show filled with sharp musicianship and emotion....
Cobalt & the Hired Guns is a boot-stompin', tambourine-shakin', irresistibly genuine good time. Seamlessly blending upbeat genres from Americana to Ska, this dynamic four piece puts on a rambunctious show filled with sharp musicianship and emotion. Cobalt & the Hired Guns is about love and guts, energy and enthusiasm - refusing to pretend they aren't having fun.
Their new record Jump the Fence, created at Chicago Recording Company with producer/engineer Brian Humphrey (State Radio, The Hives, Stephen Kellogg), is a fresh blend of dance-fueling vigor and introspective sentiment. Jump the Fence is also a carbon neutral album - all of the greenhouse gases associated with the recording, production, and direct promotion of the CD were offset via investments in wind energy.
Cobalt takes on shades of green on and off stage by Chicago Sun-Times 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...
Tuesday's the New Friday by Antioch College Record Last Tuesday night marked an evening when four sexy twenty-somethings filled the dance space with music and demanded dancing from the energetic audience. After a post show trip to Waffle House and...
Cobalt takes on shades of green on and off stage by Chicago Sun-Times 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.
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 10½ 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.
BY LAUREN WILLIAMSON
July 4, 2008
Tuesday's the New Friday by Antioch College Record Last Tuesday night marked an evening when four sexy twenty-somethings filled the dance space with music and demanded dancing from the energetic audience.
After a post show trip to Waffle House and staying up until five in the morning watching a movie, Cobalt & the Hired Guns would like to let the Antioch community know that they had a fabulous time at Antioch and they wished to tell the audience in attendance that "the dancing was good.
Cobalt & the Hired Guns Preview by The Chicago Flame Look forward to a high energy show from a band that gives their fans everything they have.