In Chicago, it’s the end of an era, albeit a rather small one. At the end of the month the Bottom Lounge will be torn down in order to expand the Belmont CTA stop. Though the Bottom Lounge only held punk rock shows for a little over two years, it made its way into the collective heart of the city. A new Bottom Lounge will open in February in the West Loop, but I will definitely miss this place. Though there are more shows to be played, tonight seemed like the unofficial closing party.
First up were the Matics from the south side of Chicago. They’re a tough band to describe, but imagine a cross between Hot Water Music and the more jammy elements of a live Fugazi show while never managing to lose any momentum. I highly recommend checking out their self-titled EP, which they prominently feature in their live shows. The Matics did a damn fine set but the crowd wasn’t having them. Several people took it upon themselves to heckle and the rest of the crowd’s reaction seemed a bit lax. The situation couldn’t dampen the mood of the band, however; it was vocalist Jim Mertz’s birthday and they were going to celebrate no matter what. Cheers!
Next up were Carbondale, Illinois’s the Copyrights, finishing up a short tour with the Methadones on this night. If the crowd wanted to heckle them, they weren’t going to get a chance. The Copyrights shot out one round of pop-punk after the next with the only break being four crashes of a cymbal. Their set whizzed by; before you could even get a comfortable spot, it seemed like, they were done, their twenty-five minutes gone. Just in case you didn’t figure it out, they excel in pop-punk reminiscent of the early nineties Lookout! sound. Another band to watch.
The Lawrence Arms were the special guests of the night, booked as the Larry Armstrongs. I figured word would’ve gotten out with such an obvious clue, but the club was nowhere near sold out. I’m sorry, but I just can’t get into this band no matter how much I’m supposed to love them. They’re just not my thing. What I can tell you is that they started off with the song that’s on Rock Against Bush: Volume whatever and played what seemed to be a bunch of new songs. Someone in the Punknews community (TenderBranson or OKSoda, I’m looking in your direction) has to have been there and been a Larry Arms fan so I encourage you to fill in the giant hole I left in the review.
The Methadones are somewhat of a Bottom Lounge house band. Six of the seven times I’ve seen them have been there. I can state this with absolutely no hyperbole: The Methadones are arguably the most fun live experience on earth. Living in Chicago, I’m lucky enough to get the opportunity to see them more than most, but this goes beyond simple numbers. I dare anyone to leave one of their shows without a smile on their face. To mark the occasion, they graduated to having intro music, Europe’s genre-defining “The Final Countdown.” Two horrendous minutes later, they launch into the one-two punch of “Say Goodbye to Your Generation” and “TV World.” The breakdown of the set went as follows: Nothing from Ill At Ease, six songs from Career Objective, and five from Not Economically Viable. But oh no, the fun doesn’t end there! It is a tradition for the band to give a mini-punk rock history lesson through the songs of Dan “Vapid” Schafer. The biggest reaction of the night came when the Sludgeworth classic “Someday” got a run-through. The chorus of “woooahs” easily overpowered the PA system. Not too long after, “Make Way” from the Riverdales was received with a similar reaction. They ended the set with a request of “Suddenly Cool,” which just so happens to be my favorite song that I had never heard them play before. Hot damn!
As I go back and proofread what I’ve written, I can’t help but feel that I’ve injected a bit too much of myself into this review. There’s almost no objectivity at all. You know what though? This wasn’t a night for objectivity. You could tell that no one was happy to have the Bottom Lounge close down, but we were going to have a damn good time sending it off. R.I.P. 3206 N. Wilton, you’ve done well.
- I’m About to Crack
- Say Goodbye to Your Generation
- Far Away
- TV World
- You Don’t Know Me Anymore
- Bored of Television
- Mess We Made
- Sorry to Keep You Waiting
- Transistor Radio
- Suddenly Cool
- Someday (Sludgeworth)
- Make Way (the Riverdales)