Sneezy performed their new album at Elray’s Live and Dive

Friday night, Chicago Band Sneezy played at Elray’s Live and Dive to promote their new album “Open Doors.”


Matthew Hsieh

A shot of Elray’s Live and Dive neon sign taken from the roof of said establishment in Iowa City on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020.

Anaka Sanders, Arts Reporter

Members of Sneezy said their new album Open Doors is a rebirth for the band. Since the pandemic, the Chicago-based funk group has focused its energy into strengthening songwriting and creativity.

Sneezy cultivated the spirit of renewal by playing the 14 songs off its new, genre-bending album on the Elray’s Live and Dive stage Friday night.

Sneezy could be heard outside the venue as people waited in line for the energetic performers. The neon green and blue strobe lights that shone behind the band matched the glow on the members’ faces.

The audience in front of the stage were filled with sparkly dresses, couples slow dancing, spilled drinks, and plenty of head bobbing.

Lead singer Brett O’Connor described the band’s new album as more mature than its previous one, 440 W Cook.

“We realized that this is the most important thing for us, it wasn’t just like recording an album,” O’Connor said. “We all took more time than we ever have with the details.”

Along with singing all the songs from the new album, the band covered some popular pop hits, including “Juice” by Lizzo.

“We basically poured our entire heart and soul into this album,” said O’Connor. “It’s a lot more like pop, hip hop, and R&B focused than our other stuff.”

O’Connor had a way with getting the crowd involved during the show. He told everyone to let him see what they were drinking tonight. The crowd responded with cheers and drinks held up high.

The band then played its new single “Not Sorry,” to which both the audience and Sneezy were dancing like they were having the time of their lives.

“Not Sorry” is a feel-good song about being doubted by those around you and brushing it off. The smiles on the band members’ faces when they were performing showed just how excited they are to have their new album coming out this fall.

Sneezy fan Trevor Renado described how he was feeling about the show in one word — ecstatic. He said this was his third time seeing Sneezy live, and he has loved it every time.

Everyone on the main floor of Elray’s was up on their feet dancing by the end of the set. Groups mingled and laughed together. There was no worry of being alone on the dance floor, as you could see groups mingling and laughing together.

“I’ve never heard of Sneezy before, but I am having a great time!” said Jen Apitz after moving to the front of the crowd meeting a new friend.

“Have some good memories and create some new friendships and create a community through music,” O’Connor said when talking about what the band want to achieve during the tour experience.

Hoping to come back soon, O’Connor said that he wants the 12 a.m. slot next time because of “how cool would that be.” The audience roared in agreement with the possibility of Sneezy coming back to Iowa City.

After a massive round of applause and a finale performance, Sneezy had to give the stage away to the next performers.

“Thanks for having us, Sneezy achoo,” O’Connor said as the band made their exit.