Yes, despite what we all might think, bands are able to get up and be at a venue before the noon. Also, it might be enlightening for people who attend shows in Chicago to know that bars do have windows which allow light to get in. Most of these things one usually assumes are not true due to the nature of rock shows, especially one of this caliber. Extra bonus, there were free donuts before the show!
First off, I have been finding it difficult to surmise exactly what the point of this review is. If you are not already a Shellac fan you are probably not going to be swayed now. With 4 albums out over the course of 13 years there are not what one would call prolific. However, they have managed to gather a rather rabid following with such few releases due the the painstaking amount of detail applied to each one. Albini & Weston being rather accomplished recording engineers, the sound of the records have further enhanced the songs as they do the recordings of many musicians varying from the well known to the more obscure. Tight guitar parts and locking bass and drums with intense and sometimes silly lyrics dominate their song structure.
The live show was not much different, only with stage banter and Q&A whenever Albini needed to tune (which was about 3 times during the 1.5hr set). They set up with Todd (drums) right at the front and center of the stage, all three equal distance from the crowd. It presented the clear equality of the three in terms of both skill and importance. It was rather impressive to witness them just as tight live as on recording, but still having fun. At one point in the set, toward the end of one song, they tried to end it by trying to throw each other off. At another time, Albini lifted his guitar to to his mouth to scream into the pickups. This required him to remove his guitar strap, which he wears around his waist, and contrasted the rather aggressive screaming with the delicate task of wrapping it back around him 3 or 4 times during about 2 minutes.
The Q&A sections had potential to be both humorous and revealing but instead were a bit obnoxious because of the crowd. Seems Shellac fans (atleast the ones that ask questions) are a bit pretentious, asking questions about football and Iron Maiden in some sort of funny ironic way. I am not good with song names and it seems neither is Bob, who has the only “master” setlist which is simply a listing of all the songs grouped by album, a kind of cookie jar they plucked the songs out of. Even though Shellacs’ music is by no means daytime like, it was fun to be in a bar during afternoon hours. That fun translated to the stage rather nicely.