Monday, January 17, 2011

Tomorrow Never Knows 2011: Pet Lions, Generationals, Magic Kids at Schubas

Posted by Andrew

And we’re off! Welcome to another year of Tomorrow Never Knows presented by Schubas and Lincoln Hall. For the first night of the multi-venue winter festival, I went to Schubas to catch a night of pop-goodness featuring three bands, each with their own twist to the genre.

Opening were Pet Lions, a local band we've written about quite a bit on the site before. Their angular brand of power-pop continually appears on up-and-coming lists, but apparently you all haven’t got the word yet. With a recent bump from Chicagoist and a new record on the way, hopefully 2011 means the year these guys break out of the bands to watch for lists and into the best of lists. Stream their debut LP Houses right now and get physical with it March 1st.

Generationals (Photo Credit: Roper Fuentes)
Next up was an expanded lineup of the N’awlins duo Generationals. “Exterior Street Date” kicked things off with its Austin/Boston confusion and Thin Lizzy riffs. The crowd was treated with a brass section consisting of members of local circus-punks Mucca Pazza, whom apparently only played under the condition of being able to watch episodes of "Frasier" between songs. And about halfway through the set, I finally understood the name Generationals: from girl-group doo-wop to '80s Cure throwback and Elephant 6 weirdness, these guys seamlessly weave every decade of modern pop music into a kaleidoscope of audible geometrics. The hooks are plentiful throughout debut Con Law and intermediary Trust EP and the songs they previewed from the new album sound like plenty more of the same to be expected. Make sure to get Actor Caster when it drops March 29 (Park the Van) and bring yer’ dancing shoes for the next time they’re in town.

Magic Kids (Photo Credit: Roper Fuentes)
I was actually entirely unfamiliar with the headliner, six-piece Memphis act Magic Kids. Despite part of the crowd leaving after Generationals, said Kids didn’t stop the poptacular evening. And I gotta say, that was a lot more energy than I expected from a band with a drummer that had windchimes at dead center of his kit. The collective subscribed to the philosophy of hit ‘em hard and hit ‘em quick. Songs were stopping on a dime about two minutes in, where most bands would throw in a bridge or extended chorus. They said what they needed to say and cut through the bullshit. Debut album and hometown spouting Memphis clocks in at 29 minutes with 11 songs. Musically, consider if Girls traded the west coast beach for an Appalachian dive bar. Frontman Bennett Foster evokes Elvis Costello with his baritone and Morrissey with his dramatic movement. Crowd favorite "Hey Boy" showcased the male/female vocals of the band at their best. The set went by swimmingly until a broken string in their penultimate song and a cable that didn’t want to cooperate with the microphone in the closer. Overall, it was a blast of high energy from a great group that didn’t allow the few blemishes to completely deteriorate the evening. Definitely make sure to catch the magic when they open for Cults at the Empty Bottle April 7th.


Also check out:
TNK 2011: Lia Ices, Generationals, Frankie Rose and the Outs at Lincoln Hall


  1. Third time I've seen Generationals, but the first with horns, and it really makes a difference, especially on "Nobody Could Change Your Mind". Best set I've seen them perform so far. I just wish they had played "These Habits", because that's another song where horns make a real difference.

    Missed Magic Kids to head over the LH for Helio Sequence, but I really like what I've heard from them.

  2. We've read so much about the Magic Kids in the past few months. We'll have to check them out at Empty Bottle in April. Would have been quite interesting to watch the Generationals watch Frasier too. They sound like a pretty eclectic band.