On my way to the Rose Bowl to see Official Claire, a singer/songwriter out of Chicago, I pulled up her Spotify and listened to her newest release, You Underestimate Me. A scroll through her Instagram had given me the impression that maybe she had a punk sound, so when the opening bars played I was a bit surprised to hear a mesh of rock and roll grit with dreamy ambiance and vocals.
I walked into a respectable smattering of people at booths and tables as the band finished setting up. Claire’s Gibson ES-175D was on its stand in the corner, a beautiful natural finish instrument that she plays adeptly. Claire was dressed in an oversized t-shirt dress with a long mane of dark curly hair falling to her waist. Her band members, LeRoy Bach on bass, Seth Banek on drums, and Brooks Palmer on guitar, were set a ways back from Claire and grouped closely together. It was fun to watch them communicate on stage, you can tell they enjoy playing together.
Claire opened with “Barbed Wire,” a slow melodic song that shows off her sultry voice. Her second song, “Thin Memory Lines” was more upbeat and had a little more of a funk flavor. Bach brought the groove with a solo that seemed to combine classic rock, funk, and jazz. By the third song, the crowd had grown larger and everyone was paying attention. “Small Package” had an almost country swing to it and it seemed to be one of the crowd favorites of the night.
“Break Up Floor” was another song the crowd seemed to really enjoy, it had a galloping pace and the guitar sound was unusual in the best way possible.
By the end of the set, the crowd was enthralled with Claire’s gossamer voice and her easy way of speaking to the crowd. They tried ending their set with cries of “One more!” and gave us “Who You’re Talking To”, a song that showed off more of her range and had a harder edge.
It’s difficult to describe Claire’s unique sound. If I were to try to describe it, I’d say it’s like if Billie Eilish, Frankie Cosmos, and The Hangovers had a musical baby. That would be her sound. It’s a style that appeals across genres and generations. I have been listening to her on repeat and so has my twelve-year-old daughter.
You can find her music on all major streaming services and follow her on Instagram to stay up to date on her performances.