Summer is upon us my friends! It officially began on June 5th as the first truly rockin' concert of the season rolled into the windy city. The concert was not only the first of the season but it could be argued that this might be the best of the Summer bunch. The Hives, fresh off their new deal with Warner Brothers, came armed with enough music reps to fill the place themsleves for this sold out show(half of the balcony was roped off to accomodate people who probably only know one of two of their songs). Luckily, they decided to let some fans in as well.
The show Kicked off with New York rockers The Mooney Suzuki. The group quickly won over the crowd with their mind-numbing garage rock. Even though 90% of the crowd were unfamiliar with the band, they were clapping along by the end of the 30 minute set. Playing songs off their new album "Electric Sweat", The Mooney Suzuki were both energetic and charismatic with the guitarist doing his best Wayne Kramer impression while lead singer Sammy James Jr. presided over his newly formed congregation. If you have not picked up The Mooney Suzuki's new release, I suggest that you stop reading now and go get it!
A very special treat was up next for us as The New Bomb Turks took the stage. After being dropped by the almighty Epitaph Records, the Turks have been somewhat scarce from the touring scene, only choosing to play one-off shows here and there whenever they can get away from their Cleveland hideout. This show happened to be one of only three performances that the Turks are doing with this tour. Playing for a long time in the style that has since made bands like The Hives, White Stripes, and the Strokes famous, New Bomb Turks delivered the best performance of the night. I know that most people will not agree with that statement, but the New Bomb Turks are punk and they do not apologize for or candy-coat it. In true Turks fashion, the band chose to stay away from the songs on their Epitaph releases in favor of their earlier, more punk, tunes in a blistering 45 minute set. This is a big gamble for the band, as there were a ton of industry people in the audience and I do not believe they have secured a new label. The crowd, which was made up of a young 17 and under crowd and their parents, did not get the Turks smartass, tongue-in-cheek antics and only politely clapped after ever song. The crowd's true feelings about the band came out later in the night when the Hives' mention of them brought out a chorus of boos. The singer did not help matters much by pissing off the majority of the front row, including a group of overwhelmed little girls who were very giddy about the fact that this was their first concert. Security also had their hands full as the singer was constantly trying to pull people on stage. The highlight of the set came at the end when the Turks had a section of the crowd sitting on the floor (he was trying to get the whole crowd to do it but the concept was way over their heads) only to erupt into a bombastic flurry of punk aggression to send this fan home happy. Four guys holding English degrees from Ohio U. can be punk rock!!!
You could tell The Hives were up next as the parents came down to do one last final check that their children were ok. Even though I bust on these people every time I see them, deep down inside I wish my parents would of had the balls to take me to see the Misfits or the Ramones when I was younger. Keeping the kids away from Nu-metal is always good (Also might want to keep the kids away from R. Kelly too).
The Hives took the stage and kicked major ass! Armed with the pseudo-smugness that they had when I saw them 6 months ago opening for T(I)NC, The Hives delivered an hour of unrelenting music and banter that left the crowd content. As I watched parents and music reps dance and shake with glee, I felt tears well up in my eyes. But the music conquers all my friends and The Hives have not changed their style or the delivery of it. It was ultra-cool of them to pick A.K.A. I-D-I-O-T for the closer as a lot of people did not know it. This newly-found fame couldn't have happened to a better band.
Well, it was the best of times it was the blurst of times. Sorry to go on so long but I wanted to capture the moment the best I could. As I was leaving the show, promotional lackeys handed me a handful of stickers and a video containing videos of the Hives and the aforementioned T(I)NC. I'm no mathematician but, three rocking band performances, a video, and a handful of stickers all for $10 (or two trips to Taco Bell) sounds like a pretty good deal to me. Subtract two Taco Bell meals from my menu and take into account all of the sweating I did at the show and I think we all can agree that my ass will thank me in the morning.