The Casting Out / Pullman Strike - live in Chicago (Cover Artwork)

The Casting Out / Pullman Strike

live in Chicago (2009)

live show

Having missed them their previous time out with Strike Anywhere and the Bouncing Souls, I thought I should make a point to catch the Casting Out. I was excited when I found out a few weeks ago that they would be gracing Chicago with their presence. Unfortunately, the show was very late on a Sunday. However, this seemed to matter nothing to any of the bands that night.

First up was the band Thrillage. Made up of members of Spitalfield and Dialogue, they seemed to be a relatively new band, especially in bringing out a song they wrote a week prior. Their experience in other bands came through, though, as they managed to put on a great show. They had a very strong Midwest punk rock influence in their sound. I would best describe it as a combination of Alkaline Trio and the Get Up Kids. For a three-piece, they functioned very well and really brought the house down. The vocalist/guitarist has such a powerful voice and he managed to make it resonate throughout the entire room. A majority of their songs were composed of bass and drum verse structures, but this allowed the guitarist to really give his all into his singing. This band definitely caught my attention and I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.

Up next was another group of Chicago musicians, Penthouse Sweets. Initially, I wasn't overly impressed with them, especially when they started off and had to restart their first song. It was funny, nonetheless. As the show progressed, their sound grew on me as I was pulled in by catchy hooks and a zealous keyboard player. Truth be told, he was the highlight of their set. I've never seen anyone really put as much effort into making keyboard playing exciting as this man. He was lifting the keyboard up playing it sideways or he would wave his stool around with one hand and play with the other. He also served as their tambourine player and I was privileged to some of the finest tambourine playing I've ever seen. Most people just move and shake to the beat -- this man ran laps around the floor. He was climbing on the bass drum and bouncing off just about anything he could. I never really appreciated the caliber quality tambourine playing can bring to a set until then.

Third for the night was Pullman Strike. This show marked two years since the two guitarists got together and started making music. Apparently they've been through numerous incantations as a band and I was pleased to see the lot that was brought to me. Composed of two guitarists, a dummer, bassist, a female vocalist and a violin player, Pullman Strike brought new life into a stale rock scene. Their sound was best described as an eclectic combination of rock and country with punk undertones. I truly enjoyed watching them play, especially as they finally got the crowd moving with their cover of Jim Croce's "Cigarettes, Whiskey, and Wild, Wild Women." Their fiddle player was a rather talented fellow and gave the songs a nice bluesy/country feel that I feel the band would have suffered from a lack of otherwise.

Question: When you're in a band and there are only about 20 people left at the end of the night watching your set, what do you do? Well, if you're the Casting Out, you go balls out and give those 20 people an awesome show. The greatest thing I can say about seeing this band is that it is evident in their performance that they don't care how many people watch -- they just love to play. Given their energy on stage that night, there very well could have been 300 people in the crowd that night going as crazy as they were. Obviously, a band is able to feed off an audience, but these guys brought a passion for playing that is rarely seen in bands nowadays.

Given the very small crowd, only about two or three people (myself included) were familiar with the songs enough to sing along. Nathan actually mentioned how he appreciated a few people knowing the words because that way he could look at the lip-syncing and remember the words. Their banter in between songs was hilarious as they all did their best to pass the time between tunings. Nathan made several cracks at the drummer for pounding his bass drum to the point of needing a crate of bricks and a big ass cinderblock to keep it from escaping. Speaking of Nathan, this man was going apeshit on that stage. This is a wild man that clearly loves nothing more than being on stage screaming his heart out. The entire band demonstrated this love for their medium as they all truly gave their all to please the small, even dissipating crowd.

Set list:

  1. Liar
  2. Walk Away
  3. Lullaby
  4. These Alterations
  5. 9-1...and Wait
  6. I Feel Fine
  7. May I Have This Dance?
  8. Don't Forget to Breathe
  9. A Sort of Homecoming
  10. Just Pretending
  11. Quixote's Last Right
(Blurry) Pictures