This Friday night was one of the most fun and interesting shows I’ve been to in a while. The previous night was Ben Folds, but this was a totally different feel to go from large show with seats to a smaller show and a more intimate crowd. It was time for the Red Hot Valentines and various other bands at the Eagle's Reception Hall in good 'ole Rock Island, IL. I definitely love smaller shows more. After some time of anticipating this show (since I had known about it from its conception) the arrival of it was finally upon us. But yes, it was excellent, or at least most of it.
First things first, Cusack. They were very good, a band from Rockford, and it seemed not many people had heard of them before (I hadn’t). They were very good from what I heard of them, I guess they were kinda emo-punk, but they were definitely better than many bands I have seen. But I believe someone said “with a name like Cusack, it has to be good” and I think they were right.
After that was Up to Code… hmm… well jumping from Cusack to up to code was interesting… Up to Code was a band from the Chicago suburbs, which was very obvious by their style of music. They were quite loved by some of the crowd, but they didn’t quite float my boat. Think of Up to Code as what you would think of any typical Chicago suburbs band, and you’ll have the sound of them right away. They were kind of a copy of The Dog and Everything. I think that maybe they should have been first, with Cusack second, but oh well.
Bluebottle was once again another shift in music styles. They call themselves “punk with horns”… so in most minds ska. They had a great sound, it was easy to tell they had experience and knew what they were doing. There was an immediate sound difference when it shifted from Up to Code to Bluebottle. It was quality. I personally really like Bluebottle. I had many people tell me how much they liked them after their set, and that “they were the best band there”. They played an excellent cover of Weezer’s “Say it Ain't So”. They are very good live and had a fun light show too, which is just added bonus points to their excellent show.
Spitalfield was next. And I had heard about them before from a friend, but I didn’t like the “Faster Crashes Harder” CD. So I expected nothing from them. But was I wrong, they were EXCELLENT. If you want to hear them, see them live. They put on a great show. So my opinion of them was changed completely. I really can’t wait until I get to see them again. They have been classified as emo, so think Braid or The Get Up Kids. They are going to be putting out a full length soon on Victory Records… so see them before they get too big. They are going to be the next big thing. I can’t wait for their new CD.
Now to the moment I was waiting for, The Red Hot Valentines. Yeah I love them, so obviously in this section you are going to get me gushing about them. But they were excellent. The floor was filled when they came on stage. It was awesome. It seemed like they quickly became the night’s favorite band. Everyone, including myself, was dancing around, enjoying the music. I think the large following of people surprised the band themselves. The most amazing part of the night though goes to this band, because at one point, the whole crowd was singing along to the a capella part in “Firecracker”. It seemed the band was just as amazed as I was. It was just AMAZING. I didn’t expect it either, that everyone would be so into them. They managed to play songs from all of their albums, including one of my favorites “Bring Back the Good Times” and a few songs off of their upcoming album that is to be released in the late spring/early summer. It was such a small and intimate show, but it was one of the most exciting. Watch out for their new full length coming out soon. I can promise it will be great.
After the Red Hot Valentines played, it seemed the place cleared out. They should have clearly been the headliner. But I can understand why the Dog and Everything was chosen as headliner, seeing as they have had lots of radio play in Chicago. The Dog and Everything did not impress me in the slightest. It was a very typical Chicago suburbs sound. While some of the crowed enjoyed it, it was obvious that they were already fans. I don’t think they gained anyone at this show. I was very disappointed, and only stayed for half of the set. I didn’t like them in the least.
Overall, the middle portion of this show rocked. Bluebottle, Spitalfield, and The Red Hot Valentines are definitely worth your time.