This April, you could find the members of Chicago's Company of Thieves asleep all over the seats in New York's Madison Square Garden, up until about 10 minutes before they performed during halftime at

This April, you could find the members of Chicago's Company of Thieves asleep all over the seats in New York's Madison Square Garden, up until about 10 minutes before they performed during halftime at a sporting event. "It was hilarious. It's very surreal being up on a Jumbotron. You should try it," quips frontwoman Genevieve Schatz, who co-writes Company of Thieves' songs with guitarist Marc Walloch.

The Garden opportunity came on the heels of the band's win at the 2007 New York Songwriters Circle songwriter competition, where Company of Thieves took home the crown for the track "Oscar Wilde." On the strength of that song, plus several others from the band's May 2007 debut, "Ordinary Riches," the group may want to prepare for a long stay in the spotlight—or Jumbotron, as it were.

Engineered by Sean O'Keefe (Fall Out Boy, the Hush Sound), the set places Schatz's sexy and idiosyncratic alto front and center. The guitar lines are simple, though they can meander from sparse indie rock to out-and-out blues riffs. Tracks have made their way onto Chicago's triple A WXRT and alternative WKQX, plus some college radio spins and the Fearless Radio podcast.

Schatz and Walloch met through a mutual friend on a train ride originating at Union Station. By the end of their journey, they had decided two things: Mondays suck, and they should try to write together. Every Monday they'd convene and hash out tracks together, eventually adding drummer Mike Ortiz, who had coincidentally quit his former band the day before meeting Schatz.

Since, the group has supported acts as diverse as Jack's Mannequin, Sara Bareilles, Teddy Geiger and Bloodshot artist Ha Ha Tonka. "We are very adaptive and really like variety. Playing as openers, we get to spread our wings as a versatile band, from being really intimate to being a funky and soulful rock show," Schatz says. The group will open for Polyphonic Spree at Summerfest June 29 in Milwaukee and is already in the midst of a national tour, booked with help from Matt Mentele at Events Resources Presents. It hit South by Southwest this year for the first time.

"Being a woman, I have been given a lot of respect, for making rock music and songs. I'm not up onstage in some skanky-ass outfit, and I make it a point for people to hear my lyrics," Schatz says. "When I was in a punk band, girls would never talk to me after the show. But now, when everybody sees a strong woman dancing and singing onstage, I'm glad that they think this is awesome."

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