Thursday, October 14, 2010

Show review: forgetters, 97-SHIKI, Canadian Rifle at Subterranean, 10/12

Posted by Frank

photo: Windy City Rock
The opportunity to see influential punk rock singer/guitarist Blake Schwarzenbach play live doesn't come about often. Since his days fronting Jawbreaker and Jets to Brazil ended in the early '00s, Schwarzenbach hasn't been known for either frequent performances or long-lasting musical projects. His last band - The Thorns of Life -  for example, formed in 2008 and had already disbanded by the end of the following year. So when his new band, forgetters, announced an October Midwest tour that included a Chicago stop last night at Subterranean, fans jumped at the chance to come out and hear what the new project is all about.

Two locally-based acts opened the night. Three-piece Canadian Rifle came on first and played a short set of straightforward punk rock. The vocals inched a little too close to doom metal-ish growling for my personal taste, but the band sounded tight and got the blood pumping.

Next up were 97-SHIKI, who played a few other shows with forgetters on the tour. It's not often I can mention a band as sounding original since by now pretty much everything's been done before in the world of rock and roll, but this band sounded pretty damn original. It's hard to describe what they had going on, but picture this: angular, avant-garde punk, spastic singing, funky bass and some occasional trumpet. I don't know how that sounds on paper, but in person the band's set was highly entertaining departure from the same old thing.

Considering that forgetters have so far only released a four-song 7", I wondered what direction their show would take and how long it would last. After taking the stage, the trio - Schwarzenbach, bassist Caroline Paquita and ex-Against Me! drummer Kevin Mahon - played a loud, rocking set that was about an hour-long and consisted of a few songs off the introductory release and mostly new, yet-to-be released material. Two songs off the 7", "Vampire Lessons" and "The Night Accelerates," were highlights. Of the released songs, these best present the band's style: hard-hitting rock with a punk edge and a mind for hooks. Much of the unfamiliar material sounded just as promising, if not more. Schwarzenbach was pretty low-key and down-to-business, but he did seem to be in good spirits and made a few snarky jokes to the crowd. The audience was also a bit more subdued than might have been expected, but the fact that most of the material was new to everyone's ears and it felt about 90 degrees in the room probably had something to do with it. Hopefully forgetters will stick together long enough to record a full-length and return for another show so that fans can sing along next time.

1 comment:

  1. This was a great show. Looking forward to a full-length!