Chicago’s The Island of Misfit Toys have existed since 2010, growing and evolving every year since. The band now is comprised of nine members(!), and even has an insanely specific stage plot planned for their next round of live shows. After four years of work, the band finally released their second LP I Made You Something in mid-2015. Grounded by frontman Anthony Sanders, they have been touring almost nonstop since the release, bringing their anthemic, orchestral magnum opus to life across the country.
To put the music in a simpler context, imagine if there was an emo-influenced musical on Broadway, and you have The Island Of Misfit Toys. It’s pretty awesome. Check out I Made You Something — which the band will be carrying the brand-new vinyl repressing of on tour — below.
The Island of Misfit Toys is a band that is just as comfortable playing basements as they are playing headline slots, and this March, the nine-piece will experience the best of both worlds as they embark on a Southern-bound journey to spend the week playing slots at the annual South By Southwest festival. Throughout the festival, they will be debuting brand new material, and hope to have less of a “[financial] earning, and more of a restoration,” Sanders told me via email. “We’ve been together for 6 3/4 years, and while we are far from depleted or exhausted, we have also seen a lot. Towards the tail end of last year, [Florida’s punk-oriented] Fest gave us this fun ‘first time’ feeling. It was a wild community, with wild shows, and irreplaceable singalongs. We want to chase that as much as we can, and I’m of the earnest belief that being around people in Austin might fill that hole that’s been gaping since Fest ended. Dramatic terms, but honest ones.”
Joining The Island Of Misfit Toys for the ride to SXSW are fellow Chicagoans Ratboys, who spent the summer of 2016 touring Pinegrove, as well as Slighshot Dakota, who released their latest album Break on Topshelf Records in 2016. Mother Evergreen will join them for their sets during the festival, and also for a few dates on their way back toward Chicago. Sanders had nothing but positive things to say about the bands he is set to tour with, noting:
Slingshot Dakota have been inspirational since their inception. Making poppy music with a punk heart is a really brave thing to do in the face of constant unchecked aggression. They not only write awesome songs, but Carly is dead serious about diversity in the music scene, which is huge. Ratboys are local heroes and longtime friends. I’d like to think we’re all in it together, you know? We’ve toured together, and even on separate tours, somehow end up playing with each other all the time. Their songwriting is untouchable, and they lyrically know how to pull some tricks. Mother Evergreen I have a bit of a bias; Evan, Danny, and Kenna [members of Misfit Toys] are in that band as well. But their album is…remarkable, and touching on sonic territory none of our peers are touching. So excited to tour together for the first of hopefully several times.
All of these bands are on track to blow up in the coming year; check out the upcoming tour dates below so you can say “I saw them before they were big.”
03/09 Columbus, OH @ The Summit*
03/10 Bloomington, IN @ Amy’s Winehouse*
03/11 Nashville, TN @ Cafe Coco*
03/12 Memphis, TN @ Murphy’s**
03/13 Fort Worth, TX @ Hemphill**
03/14 Austin, TX @ SXSW**
03/15 Austin, TX @ SXSW**
03/16 Austin, TX @ SXSW**
03/17 Austin, TX @ SXSW**
03/18 Denton, TX @ Gatsby’s Mansion**
03/20 Wichita, KS @ Barleycorn’s
03/21 Omaha, NE @ Milk Run
03/22 Kansas City, MO @ Second Base
03/23 Iowa City, IA @ Trumpet Blossom
03/24 Beloit, WI @ Cough’s Haus
* = with Slingshot Dakota and Ratboys
** = with Mother Evergreen