Monday, November 06, 2006

Whoa Hey.........uh oh (Part One)

The chapter of my life that was Naked Raygun is now closed. They performed their last show ever at the 2006 Riot Fest. Riot Fest is a full day punk rock extravaganza that is held here in Chicago every year at the ornate but decaying Congress Theater. I got to hear some bands that I've never even heard of , some that I had, and of course, old favorites like 7 Seconds and Naked Raygun. I came away with some new favorites and some hope for the future as I sadly watched the swan song of Naked Raygun.

On Saturday night at the Pre-Riot Fest Bash, we had the pleasure of seeing Four Star Alarm, The Bomb (Jeff Pezzati's new band), The Briefs, and Naked Raygun. Four Star Alarm delivered a great set, a little emo, a little old school, entirely fabulous. Then, murmurs developed. Where was Jeff? No one had seen Jeff. I wasn't worried, because this is his usual behavior. He gets everyone worried and agitated and then shows up at the last minute. Finally, the crowd parted like the Red Sea and Jeff was escorted through and stepped on stage for his first set of the night with The Bomb. I saw a look of disappointment on Jeff Dean's face (the guitarist) and wondered what it was about. Then we all found out. Jeff's voice was thin and barely held out for his set with The Bomb. I was concerned. I quickly realized that everyone there was very forgiving and even though it wasn't perfect it was good enough and it didn't stop them from having fun. The sound isn't the greatest at Subterranean either, but when is it ever perfect?

After The Bomb, the next band up was The Briefs. While I've heard their music before, this is a band that definitely is all about the live show. Dressed in 1979 punk rock garb, looking like The Sex Pistols on acid, they ripped their way through an amazing balls to the wall snarling set with a very tongue in cheek sassy attitude. Great fun. The crowd then bristled with anticipation for the headliner of the night, Naked Raygun. They took the stage with their usual opener "The Strip." The sound was muddy in the room, and Jeff's voice was clearly on its way out. The crowd didn't seem to care and made up for Jeff's waning vocal abilities by singing along to every single song, just like they always do. That's the thing about Naked Raygun fans, they are a dedicated tribe. If their leader was failing, they picked up the slack. Were they perfect? Nope. Did everyone have a fabulous time? Absolutely.





I ask you, do these people seem disappointed?

9 comments:

Bubs said...

Cool.

Nora came home totally exhausted and ecstatic from the show last night. Glad it was a good time.

lulu said...

You know, my first thought when seeing Jeff walking through the crowd wasn't "monor punk deity" it was "soccer dad"

The sound was shit, Jeff's voice was cashed, but damn it was fun.

Beth said...

Sounds like y'all had a great time. I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm not all that familiar with Naked Raygun; is there anywhere you can send me to get some of their music?

Tenacious S said...

Beth, I get a lot of stuff from eMusic. They offer only independent label bands, but also have quite a bit of jazz. It's cheap, too. $9.99 a month for 40 songs. They have the whole Naked Raygun catalog. Their best three albums are Throb Throb, All Rise, and Jettison. Of those, I think Jettison is the most consistent, but I love the experimental nature of Throb Throb. All Rise is relatively accessible and has a few great sing-alongs on it.

lulu said...

I'll cast a vote for All Rise, precisely because it is the sing along album, although all of them definitely pass the "does it sound better louder"" test.

Beth said...

Sweet! I'm a longtime eMusic subscriber (I have the 90/monthpackage), so I'm off to download All Rise. I'll let you two know what I think.

Dale said...

Glad you had such a good time and nice to see a review that's honest and loving about how things ain't always perfect and how sometimes it just don't matter.

Beth said...

Hey, Tenacious S -- I downloaded All Rise and danced around all night! I'll download more this week, I'm sure. Thanks to you and Lulu for turning me on to Naked Raygun.

Tenacious S said...

Beth, Naked Raygun has been in my Top 3 since about 1983. At this point I can't even imagine my life without them and their music. While I definitely love music like Sam Phillips and REM, I am a little rougher around the edges in my music taste. I like it fast and loud most of the time. This band has propelled me through some rough moments in my life. I was saying just yesterday that if it weren't for "punk" I probably would explode. I've always felt it was a positive way of channeling some of my "issues." Besides that, these guys are just absolute darlings. Quirky and odd, but very real and very dedicated to their city and their fans.