Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Show review: Bare Mutants, Tiger Bones at Empty Bottle, 5/2

Posted by Andrew Hertzberg

Seriously, these supergroups are going to need supergroup-villains to combat soon enough. And if he’s got a part in all of them, does that make Jered Gummere a superman? The mythological Übermensch?

The Bottle filled up quite a bit for the free Monday night unveiling of Bare Mutants, headed by the now in-too-many-bands-to-pick-just-one Mr. Gummere, backed with members from the 1900s, Mannequin Men and one of Derek Nelson’s musicians. All these bands have their specific sounds, none of them akin to what the Mutants created. No post-punk or affecting indie-pop swoons here. Rather, think of the hazy, repetitive, percussive driven groove of early Velvet Underground (but with less cacophony) with the pop sensibilities of the later Velvet Underground / early Lou Reed. Guitar and vocals were heavy on the reverb; the 1900s’ Jeanine O'Toole shared singing duties along with keeping pace with a shimmering tambourine. It was easy to get lost in the semi-psychedelic trance of it all, aided visually by excessive fog. “I can honestly say this is the best show we’ve ever played,” quipped Jered. Let’s hope it’s not the last.
To those that were there and left before Tiger Bones, I have to ask: why? I was pretty confused when a decent portion of the crowd left. Their loss, I guess. A brief interval between bands and we were back to the music, with a much, much different energy. The four piece locals offer a post-punk meets surf rock dance force. It’s hard not to think of Gang of Four or Joy Division (especially with the entire set lit in deep blue) when they played, but they pull off the odd mixture of ominous and fractured sounds really well, appropriate to the band name. At times also reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand’s dancey tracks, these guys don’t actually sound like they’re trying to be as British as these comparisons are making them out to be. Songs are short so best be on your toes when you see them. Unfortunately there was no Joy Division/Harry Nilsson mash-up, but they did play the rest of the recently released Go Over Here EP, closing out with lead single "Kill Them." Catch them again at the Viaduct Theater May 27th with BIGCOLOUR. And make sure to see them this time!

Warming up these two acts was Austin’s La Snacks with their brand of '90s minimal indie rock. Some crazy dancers (one knocking the mic out of the singer’s hand) did prompt a startled singer to comment that he really was in Chicago. You’re welcome back anytime, man.

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