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Street fest Taste of Randolph brings unparalleled rock music to the streets of Chicago

On Friday at Q101 presented street festival Taste of Randolph, a crowd convened at golden hour to see a rising Chicago favorite, the indie rock band Friko. Comprised of Niko Kapetan (vocals/guitar) and Bailey Minzenberger (drums), they released their first album, “Where We’ve Been, Where We Go From Here” with ATO Records in February and held their album release show at Metro. They’ll play Lollapalooza in August and head out on tour in support of Royal Otis in the fall.

Kapetan hewed close to the mic, singing with raw tenderness, his movements primarily vertical with some back-and-forth leaning. Minzenberger stayed rocking out on drums in the back, with the exception of some sitting down guitar for one song. The duo was joined on stage by friend David Fuller playing bass with gangly enthusiasm, jumping frantically at times, pacing back and forth with knees splaying outward. Friko covered a song by The Cure.

Then came the highly anticipated headliners of the night, Canadian rock band The Beaches, who have been on the road with their most recent album, “Blame My Ex.” The band just finished up opening for Girl In Red and played Bonnaroo the next day (with guitarist Kylie Miller recently ordained to marry people).

Jordan Miller (vocals/bass) took center stage, flanked by Kylie Miller (guitar) and Leandra Earl (guitarist/fan-anointed ”lesbian of the year”), with Eliza Enman-McDaniel on drums, all wearing black. The group had a surprisingly chill stage presence in contrast to their upbeat, tongue-in-cheek bops. “Cause I’d rather be dead than with 99% of all men,” sang Jordan Miller during “Me & Me” as she swayed. Throughout the performance, Leandra Earl was the most dynamic as she stepped back and forth, facing Enman-McDaniel, swapping places with Kylie Miller, fronting for the crowd, doing spins. The band performed their new song, “Takes One to Know One,” for the first time. The “one,” in this situation is not a complimentary descriptor. 

While it was clear there were some devoted fans present for both sets, many were clearly in West Loop for the food, drink, and vibes. Perhaps they found a new band to watch out for while they were at it—Friko and The Beaches are both great picks.

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