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Cheekface and yungatita: Indie rock at its quirkiest

Campy, quirky, stylish, charming — there are several milquetoast descriptors one could use while describing both indie rock bands Cheekface and yungatita. However, these adjectives would not do the music justice. 

"VZ screams their heart out."

On Sunday, May 5, 2024, Cheekface and yungatita performed at The Sanctuary in Hamtramck to a large crowd. The intimate venue houses 450 people (I fact I don’t believe,) and the crowd there was an odd mix of young adults — as well as children. This really surprised me, I did not pin Cheekface as a band that appealed to that young of a crowd. 

Nevertheless, I came into the concert relatively optimistic, it was my first time seeing Cheekface perform live, but in an interview I had with the band the following day, it was around their third headlining American tour. 

It was also one of my first times in the front row at a concert. I wanted the most authentic and upfront experience possible. 

Before I could have that though, I had to see how yungatita would perform. I have only heard a few songs from the band before, they were relatively inoffensive indie rock songs with somewhat of a power pop edge. However, what I was not prepared for, was how loud the lead vocalist, VZ, was. 

"Katz salutes the crowd."

At several points in the set, they were screaming. Not like, yelps or voice strains — but like genuine blood-curdling screams. It was awesome. 

VZ and the other guitarists, bassist and drummer, all played their hearts out. Lots of exaggerated and dramatic movement, but all of it seems necessary if they are going that hard. 

VZ’s inspiring performance, along with the rest of the band, got the crowd absolutely pumped for Cheekface’s upcoming set. After a few minutes to rest and to set up, the main performance went underway. 

One by one Cheekface came onto the stage. Echo, AJ, Mandy and Greg Katz himself. Once they got settled, the band immediately went into “Next to Me (Yo Guy Version)” off of “Too Much To Ask.”

Katz’s crowd interaction is definitely one of the best I’ve seen. He has a clear command over the tone and vibe of the room while on stage performing. Each deep-voiced call in the songs interlude, “Yo” followed by the emphatic crowd response “SHUT THE F*CK UP,” was absolutely hilarious. 

"Greg Katz and Mandy Tannen play."

Other songs like “Plastic,”  “I Only Say Sorry When I’m Wrong Now” and “‘Listen To Your Heart’ ‘No.,’” also had good crowd engagement. “I Am Continuing To Do My Thing,” was my favorite example of this, where Mandy instructed the crowd to move “left, right, left, right,” on the beat.  

Several stage shenanigans occurred during the show. Near the middle of the performance, on the track “Don’t Stop Believin’,” AJ, Echo and Mandy exited the stage so Katz could do a solo performance of the song — which was a really nice touch to cap off the halfway mark of the set. 

After, once everyone was back on stage, Cheekface brought out yungatita once again to wave flags in the air while they played. 

The rest of the set was a steady build towards the climax, “We Need A Bigger Dumpster” where the band sonically exploded, dynamic lead and backup vocals, additional percussion by AJ and a grooving, steady beat by Echo strongly led the band into the fast-paced last track, “Eternity Leaves.”

“Eternity” was a great closer to the set, a blistering yet sentimental track to finish off the night. 

AJ and Katz, back to back.

After Cheekface’s 20+ song set, they and yungatita stayed to meet fans, sign merch and mingle with the crowd. 

Overall, it was an incredibly fun and eventful night at The Sanctuary. The next day, Cheekface would come to WXOU’s office and studio in Auburn Hills where they participated in our sixth WXOU underground performance (out very soon on YouTube,) and an interview with me, Chelsea Bossert, (also out very soon on YouTube.) 

Be sure to tune in to 88.3 FM, WXOU in Auburn Hills, MI for more exciting music, news, and special performances like these. 



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