I know what you’re thinking…this show was a few days ago, that’s ancient history right? Well, this is true, and not having internet access for days can do that, but that still doesn’t take away from writing up a great show that the Abbey Pub put on this past Sunday evening. For a chilly night, the faithful fans stood outside in the cold took their places and held their heads high amongst the cold. At times it felt like being at a high school prom due to the majority of fans being no older than nineteen years of age. Regardless however, these people from all over the place including Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana and California flocked to the concert hall complete with marked X’s on their underage hands, vinyls in their arms and smiles on their faces.
After a while of sitting in the pub area listening to some of the locals perform old Irish drinking tunes, the bouncers opened up the hall for all the fans. Sadly, a good number of them were under eighteen and were asked to leave. I felt bad for them, to see their despair in their faces as they were not permitted to see the show. It was that “I’ve been there before” feeling deep down inside and yeah, I definitely saw that as a tough pill to swallow for some of these kids.
The show itself started right off the bat with a bang with Brooklyn, New York’s very own Black Gold opening with “Idols.” Frontman & keyboard player Eric Ronick sounded great on his keys and mid ranged alto vocals. Drummer Than Luu kept the thick beats behind him and the rest of the band followed in suit. Dashes of influences ranging from shoegazing, disco, classic rock and spaghetti western themes all came into place during the band’s thirty minute opening slot. With a rundown of all of their songs, Ronick took time to proclaim his love for Chicago and to thank the faithful house for coming out on such a cold, windy evening. With that the band launched into a hip-swaggering version of “Detroit” and never let up. Ronick then explained to the crowd that their debut album would be released in February of next year, but their current limited edition EP Picture Show, was available for the taking. With the final curtain call of the disco-infused driving closer “What You Did” the band got the Chicago crowd moving starting, rocking and stopping on a dime. For being an opening band, they certainly did a very tight and energetic performance. Could this be real? The word that summed up Black Gold’s performance was “tight” and for their hour in Chicago, they never sounded better.
After a lengthy intermission of tunings, light fixations and equipment swapping Portland, Oregon’s Jaguar Love took the stage and wasted no time making Chicago their electronic funhouse. Frontman Johnny Whitney graced the stage and howled into the microphone, electrifying the Chicago faithful. Guitarist Cody Volotato’s guitar sounded like a buzzsaw cutting through the grind and the rest of the band followed suit. Whitney’s manic antics on the stage throughout their first few numbers were nothing shot of awesome, but with the good came the bad. Someone in the crowd that decided to be the “big man on campus” yelled “You suck!” to the band, to which Whitney told him to “get the hell out!” This re-energized the Chicago crowd and got them back into the band’s set. However, to be honest, even though the band did do a pretty solid performance, Whitney’s vocal style divulged into repeated territory and began to wane after a while. The only criticism offered here was Whitney’s warbled vocals and incoherence onstage. While he was charming and had the power to back it up, talking to the crowd was not one of his strong points, and combined with his manic warbling, it just got old real quick.
After they ended their heavy shredded set with a literal bang (complete with dropping all of the microphones), there was another long intermission to which the headliners, Tokyo, Japan’s Polysics were to close the show. Unfortunately because the blue line here in Chicago doesn’t run too late, as it was getting late, I had to leave the show and catch the train. It’s a shame because they definitely have a great Devo-influenced sound going on. For the most part, definitely go check them out.
The Abbey Pub hands down is one of the best venues in Chicago. Black Gold and Jaguar Love did some solid sets, but both bands are young and starting out. They both have a long road ahead of them, but for now they’re doing pretty well and playing damn near solid.
Black Gold Setlist
Plans & Reveries
What You Did