Funky post-punk art band Clickbait emerges with fervent fans


Courtesy of Sandra Yau

Clickbait posing for a photo after a show at the Empty Bottle in Ukranian Village. From left to right bassist Jen Lemasters, drummer Nick Mayor, lead vocalist Sandra Yau, and guitarist Kelsey Henke.

Jack Austin, Senior Staffer

Post-punk band Clickbait has garnered a loyal fan base since its inception several years ago. The band is known for energetic live performances, stylish and outlandish outfits, and its diversity. 

Nick Mayor, the band’s drummer, said he created the band name as a way to mock spam links and phishing operations. 

The band released the six song EP “Nashville Sessions” in 2022, and hopes to release their first album sometime before the end of this year. Band members also said they would like to coordinate a U.S. tour in conjunction with the LP’s release.

Music booker Citlally Fabela described the band as “playful” and “funky.” Fabela said they seek to promote underground bands in the Chicago area, particularly from underrepresented communities. 

“I wanted to give more space to especially Black and brown, (and) queer punk fans and (centered) that when I booked shows,” Fabela said. 

Fabela was previously in local bands Sad Dragon and Private Life, and said they love the punk community’s diversity –– especially relative to other music scenes. They also said punk encourages mutual aid and support.

Clickbait’s guitarist Kelsey Henke said that although she grew up as a music lover in Chicago, going to some shows felt unsafe for her as a woman.

Similarly, Sandra Yau, lead vocalist and auxiliary percussion player, said that spaces for punk shows often didn’t allow her to exist comfortably as a woman of color. Post-punk is different, she added. 

“Our fan base is more diverse. There’s more women, there’s more queer people, there’s more people of color taking up more space and I think that’s something that’s important to us, and so that’s why we’re so proud of our fan base,” bassist Jen Lemasters said. “There’s something about being at a show (where) you can possibly see yourself in these situations. I’m also proud to be someone who’s taking up space (as a woman of color).” 

Melissa Cher, a fan of the band, said she loves the band’s energy in its live performances, its diversity and the fact that it is fronted by women. 

There are not enough powerful women-fronted bands, Cher said. 

“I feel empowered (by Yau). A lot of the lyrics are emotions that she’s talking (about) and she has to get (them) out,” Cher said. “But the person doesn’t seem to be hearing her and I feel like I’ve been in that position so many times. So, it’s very relatable.”

Yau said she often writes from a personal perspective. She added that it can take courage to write from a place of vulnerability. 

Multiple members of the band stressed their desire to create safe spaces at their shows and in the larger post-punk community. 

“You have to create a space where it’s okay for women to be like, ‘this person’s being a creep to me’,” Henke said. “Part of it is representation. I think part of it is also (that) we book shows, with bands that we respect and we think that they bring good politics to the space.”

This genuine effort has not gone unnoticed by fans. Mayor said the band has noticed their following begin to grow with new faces popping up at shows, and some fans becoming regulars at their Chicago performances. 

Darien Sea, talent booker for the California Clipper, said he knew Clickbait would become one of his favorite bands after he heard them for the first time. Since then, Sea has booked the band several times. 

Sea said he appreciates the band’s “holistic approach” to creativity that creates engaging, exciting music. 

“It seems like there’s a lot of intention that goes into the music that they make, and all the lines flow together,” Sea said. “I was blown away the first moment I saw them.

Ashley Lemasters, Jen Lemasters’ sister, said her favorite memory of Clickbait was seeing them play at the Empty Bottle, when each member of the band was dressed as a fruit or vegetable. 

Sea, Cher and Lemasters said they all appreciated the band’s unique style and costumes on stage –– something that sets Clickbait apart from other bands. 

Clickbait often coordinates their outfits around a monochromatic color. The band crafts original costumes from thrifted material; Yau attended school for fashion design and works as a stylist. 

Henke said that the costumes influence her onstage persona. She added that the band’s energy emboldens her to dance and move around onstage, helping her relieve feelings of stage fright she’s experienced in other bands. 

Ashley Lemasters said that Clickbait draws from a wide variety of influences to create fun, upbeat music, which belies how deep and sad the lyrics tend to be. 

Musician Sharmon Jarmon, who recently became a Clickbait fan, compared the band to N.E.R.D, the 1999 hip-hop and rock band –– especially in their earlier days, when it was rock, alternative, and “in your face,” they said. Jarmon’s appreciation for Clickbait was instantaneous. 

“Instantly I was like, whoa, this group is going places and what I loved was the energy of course, with the sound,” Jarmon said. “The sound was unique. Their stage presence was unique.” 

Members of the band said they draw off the energy of the crowd and each other. 

The group said they felt a cohesion and high energy connection at a show at Berlin, a venue in Lakeview. Yau said she amplifies her offstage self to deliver good performances to fans. She added that she feels a palpable connection with the audience. 

“There’s definitely a reciprocated energy that comes between being in the band and people watching the band. Everybody in the room could feel it.” Yau said. “Their energy was resonating within my body.”

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Twitter: @JackAustinNews

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