Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Indian Summer Live: 2 Shows in 1 Article

Felipe M

We end the 2010 Concert Calendar with two shows that were attended in Septermber and October. The first show was held at the small, but always rockin' Reggie's Rock Club. The second show was at the relatively massive Congress Theatre for the fall punk rock celebration known as Riot Fest 2010. Enjoy the recap:

September 4, 2010--Reggie's Rock Club:

Devon and I went to this show for my third helping of A Wilhelm Scream at this venue (for the set list, click here). The first band that we caught was local band The Sky We Scrape. They were pretty good and I made it a point to check out more of their music as the year went on, but it has not come to fruition. Next up is hometown heroes Counterpunch (pictured) who have been around for the last 5 years or so and famous for their song "Mr. Right" (at the 1:45 mark): "I'm not Mr. Right/But I'll settle for Mr. Right now." Counterpunch reminds me of a lot of pop-punk bands, both liked and disliked. The lead singer sounds like he is the reserve vocalist for Panic! at the Disco or Fall Out Boy and that they should at the very least be opening up for Punchline (who would in turn, open up for Fall Out Boy). I never got too deep into this band, but the intentions are there and listening to what seemed to be their newer songs live, it sounds like the band who display the most influences are catching on to the tech-punk movement that has been popularized by Propagandhi and the band they are opening up for, A Wilhelm Scream. I'm very curious to hear what the rest of their music sounds like.

The band of the hour, is A Wilhelm Scream (pictured below) as they have hit gold on every full length release. They are an awesome band and need to be experienced live. Their sometimes crass, but catchy lyrics, intense and precise musicianship, and overall punk rock, DIY aesthetic is highly infectious and inspiring--they've basically rewritten the punk rock rulebook and you can't help but root for them. The selft-titled EP has been such a hit, that it was almost disappointing to see songs such as "Congratulations," "Kursk," and "We Built This City on Debt and Booze" not be played live to make room for the new songs, but even more disappointing was not hearing two of my favorite songs live from the EP: "Every Great Story Has a Shower Scene" (the chorus is great, but the first lines of verse 1 and 2 are the stuff of legends: "Traveling in space like a cosmonaut/Requesting signals or just singaling stop/... The record of my time/Plays better in rewind") and The Song That Never Ends-like "Fun Time." I would think that a song about drinking, singing along, and having an overall good time would've been highly appropriate at this show. However, overall, it was a solid show--not the best A Whilhelm Scream show, but good nonetheless.

October 8, 2010--RiotFest, Congress Theatre:

RIOTFEST 2010 kicked off with Devon, Ricardo, and me with punk rock favorites, The Bouncing Souls. Think of all your favorite Bouncing Souls songs and most likely they'd played it that night, including fan favorites "That Song" and "Private Radio." The first thing that was noticeable was lead singer, Greg Attonito, was moving awkwardly on stage. At first one would think that this was an act, however, Attonito during the set did disclose that he was on stage with a broken toe and was taking lots of pain meds to just be able to stand on stage. It's no wonder that the punk rock vocalist looked 10-15 years older than he really was on stage, however that didn't stop him from dancing on stage, making his way to the mosh pit to sing close to the fans, and his unmistakble voice booming all over the cavernous Congress Theatre. It was my first time seeing them live and will definitely look forward to seeing them again. Probably the best band of the night if it weren't for the headliners.

This night had everything, including the blast from the past known as the Circle Jerks. The only thing I knew about this band is that Bad Religion guitarist, Greg Hetson used to be on this band. Other than that, I didn't know much about them. So I looked them up on Wikipedia--while they played on stage. The lead singer sounded like Fat Mike's (from NOFX) father. Plus he sounded very familiar. Sure enough, it was Keith Morris, Black Flag's original singer. I wasn't too impressed with the band. I love hardcore, but I after listening to them for 15 minutes, I can see why many people who grew up during that time in '80s always mention that the scene had sort of died out by the 1985-86. I guess had I grown up during that time, I would appreciate this band more, but that's just it--this band was great for its time. Or maybe I listened to the wrong 80s punk/hardcore bands, but I can't help that I like the Dead Kennedys more than Circle Jerks.

I love The Lawrence Arms and the one thing that I hated was the fact that they would only be on stage for 30 minutes. However, Brendan Kelly (pictured), bassist, said it best when he did state the fact that they would only be on for 30 minutes, but "that's what punk rock is all about." Kelly, as mentioned before on this blog, is a co-host of JBTV and one could see why he is a vital part of that show as he is to the punk rock community. Kelly is known for his verbal disapproval of the Warped Tour and his (just) assessment that it is ruining the very foundation that punk rock has built over the last few decades or so in terms of the Do-It-Yourself ethos the genre is famously known for and the small rock venues that the genre has used to introduce newer bands that go on tour with more established acts across the country. However you want to take it, Kelly has become one of the genre's more outspoken figures. He also started his band's set by introducing his band mates as "my two best friends, Chris and Neil." Kelly is the man! The thing I didn't like was I don't think they played any music from their Apathy and Exhaustion album which I have quickly fallen in love with, but instead, their set was mostly compiled by another great album of theirs Oh! Calucutta!: "The Devil's Taking Names," "Recovering the Opposable Thumb," and finishing their set with "Are You There Margaret? It's me God."

And finally, the Friday installment of Riot Fest 2010 at the Congress Theatre was finished off by the best punk rock band around, Bad Religion. They started the set with "Do What You Want" and never looked back until they finished their set, in a pleasantly predictable fashion, with "Sorrow." They also played "Wrong Way Kids" from their new album The Dissent of Man and after hearing that song, I was sold and went and bought the album that same weekend. The new album has been a pleasant surprise and is full of great songs including the very catchy "I Won't Say Anything" which might be one of the creepiest songs from this band's long list of tracks. Before 2010, the last time I saw Bad Religion perform live was back in 2007 on the heels of releasing New Dark Ages and have been waiting with great anticipation for them to come back to Chicago. Fast forward to last year and to see them three times in one year has been great, and their stop at Riot Fest was easily their best performance. They performed 24 songs and spanned the band's entire discography. "Man With a Mission" (which is quickly becoming one of my favorites), "Generator," "Los Angeles is Burning"--this band couldn't do any wrong. This show had everything: great opening acts, a wild crowd, a great set list by all bands involved, and is easily a top contender for 2010 Concert of the Year.

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