Monday, November 29, 2010

Show review & photos: Gold Motel, Moneypenny, United Federation of Planets at Subterranean, 11/27

Posted by Frank

Gold Motel (photo: Windy City Rock)

Lately Gold Motel have been spending a lot of time away from home, playing their summery guitar-pop to West Coast crowds alongside the likes of fun. and Kate Nash. On Saturday, the quintet brought some sunshine back to chilly Chicago via a headlining set at Subterranean.

United Federation of Planets started the evening off with a brief set of energetic, straight-up pop-rock featuring catchy choruses and lots of guitar. On their MySpace site the band describe themselves as sounding something like "old Weezer meets old Jimmy Eat World meets Social Distortion," which is pretty much spot-on. At one point they mentioned that it was their first official show, which was a bit of a surprise considering how tight they sounded. I suspect we'll be hearing more from them.

Next up were Moneypenny, whose style was a noticeable departure from the other acts on the bill. Comprised of local DJ Chess Hubbard (a.k.a. DJ Mother Hubbard) and Jessica Gonyea (who was previously a member of Office) - as well as two other musicians who added beats and guitar - their sound focused on sexy, attitude-drenched electronica. Gonyea was a ball of energy and entertaining to watch, dancing around the stage and pouring an extra-large helping of personality into her vocal duties. Although somewhat removed from the kind of music most in the crowd likely showed up for, Moneypenny's set was a jolt of fun.

Finally, Gold Motel took the stage with singer/keyboardist Greta Morgan looking like an indie pop starlet in a flashy, sparkling dress and her bandmates decked out in dapper black. They started off with "We're on the Run," the opening track from their debut LP Summer House, and breezed through a set of 11 jaunty, hook-filled gems that rarely, if ever, passed the three-minute mark. The band played everything from the LP except for its slowest track, "Who Will I Be Tonight?" They also played both tracks off their new vinyl 7", Talking Fiction, set for release November 30. Greta explained that the 7" was supposed to be available early at the show, but the copies sadly didn't arrive on time. "Slow Emergency," the single's B-side, was a smooth tune that was a bit less bouncy and immediate than the typical Gold Motel song, but one that I'm definitely looking forward to hearing again. They saved the A-side, "Cold Shoulders," for the encore (we had to just pretend the band left and came back - Greta joked that it was too much of a risk to have to climb up and back down the stairs to SubT's stage). The track was instantly memorable, upbeat power-pop in the vein of classic Blondie, and featured one of their best melodies yet. The show was over in about 45 minutes, but it seemed like even less than that since the material was so much fun. A few more songs would have definitely been welcomed, but then again, there's nothing wrong with great pop music doing what it is supposed to do - leave you wanting more. Hopefully there will plenty more Gold Motel to come.

Gold Motel setlist:
1. We're on the Run
2. Make Me Stay
3. Stealing the Moonlight
4. Summer House
5. Slow Emergency
6. Don't Send the Searchlights
7. The Cruel One
8. Fireworks After Midnight
9. Safe in L.A.
10. Perfect in My Mind
11. Cold Shoulders
Show photos:
Gold Motel (photo: Windy City Rock)
Gold Motel (photo: Windy City Rock)
Gold Motel (photo: Windy City Rock)
Gold Motel (photo: Windy City Rock)
Moneypenny (photo: Windy City Rock)
United Federation of Planets (photo: Windy City Rock)

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