The diverse crowd that filled Chicago’s House of Blues to listen to a new indie band seemed timid at first, but a familiar nod of the head and the tap of the foot soon gave way.
They came to see FreeThinker, a group of passionate, funky St. Louis natives who took to the stage for an April performance. The band caught the audience’s attention, opening the show with the groovy first few notes of “Sex Pants” off their most recent album Better Late Than Never.
FreeThinker continued on with deep blues and soft purple lighting helping to showcase their smooth Motown-tinged sound.
“FreeThinker mainly started as a cover band for artists like the Strokes and the Beatles, but it has evolved,” said Claire Dobbs, the group’s manager.
As a new band on the music scene, Dobbs said the group’s momentum is definitely building, comparing their evolving sound to fellow indie artists Cage the Elephant and Courtney Barnett. “One thing that has stayed the same about FreeThinker is our passionate fan base. We are so lucky to have fans that continuously come out and show their support.”
FreeThinker began in 2011 with original members Molly Giessing, Shane Perry and Cody Diehl. By 2013, Matt Norman and Michael Coburn joined the band, with Dobbs coming on board as their manager. Shortly after lead vocalist Perry left, Giessing took over lead duties while new member Chris Murphy joined the band.
Dobbs described them as an indie rock band with Motown influences, displaying emotion and passion while on stage, jamming and singing as if they’re back in the basement of their parent’s house again.
The band has four shows planned in St. Louis this summer and are working on a Midwestern tour. They’ve just started work on a new album and plan to have it recorded within the next year. “It’ll be the best quality yet,” Giessing said.
FreeThinker’s fans are equally enthusiastic about the band.
“The way the whole band works together to come up with killer lyrics and beats is just so interesting,” said Lauren Radecki, a fan and friend of the band. “With fans, they’re so down to earth and can hangout with them, even though they’re slowly blowing up.”
Being a new band, however, creates challenges, Dobbs added.
“Managing a band is always an adventure,” she said. “There’s no two tasks that are alike, whether its planning a tour, passing out CDs on the street, or making sure the band combed their hair this morning–it definitely keeps me busy. I love these guys and I believe they have what it takes, so I just want to keep putting them out there.”
Freethinker, Dobbs added, are humble, excited and dedicated individuals that strive on music and finding common grounds. They’re a young band that shows an interesting old ’90s sound and showcase everything they have to offer while on stage.
“You have to stay fluid. If people don’t want to pay for music, it’s free,” Dobbs said. “The main thing is adapting and never quitting. We keep trying to create what we believe in and play it for people. So far it seems to be working.”