Lily McKown & Hayden Chance

In college, my favorite rock shows were blurry, buzzy, glorified keggers with three-dollar Solo cups, a rickety attic and a winning lineup of bands. By the end of the night, we were all playing together, the audience was onstage, and the bands were in the audience.

Singer/songwriter Lily McKown grew up not far from me in the Philadelphia suburbs (albeit 25 years later). She dropped her debut LP, “Backseat Driver” in 2020 after an abbreviated run at art school. Hers is a witty, winning brand of alternative rock that beautifully captures the malaise and misdirection of being twentysomething.

Hayden Chance, who’s performed as simply Chvnce since 2017, hails from Maryland’s Eastern Shore. His electronic-psychedelic rock is hand-crafted and fully realized – and it knocks me out: part War on Drugs, part Steely Dan, it’s lush, rhythmic, melodic stuff. 

Both have both graduated to national stages but are close enough to rock ‘n roll’s rickety attics and ratty basements to remember the stale smell of beer and sharp shock of an ungrounded microphone.

This week, we talk early instruments and influences, feeling “othered” in high school, song craft, and that moment when you know that you’ve arrived… somewhere.

I loved getting to know both of them a little better. And you will too – though maybe not nearly as much as you’ll love hearing them at this week’s big album release show at The Queen in Wilmington. There are still some tickets left which you can purchase here. I’ll also be returning to Rockwood Music Hall on Thursday, October 27 at 8pm for a free, solo show. 

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