Waukegan’s Family Reunion helps shape Chicago’s young indie-pop and hip-hop communities | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Waukegan’s Family Reunion helps shape Chicago’s young indie-pop and hip-hop communities 

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click to enlarge Family Reunion

Family Reunion

Joseph Mendes

Singer-songwriter Jackie Carlson, who records and performs as Family Reunion, isn’t one of those image-conscious Chicago indie musicians who tries to hide the fact that she grew up in the north suburbs. “Where I’m actually from, Waukegan, doesn’t really have a music scene,” she told music blog Born Loser last year. “I love playing in Chicago and all of the people I have been able to meet at these shows. It’s an amazing community.” Carlson contributes to the local scene as part of a new wave of musicians who weave together indie-pop and hip-hop; she’s collaborated with rappers such as Ric Wilson (on ABC talk show Windy City Live) and Adot and often appears on bills that cross stylistic boundaries (in May, for example, she played Hoist Fest, which also featured R&B artist Jordanna, rapper-singer Rich Jones, and indie rocker Uma Bloo). Carlson treats genres like toppings at a self-serve Froyo bar; she sprinkles unhurried R&B guitar, ethereal vocal harmonies, and loosely swinging hip-hop percussion over her dreamy electronics-based sound without compromising its balance of flavors. On the recent single “See You,” she sings a blunt romantic plea in a quivering voice atop a squealing G-funk synth and languid, skeletal percussion, a left-field combination that manages to sound heartfelt. After finishing high school at 17, Carlson planned to study jazz vocals at the University of Illinois at Chicago, but instead of pursuing college, she’s been focusing on making music while juggling service jobs. This headlining set comes just days after she turns 20, so arrive ready to party along with her.   v

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