Two brothers play indie-rock sound at Gabe's


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Christmas mornings were pretty loud growing up in the Wiitala household. The norm for children on Christmas morning was to race down the stairs, furiously shred any wrapping paper in sight, critically analyze the toy for five seconds, then rush a thank-you and retreat. But the Wiitala Brothers conjured MacGyver as adaptation skills for any gift they received.

"Christmases were amazing," Chris Wiitala said. "We'd make instruments out of anything. Any toy when I was little turned into a drum set until at one point, I finally got a Fraggle Rock drum set, and that's when it all began."

The Wiitala Brothers consists of Chris and Trevor Wiitala, who will play at 8 p.m. today at Gabe's, 330 E. Washington St., for a free, all-ages show.

Bouncing around between such Midwestern cities as Detroit and Chicago, the two brothers were surrounded by music growing up. The two reside in Chicago, and when the they aren't on the road, they work as festival coordinators for the Cornerstone Music Festival, one of the biggest music events in the country. Chris Wiitala recognizes how lucky he is to have has passion for music not only be his occupation but his main goal as well.

"I take it for granted a lot that my life is surrounded by music," he said. "While Trevor handles mostly with the production stages, I do most of the website updating. Our boss is really good to us, and he lets us take time off for touring because he played in a band for years, so he understands what we're going through and supports us. It's nice that both my job and passions are intertwined."

Current Loyola student and Chicago resident Louie Constantinou recently became a fan of the Wiitala Brothers after catching one of the band's sets in Chicago last week. He was surprised to see how the two were able to incorporate technology in their music, as well as maintaining straightforward rock 'n' roll.

"They were great at blending their recorded tracks on their laptops along with the live sound of guitars and vocals," Constantinou said. "They got a poppy indie-rock kind of sound that was really heavy on catchy melodies, and I liked that."

While the pressure of balancing music and their careers is inevitable, touring has always been import for the Wiitala Brothers.

"We often wonder if we're doing the right thing," Chris Wiitala said. "But it comes down to a matter of that we just want to play music, and it's not about money. We book tours to cities that are around family and friends, so it's almost like an excuse to see all of them. It's pretty convenient."

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