My first warning arrived a couple of weeks ago after receiving a copy of Hallelujah Sirens, the latest release from Brooklyn’s Dirty on Purpose. After several listens, I found myself trying to decide whether I even liked this album or not. Better yet, did I even remember the album? I determined I had absolutely no opinion on the matter. So when I learned the band was coming to town, I decided to see if their live performance would kick me off the fence in some direction.
Forward to Friday, the day of the show. I decided to check online to confirm a start time for the show. As I perused the Beat Kitchen website I found the band was oddly absent from names playing the venue that night. It was only after making a phone call that I learned they would be in the opening slot for the early show, which meant a 7pm start time. I don’t know who I was kidding, I am lucky if I am waking from a nap at 7pm on a Friday, let alone ready to go to a “rock” show.
After a late start for the show, a delayed ‘El’ and some severe miscalculating on the CTA website regarding the best route to the Beat Kitchen (I refuse to believe the distance I walked was .8 of a mile.), I arrived to the show a solid 20 minutes after the scheduled start. Under normal circumstances arriving to a show at 7:20pm would be quite ambitious, but tonight it was late. The absurdity of this fact should really not go overlooked. In my time I have endured many concert irrationalities, but for some reason this latest incident really stuck with me. (In fact, it may only be outdone by the 3 hour wait time Guns n’ roses used to willingly impose upon its fans during their “Use Your Illusion” tour.)
So I entered the back room of the Beat Kitchen to see a room about 1/3 full, including the standard 20 feet of no man’s land between the opening band and the crowd. I ordered a beer and stationed myself up towards the front. What ensued can best be described as uninspiring. I found the live show I was watching elicited the same response for me as the album: indifference. At times the band did seem fairly polished. There were moments were it seemed to come together, but it became increasingly difficult to care. In defense, I should say this was not entirely the fault of the band. The audience was non-existent, other than some intermittent clapping in between songs, but even that seemed labored. With the exception of the lead guitarist (who was really the only sign of life in that room), the band didn’t really look like they cared to be there any more than the crowd. We all collectively decided to simply go through the motions.
Finally, the set came to an end. I could have called it a night right there. I even could have made it over to Subterranean in time to catch DeVotchKa. However, the masochist in me decided to stick around for the next band. Within minutes, I realized my error in staying. I didn’t know anything about the early show headliners, Say Hi to Your Mom. Although, I can say with a certain amount of confidence their music may not be best suited for live performance. They had even less charisma than their openers. I took a look around me and actually saw some people yawning. It wasn’t even 9pm. I decided that I had seen enough and it was time to go salvage was left of the night.
I would like to mention again, the audience and the time of show were chiefly responsible for the dullness of the evening. With that said, I am utterly convinced that is this very type of indie rock show that led RFC’s own Chief Indie Rock Correspondent to declare “I hate indie rock shows.” It all became clear to me. This show was enough to turn anyone jaded towards the whole genre.