Daniel Villarreal and Vivian McConnell of Valebol
Photo by Gryphon Halley

The Roadhouse Magazine crew hit the ground at Thalia Hall this past Friday for a very special night at Thalia Hall. Valebol, a Chicago based iconic express-pop duo consisting of Vivian McConnell and Daniel Villarreal, was set to perform their long awaited debut album on stage.

If you haven’t already heard of Valebol, you need to. They are a self-described translingual express-pop duo originating from Chicago with drummer Daniel Villarreal (Dos Santos) and multi-instrumentalist Vivian McConnell (V.V. Lightbody) on vocals. They have been quickly taking the local Chicago music scene by storm with their bubbly and eccentric lyricism and killer drum solos. As soon as Vivian breaks out the flute, you know something magical is about to happen.

Upon arrival, Justin and I immediately made our way backstage to meet Valebol. We ended up taking a few killer shots of the duo and just chatting and catching up. While we were all getting ready for the evening, Justin and I ended up meeting the opener, country singer Elizabeth Moen who was set to take the stage in just a few moments. On a whim, I ended up taking a few quick shots of her before the set. After spending some time backstage with the crew, Valebol was set to take the stage and Justin and I hurried off to figure out where we would be going next.

Making our way back into the main area of Thalia Hall, we were fascinated to see that the stage was set up in the center of Thalia Hall unlike any other performance we’ve ever seen there. Typically, they’re on the stage in the far back behind the photo pit. As the crowd intimately gathered around the stage waiting for the Valebol duo to make their appearance, chatter and laughter filled the air as everybody got settled in for the performance. We would be lying if those around us weren’t celebrating with the iconic Chicago Handshake to start the show – a shot of Malört chased with a good ol’ Old Style.

First up on stage for the night was Chicago based singer-songwriter Elizabeth Moen. She instantly captivated the audience with her raw and powerful lyricism and blues inspired guitar. Elizabeth Moens performance consisted of many untitled songs that have yet to be released, so if you’re looking for a new artist to keep on your radar, this is your sign to check her out. You can find her on Instagram here.

Next up for the evening was Carlile, another Chicago based musician who has their own special place at Thalia Hall as they also happen to work there. Alt-pop artist Carlile set the stage with a few hand picked beats from their upcoming album ‘Human Human.’ Bright and airy vocals paired with electronic riffs electrified the air as Carlile hyped the audience with each song and the audience loved it, you can tell Carlile put a lot of love and passion into their upcoming album and they left us with an ache of wanting to hear the full thing. Carliles’ album releases on August 30, 2024 so make sure to mark your calendars.

Finally, after much awaited anticipation Valebol set the stage. At this point in the evening, everyone was nestled around comfortably surrounding the stage. Folks were dancing with their eyes closed and their arms up, truly taking in all of the music the evening has already had to offer. They played songs from their debut album such as “Breakup Sushi” and my personal favorite, “Netuchepa!” in which they had everybody swaying around the stage and shouting “Netupchepa!” appropriately along with the song. Vivian and Daniel truly know how to host a powerful and intimate performance that brings the entire audience together as one. At one point Vivian even brought out her iconic home grown limes which were of course auctioned off to the highest bidder at the end of the show.

As the show concluded, it was filled with flower bouquets and even cake for those who cared to partake. It was honestly such a warm and comforting site to behold. So many people came out to support not only Valebol, but Elizabeth Moen and Carlile as well. It was as if the artists and audience were in that brief moment, united in a show that would be remembered for years to come. I could feel the love and passion from everybody involved in the release of Valebols debut album.

If you’ve missed Valebols’ performance at Thalia Hall, don’t worry, you can find a list of their upcoming tour dates here.

Valebol, Carlile, and Elizabeth Moen on stage at Thalia Hall
Photo by Justin Sheehan
About author

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Gryphon Halley is one of the many hands of Roadhouse Magazine. From building the website, photographing concerts, recording live sessions, he does it all. Gryphon holds a BA from Southern New Hampshire University, as well as a MA from The Savannah College of Art and Design. In debt? Yes. Can he make cool shit? Also yes.
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