Saturday was most likely the day you stayed in, as sheets of snow/ice/rain accumulated on the streets and sidewalks. I decided to do some Xmas shopping and then attend an amazing lineup of midwest garage punk. I feared that I would be one of the only few to brave the weather, shocked by a conversation with a Myopic Books clerk who assured me that, not only would it be crowded but, in 5 years I would have serious bragging rights. He was right on the former and we will see about the latter.
Doors opened a touch late but after about 20 minutes there was already a decent crowd. The Bold Ones took the stage and set the pace for the night. Fast and a bit dirty but with a bounce that got the crowd going. Before the end of the first I had a grin from ear-to-ear, easily forgetting how cold and crappy it was outside. Listen to the only song they have on their MySpace called “Screwin’ Around” for a taste. They promise some kind of release soon.
Next up was Johnny and the Limelights dressed in semi-matching pink 70’s prom tuxedo’s, save for the bass player who wore a sleek black dress. They sang songs about summer and kissing and pizza parties. They asked us if we knew what 69 means. More dancing was done and a pizza was passed around, literally. It was great fun. I recognized the guitarist and was informed that he was also in M.O.T.O
Third of four and I was still ready for it. The Busy Signals took the stage and continued with the aforementioned full throttle rock. This time lead by a woman, Ana, who spitted out lyrics while backed by a tight fervor of guitars/bass/drums. What this band lacked in fun they certainly made up for in fierceness and intent. As quickly as they took the stage they left, leaving a little but dust in their wake.
Finally, although I was nowhere near exhausted (far from it actually), King Khan & BBQ show took the stage. Having been uninitiated to this band, I was expecting more than 2 people. Wrong! King Khan also has a band called King Khan & the Shrines, while BBQ Show is Mark Sultan, who has a solo record. King Khan wore a black wig that was braided and decorated with pretty barrettes and ribbons, while wearing a low cut dress and necklaces. BBQ Show had a turban on and sat in front of a sole kickdrum while playing a rather small guitar. Their set was psychedelic and entrancing with an element of surf rock thrown into the mix. For 2 people, they created as much noise as all the previous bands. King Khan interacted with the audience, asking for participation and cursing the side that was just standing there. The crowd really got into this set, pushing and bouncing joyously.
There wasn’t a down set the whole night and the crowd knew it would be this was in advance. That is why they braved the weather to practically (almost definitely) sell out the night. This is the “other” Chicago scene I wish I could see more of (another one being the city’s terrific jazz players) but there simply isn’t enough time in the week…