Bug Séance, Present, and Amulet at Holocene 01.22.23

As far as local acts go, Bug Séance  is a fun band making big swings. The five piece group played a show at the Holocene with touring friends Present and solo artist Amulet, which was so lively and fun, it had energy more synonymous with a backyard hang than an indoor performance. With lots of new music to share, this show was a big ball of light shining in the post-solstace season.

The artist mononymously known as Amulet raised everyone’s heart rate with an industrial strength brand of electronic pop. Once everyone in the audience clocked the BPM of a maximalist burner like “hellokitty!” it was off to the races. Songs like “Safer Kept A Dream,” by the same token, have the beating heart core of an R&B jam pushed to its limits with chopped vocals, skittering beats and tons of dreamy reverb. 

Oakland grunge band Present were next in the lineup, kicking off their set with the song ‘New’ which opens their latest EP entitled I Want. Members of Bug Séance were in the audience dancing and singing the lyrics, cheering their friends on during their very first tour outside of California.

After Present’s second song “Face Down” wrapped up I couldn’t help but exclaim “SO GOOD” which rang out clearer in the crowd than I thought it would. JB, the guitar player of Present turned and gave an enthusiastic “Thank you!” And it’s true, it was so good. 

Bug Séance closed out the night with a collection of open hearted anthems, sometimes moving at breakneck speeds, other times expanding slowly like a heavy weather system. 

“Best Rapper” is a song that holds its driving tempo, building up until it could ostensibly fall apart in the most staggering way.

The members of Bug Séance are no strangers to an extremely online fan base and title songs like, “‘Real Emo’ only consists of the dc Emotional Hardcore scene and the late 90’s Screamo scene. What is known by “Midwest Emo” is nothing but Alternative Rock with questionable real emo influence​.​.​.” taken from the notorious music copy pasta. They have a song called “Mario Speedwagon” which is hands down one of my favorite song title puns in the last couple of years.

The onstage banter would tangent to the Dave Matthews Band, including the guitarist Pete admitting not knowing any Dave Matthews songs and the drummer Xochitl bringing up the Chicago River Incident (Google at your own peril, it’s a totally true, DISGUSTING story). 

Amidst so many goofs were some beautiful moments of earnestness. The song “November” shows a range of dynamics and warm tones set against nuanced readings of closeness and distance stretching out over what seems like ages.


If you enjoy feeling feelings I think this band might be for you.

Amulet can be found on Bandcamp xamuletx.bandcamp.com at and on Instagram @amulet.mcdownload.

Present can be found on Bandcamp at presentband.bandcamp.com and on Instagram @present_band

Bug Séance can be found on Bandcamp at bugseance.bandcamp.com and on Instagram @bugseance.

Illustration by BB Andersson