What a night for live music in Chicago! I had three shows to choose from:
So I settled on going to see Mates Of State for the third time this year, and second in the lovely Abbey Pub. Kicking the show off was Boston band Victory At Sea. Fronted by a woman and incorporating liberal use of "moody" chords and piano, one could easily write off the band as a Denali soundalike. While I definitely got a big Engine Down/Denali vibe [both vocally and percussively - their drummer was as solid as a rock], I also felt the music had more depth to it, almost like a female-fronted Black Heart Procession, complete with electric violin. They're on tour now, check them out.
Up next was Mates Of State labelmates Saturday Looks Good To Me. They had also opened for the Mates at the Abbey back in May, but were significantly more... well, rock this time around. Frontman Fred Thomas was beating the pop music out of his guitar, as the girl who played tambourine did just that [and looked damn good doing it]. Their set included "Alcohol," "Meet Me By The Water," and other tracks off All Your Summer Songs as well as some new tracks that will be on a 3-song EP coming out this November on Polyvinyl. There was plenty of dancing going on in the front part of the crowd, and Thomas' introductions to songs were as witty as ever. Quality stuff.
The third act of the night was one I had never heard of before - Dehawney Troof. It was just one man, an iBook, and a drumset. I didn't know if this was his name or what, but apparently the guy also spends his time in XBXRX. So after he finishes setting up his sparse onstage equipment [and we all wonder just what the hell is going on], he re-emerges from the back room in a pink sleeveless t-shirt and multicolored Speedo.
Needless to say, this was going to fucking rock.
Dehawney Troof's set was slightly under 15 minutes. In that time he rapped multiple songs with his iBook backing him, with topics ranging from how much he hated cops, to how much he hated cops, to... well, how he wanted to gut cops like people gut fish. He then turned into motivational speaker in between these musical bursts, as well as jumping in the crowd to bust out some sick dance moves.
Basically, Dehawney Troof is a combination of the Locust, Andrew WK, and Har Mar Superstar. And I couldn't have enjoyed it any more.
So with the opening acts batting 3-for-3, it was time for Mates Of State to knock one out of the park, and that they did, with ease. by this point hundreds of people had crowded the Abbey to catch a glimpse of the organ-and-drums duo in action. Kicking things off with "Fluke" off their new Team Boo LP, the crowd began the dance party [at least up front where I was - the cooler-than-thous spent the even watching from the back or the balcony]. Immediately following that was "Everyone Needs An Editor" off their first full-length, and it was evident that the band was going to hit up every corner of their musical repertoire. Jason and Kori's harmonies were as golden as ever [even with some slight sound problems], and the crowd participated in no shortage of singalongs. The pair have spent the majority of the year on the road, it seems, so their set was pretty well honed and there was very little down time. On a sad note, my pleas for "Lower" went completely ignored [c'mon guys, I was standing right in front of you - at least acknowledge me and tell me to shut up so I don't keep yelling it!], but other than that, they pretty much played everything I wanted them to.
After closing their set with the subdued Team Boo closer "Separate The People," they left the stage for a brief time during which some moron hit the house lights. As people confusedly began to disperse, we stragglers started up the cheering and "one more song!" chants to attract the masses back to the stage and the Mates back on the stage. They did their now-traditional encore of "These Days" and "La'hov" and left us to take off into the night, revelling in the absolutely fantastic show experience we just had.
Oh yeah, one more thing - go Cubs!
MATES OF STATE'S SETLIST
Everyone Needs An Editor
Halves and Have-nots
Quit Doin' It
A Control Group
Begins [not sure what song this actually is, but this is how it was written on the setlist]
A Duel Will Settle This
Hoarding It For Home
Middle Is Gold
What I Could Stand For
Separate The People
* = on setlist, but not played