Related links at Entertainment Ave!
A Concert Review
The House of Blues in Chicago can be a weird place to see a show -
any show. If the show isn't sold out by fans you can usually count
on a bunch of tourists chatting away and annoying you as you try to
pay attention. If the show is sold out then you better get there
early, unless you're tall or you like staring at a sea of heads. I
was running a little late on my way to see MxPx, and I'm short, and
I was worried. But then I found out another "good to know"
fact - if it's an all ages show and sold out, then the upper-balcony
becomes the old-fart section, or at least the over 21 section, where
you get the likes of parents who brought their kids, or 21-and-overs
who are tired of dealing with teenage, punk kids. Luckily for me I
found a way-cool stool on the edge of the balcony, looking down on
the stage, able to see the soon-to-be mosh-pit, between a dad and a
cute 22ish year old girl.
Well it didn't take MxPx long to get their set fired up with
their mostly punk but kinda pop sound. Three dudes armed with a
guitar, a bass, and a drum set, teamed with a quick sound and
sing-able lyrics, and the young crowd on the floor below was
instantly in mosh and body-surf mode. Out in support of their
release "Slowly Going the Way of the Buffalo" on A&M
Records, they played a lot of their new songs, which I knew, and
some of their old songs, of which the only one I could really
identify was "Chick Magnet" because, well, they said
something like "The next song is 'Chick Magnet'". But
knowing the songs or not, it was really cool to see a band busting
their asses on stage with a crowd that knew their role - when the
mosh-pit should slow during the song, and when the frenzy should hit
full steam, and in-tempo even.
Mike Herrera generally is leading the way on vocals, bass guitar,
and witty crowd banter, while Tom Wisniewski is blasting away on
guitar, and Yuri Ruley pounding the drums. The songs are just what
you might expect from a punk-pop band - usually way up-tempo,
usually around two and a half minutes long, and just making you want
to nod your head up in down enough to give you a neck-ache the next
morning. But, where many associate punk-rockers with a lot of
whining and complaining about being misunderstood, MxPx songs read
more like stories of people growing up, taking control or
responsibility, or just dealing with it. The songs on the CD, as
well as them blowing them out live, are catchy, to the point, and
really just reminded me of how every now and then I really miss the
likes of decent punk bands, or how I need to get out more often.
So, we had a hard-driving, guitars in your face, just try to keep up
if you can kind of band called MxPx on the stage; we had the
youngins mixing it up in the mosh-pit (complete with a flying
garbage can); and we had the oldins up in the balcony either totally
getting it or having no clue, wondering how their son or daughter
could like such noise. There's nothing flashy about MxPx - their
show is straight and to the point and that is one of the things I
really liked about seeing them. And Mike can even handle the
hecklers, although he seemed like he felt bad after doing it - the
story goes like this: MxPx was opening for the headliner, so it is
safe to assume not everyone there was an MxPx fan, although most of
the people seemed to be enjoying the show. Well, before the song
"Set the Record Straight" a dude yells out "You
suck!" Mike comes back "So, what band are you in?"
Something was mumbled from the dude in the crowd to which Mike
further comes back, "Then why aren't you up here if we
suck?" I'm thinking "Ouch! - great comeback!" But
then, a little later, Mike kinda seemed like he felt bad for bustin'
on the dude and tried to back-pedal a bit. Oh well. I just found it
kind of cool Mike totally sticking up for his band.
With the end of their set it was time for me to leave, and MxPx
now goes on the "keep an eye out for them the next time their
in town list." And as I'm getting off my stool some dad-looking
dude asks me "What band was that?" "MxPx," I
say. More like "S.u.x.," he comes back. I give him that
"Whatever," look, but am thinking in the back of my head,
"Yea, and what band are you in?"
Now, I would end the review here, but I've got to make a mention
of the band the came before MxPx - Homegrown. It was your punk/pop
sound, and the songs were cool, but a few things just made me smile
a lot during their set. One - they had a "just having fun"
attitude, playing their punk sound but acting, well, like a bunch of
little kids running around on stage. Two - you've got to love a band
that takes the song "Barbie Girl" and makes it punk. And
Three - the Asian, or "Vietnamese dude from Oklahoma," but
in any case the guitar player, with "I Eat Dog" painted on
his guitar. The band just made me smile.
Well, in any case, for MxPx (and Homegrown too) I had a good
time, I think just about everyone except for a couple of dudes and a
couple of dads didn't, so it's TWO "WHAT BAND ARE YOU IN?"
THUMBS UP! for MxPx.
That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!