Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Show review: Mayor Daley, Bad Drugs at the Empty Bottle 9/19

By Andrew Hertzberg

Bad Drugs (Photo Credit: John Yingling)
To say Bay Area post punks High Castle were the tamest band of the evening Monday, while although not entirely untrue, certainly would give a false impression. The three piece kicked off the final night of PermanentRecords weekend long five year anniversary party with a free show at the Empty Bottle. The songs were quick and to the point, the noisy and dissonant point, and surprisingly dynamic guitar playing. Little if any time was spared between songs, just as little if any of the trio’s collective vocal chords were unscraped by the end of the set. 

I first saw Mayor Daley only a couple weeks ago in a sweaty Pilsen basement. It was loud. And sweaty. But definitely loud. The Bottle was a lot less sweaty. But definitely loud. But really, just the right level. Behind the chaos and dissonance, there are melodies to be found, and actually, hooks that could rival more conventional pop bands. They don’t make it easy on you to find them, but avant-garde music never is. They played only two songs with the set still clocking in at nearly half an hour. I had thought the China cymbal a thing of nu-metal past, but Mayor Daley make full use of it. Although their realm is more in the prog-metal stance, a la Tool, but sludgier and with more haunting (and female) vocals. A real treat before they played was Thax Douglas walking up on stage to do a reading, a band he regretted never having read for before he left Chicago. Check it on his Myspace blog here.   

Here’s a little personal background: I used to study acoustics at Columbia College. In this concentration, I took numerous courses on the biology and psychology of our ears as well as hearing conservation. So not only would I be pissing off a few professors for not wearing ear plugs at a show to begin with, but wow would they be pissed if they knew I wasn’t wearing plugs at a Bad Drugs show. Mayor Daley was loud, that was for sure, but it wasn’t the full on aural assault of Bad Drugs. I mean, there was a dude in the front row, plugging his ears with his fingers, but withstanding it and banging his head along. Now that’s dedication. Musically, the melodic hardcore reminded me of early Glassjaw, but a lot a lot a lot more cacophraucous (= cacophonous + raucous). Just really goddamn loud. If you don’t believe me, Gonzo Chicago has the hookup from their set as well as Mayor Daley’s right over here. Peep these photos they took too below. And drop by Perm Rex (1914 W. Chicago) sometime to wish ‘em a happy fifth.

Mayor Daley
Bad Drugs
Liz from Permanent Records


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