Monday, November 28, 2011

Concert Review: Naked Raygun November 23, 2011 The Metro Chicago

Even though it's been some time since they played the Metro, it's nice to see that Naked Raygun can still pack em in. Even on Thanksgiving Eve! Normally people are either going out of town for the turkey holiday, or they have family coming in. Either way it didn't stop fans from flocking to the Metro for what was surely to be the last great gig of 2011. And what a bill it was! Naked Raygun, The Falcon, Dan Vapid & The Cheats and My Big Beautiful. How can you top THAT? The doors opened at 8pm sharp and fans packed the 1,100 capacity venue for our hometown hero's.

The show started at 9:00 with My Big Beautiful who played rocking versions of tunes from the bands album "The Way Things Are: The Soundtrack To My Life Vol.1" and displayed mad amounts of energy and musicianship. The crowd, who may have been new to MBB, seemed to enjoy the bands set of pop inspired punk rock. Singer/bassist Stev Walker pulled out all the stops while guitarist Steev Custer stalked the stage like a man possessed. Drummer Dan Bolton was a true powerhouse behind the kit bashing away like his life depended on it. They may have been the first opening band. But they played it like they were headlining.

Next up was Dan Vapid & the Cheats. Locals may remember Vapid as an integral part of some of Chicago's greatest punk bands like Screeching Weasel, Sludgeworth, The Riverdales and The Methadones. The band played songs going through Dan Vapid's entire career from "High School Psychopath" and "Someday" to "Crash Of The Moons" and "Say Goodbye To Your Generation". The band also tossed in new tracks like "Devo On Speed" to the delight of the audience . The band looked and sounded great all the way through the 30 minute set. Look out for The Cheats debut album coming in the new year.

The Falcon hit the stage at 10:30 and played 45 minutes of high octane punk rock. The band, which features members of The Lawrence Arms, Smoking Popes and The Alkaline Trio, ripped through songs like "Free The Monkey, Drown The Worm", "La-Z-Boy 500" and "The Angry Cry Of The Angry Pie" as well as a killer cover of the Misfits classic "Skulls". Singer/guitarist Brendan Kelly joked between songs and showed sincerity when talking about opening for Raygun, the band he used to see himself while in high school. The crowd ate it up and showed support by singing along with every song.

At just after 11:30 it was time for the band that everyone was there to see. The legendary Naked Raygun! The band hit the stage with the opening number "Mein Iron Maiden" and the pit started, never letting up. The band tore through such classics as "Rat Patrol", "Wonder Beer" and "Surf Combat" and even pulled out a couple deep cuts as well. The Jettison track "Walk In Cold" had everyone in the audience blown away. It's one of those tracks that you don't always get at a Raygun gig. But it sounded just as fresh and relevant as it did when it was released back in 1987. Another track they played that they DON'T play much  was "I Lie" from the bands debut EP Basement Screams.

And, as at all Raygun concerts, the free shit was bound to turn up. And this year the band threw out turkeys to celebrate Thanksgiving. Well, not REAL turkeys. But turkey shaped key chains that said "Naked Raygun. Go stuff yourself". The crowd loved it! Throughout the bands close to 90 minute set the audience sang along with every "whoa" showing nothing but love, admiration and respect for the kings of the Chicago punk scene. This is, after all, a band that's lasted 30+ years with little or no signs of slowing down. God bless em. Some things are just worth witnessing first hand. And a Naked Raygun concert is definitely one of them.



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