AURORA – Earlier this month, Minneapolis band Good Morning Bedlam released the song "Enough."
The band wrote the song as an anthem to let people, all people, know that they are loved, and that they are enough because they are human. Although it was written before the death of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers, it has taken on new meaning since his death.
Good Morning Bedlam will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, June 12, as part of the fourth annual Blues and Roots Festival, sponsored by R.C. Wegman Construction Company. The two-day festival will be livestreamed from The Venue's Facebook page at facebook.com/TheVenueAurora.
Ticket purchase and donations for the event can be made at The Venue's website, themusicvenue.org. Proceeds from the shows directly benefit the performing artists and the Fox Valley Music Foundation, which operates The Venue in Aurora.
The Blues and Roots livestream lineup on Friday includes Dawson Hollow at 7 p.m. followed by Good Morning Bedlam at 8 p.m. The Saturday livestream will be opened by Bill Grady at 8 p.m., and headlined by legendary Chicago bluesman John Primer.
Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf talked to Good Morning Bedlam frontman Isaak Gill Elker about the upcoming show. The interview has been edited for length and style.
Eric Schelkopf: Of course, you just released the song "Enough." In light of George Floyd's death, do you think what you are trying to convey in the song has changed at all?
Isaak Gill Elker: What we were always trying to convey is that you are loved and you are enough. And right now, there's a specific group of people that are saying they're not heard and not loved.
Schelkopf: Last year, you had a lot of great things happen to you. In June of 2019, the band ended its first full touring year of 200-plus shows by winning first place at the John Hartford Memorial Festival Band Competition. Do you consider Good Morning Bedlam to be a band that really loves to be out in front of an audience, and do you derive a lot of your energy from being out in front of an audience?
Elker: We are definitely a performance-based band. We are really high energy and we're really wild performers.
And so it has been very different for us to not be playing shows. It's really weird that halfway through June, we haven't been at any festivals.
We're really taking the time to keep writing and seeing our families and sleeping in our own beds and living normal human lives for a little bit. There are always positives that you can take from a situation like that.
Schelkopf: What's been the biggest challenge in doing these livestreamed shows? Is it not being able to see your audience?
Elker: That can be difficult on some nights. You can't feed off the audience's energy in the same way.
One of the positives is that it really opens us up to try some new stuff. For the show on Friday, we're going to do some stuff that you wouldn't see on our normal livestream. It's not going to be our normal set.
So we're really excited about that. If we were on tour right now, we would not have time to craft an extra special set for a show like this.
We're putting together a really unique set where each of us will take a song from when we first started learning music or something that inspired us when we were first learning to play guitar or fiddle or bass.
We're also going to be premiering at least one new song during the show.
Schelkopf: Furious folk has been a way to describe your music. Do you think that is an accurate way to describe the band's music?
Elker: It definitely is. Fans started posting that online and then people started saying it, so we kind of adopted it.
We're definitely a high-energy folk band.
Schelkopf: I understand Dawson Hollow have become one of your favorite bands to play with.
Elker: Yes. They're really good friends of ours.
It won't be as fun as playing in person with another band. But sharing any bill with them is always fun for us.
Schelkopf: Of course, your wife is in Good Morning Bedlam as well. What is it like having your wife being in the band with you?
Elker: It's awesome. I would not have it any other way.
We love working together. It's so much fun to work with somebody that you know so well.