Last Friday night Wisconsonites and Chicago implants, Archie Powell & The Exports played their Skip Work CD release show at the Beat Kitchen. With their hipster mascot, a blissful sitting doe watching from the merch stand the four boys took to the stage with excited applause. From the start the front of the crowd started dancing and once they played, "Moving To The City" newcomers entered, clapping and snapping their fingers and bobbing their heads. The fourth song, "Do You Wanna Dance?", a Bobby Freeman cover transformed the back room at the Beat Kitchen into a scene straight out of Happy Days. If we were at a sock-hop at the diner Archie would make a great Richie Cunningham, Adam The Fonz, RJ Chachi and Ryan Potsie. (New video idea boys? I think so.)
Archie Powell & The Exports have an early Elvis Costello and The Attractions feel with a slight tinge of a Buddy Holly-esque sound found from Weezer. There was no shortness of air guitar or couples swinging each other around the dance floor. The band themselves emote extremely high energy that easily spreads to everyone in the room. Everything this pop/rock group is doing is right. Powell's lyrics are simple and relatable without being "emo", RJ Export (a recent recruit on the drums) keeps your body moving without missing a beat. Bass player Adam Export will have you jumping all around the stage with him and keyboardist Ryan Export with caps off this cohesive group with his swift finger movements.
The set was short and as the sweaty boys left the stage, they left the crowd chanting, "One. More. Song. One. More. Song." in unison. There was no time for a fresh, cold PBR to hit these boys lips, they pounced back on stage and played "Tastes Just Like A Milkshake" by M.O.T.O. As Powell crooned, "Come take a sip of my love...tastes just like a milkshake, baby." The feedback from the ladies was stentorious. Let's just leave it at that because I'm sure there are plenty of ladies out there who would eagerly await a sip of the Exports love.
Editor's note: While Katia hit AP&E's gig at The Beat Kitchen, astute Chicagoans may note that these pictures were clearly taken at Schubas! That's because lovely globetrotting editor in chief Amber Valentine snapped 'em last time the band played in town! She would have reviewed the show but quite frankly, she was too busy swilling whiskey and dancing until her feet bled.