Mallrat and Gnash at The Bottom Lounge give you an evening at the spa


Mallrat (Elif Geris/WGN Radio)

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Bottom Lounge lit up Saturday night with acts Mallrat and Guardin as appetizers to its youthful audience before big-time-California-guy rapper Gnash. Mallrat shakes the stage with an undeniably cute smile, an infrequent dip as her main dance move throughout and beats catchy and clubby, spun by a DJ named Denim.

Mallrat (Elif Geris/WGN Radio)

Acoustics rang crystal clear in the intimate Bottom Lounge, with certain synthesized notes highlighting themselves once in awhile. Mallrat, whose family probably prefers to know her as Grace Shaw, is an Australian 20-year-old who allows her creativity to do the talking through what could almost be spoken word and cool pants.

Simple is better.

Mallrat told NME of obvious fan-favorite, “Uninvited,” that it’s about the fact that “I kind of just wanna stay home and chill, and like, have a cup of tea” rather than be surrounded by people who feign interest for the sake of…well…who really knows.

Ironically, Shaw refers to “Uninvited” as the party jam, hence why she chose to end her short set with it. That was when we started to see her excited and moving about the stage.

From Mallrat on, this show was as relatable as ever. Everyone has a corner within their souls that just wants to stay at home when everyone else is out drinking, sip tea instead and exert their energies into something more meaningful. Self-care was a common theme Saturday.

Mallrat (Elif Geris/WGN Radio)

After Mallrat exited stage right through a dense set of sparkling streamers, the audience was warmed up enough for Gnash, an inspired and genuine LA boy. His motto is to bring together “lonely hearts,” in a place “Where the lonely, make the lonely, feel less lonely.” That’s nice, given the amount of snow Mother Nature decided to dump on Saturday to accompany the brutal cold.

Garrett Nash leads Gnash with whimsical, youthful vocals. And, he leads his set with a promise that his audience will leave the venue feeling better than they did when they arrived. One of his obvious goals is to bring his audience together, make people appreciate one another. He ad-libbed one song with mention of “the best friend you came with” and I hugged mine.

An understated bass line takes listeners through a Gnash performance that’s all about encouragement and self-acceptance. “Pajamas” is a prime example of that; it’s a song about preferring to stay in one’s jammies. The behavior, which connotes lying around, doing nothing important in the house ought to be celebrated, not stigmatized! And that Gnash does – in a performance set.

What’s interesting about this show is the mere fact that it exemplifies how people like Gnash and Mallrat have chosen to lament about their passions, of staying in, of losing their minds. They do so to a live audience who is open to that, and who will sell the show out for it.

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