I don't really know what possessed me to go see
Stabbing Westward this time knowing that they were playing the night
before I was flying out of town. I knew I would backlogged with a
million things to do before I left, and I really wanted a good
night's sleep before leaving. But I guess what really did possess me
in the end was that I really like Stabbing Westward, know they put
on one hell of a show, and think their latest CD, "Darkest
Days," is pretty much just awesome.
A Concert Review
So, it was with slight upsetedness at myself for scheduling a
concert to review this night that I made that drive into the big
city to see the boys of Stabbing Westward, sans Andy Kubiszewski,
who was still recovering from a rollerblading accident. Was it worth
it not getting any sleep before my flight, still leaving a few
things undone, and having to contend with night roadwork which made
my drive home an hour longer? You bet your ass it was!
It's been about a year and a half since I last saw Stabbing Westward
and I almost forgot just how much energy they blast into their show.
From the opening of "Drugstore" to when I left a little
after "What Do I Have To Do," ( I left knowing the drive
that awaited for me to get home, and my flight the next day,
although from what I'm told about the rest of the show I am still
kicking myself in the ass) Stabbing Westward showed that they are
constantly improving in both their music as well as their stage
Musically, even with the iffy acoustics of The Riviera in
Chicago, the band sounded great. Chris Hall's vocals had that
perfect mix of haunting, rage, and sincerity that makes every person
who has ever been through a break-up relate, while Mark Eliopulos
and Jim Sellers blasted the guitar and bass that are really
enhancing the keyboard programming of Walter Flakus better than
ever, especially on the newer material from "Darkest
Days." I did miss the drumming of Andy, although his
replacement did a decent job, but there was always just this
attitude Andy gave that took things a little more over the top. So,
musically, the show sounded great, but a lot of bands can do that -
what about the dudes on stage?
Well, as much as Stabbing Westward's music can be deep, dark, and
depressing, this time around the band seemed to just be busting with
a confidence I don't remember from them in the past. Maybe it's
because they were back in front of their hometown crowd, maybe it's
because they were on a big ol' stage rather than confined to a
smaller venue, or maybe it's just the tour confidence that has come
in time, but in any case the band had a stage to work, and they
worked it all. Chris couldn't stop moving, back and forth, side to
side, leaning over the crowd, and belting out every song with the
consistent intensity I remember him. And while Chris was belting out
the songs, Mark and Jim were doing their best to fill in the spaces.
You know me, I'm always looking for a stage show, and the boys of
Stabbing Westward are beginning to rank up there with the best of
So, what did they play? Well, a pretty good contingent of the
songs came from "Darkest Days," songs like
"Drugstore," "Save Yourself," and "How Can
I Hold On," but they did play standards from "Ungod"
and "Whither, Blister, Burn and Peel" like "What Do I
Have To Do" and "Nothing." I'm also told they hit the
likes of "Shame," "Lies," and "Violent Mood
Swings," but sadly I left before them. But even more sadly, and
why I will continue to kick myself in the ass for a while longer, is
as I perused the internet prior to writing this review I read a
brief synopsis from a concert-goer at the Chicago show who said they
also played "Ungod," which they haven't played in like,
forever. That will learn me to leave a show early in favor of some
sleep. Sleep shmeep, I should have taken some well given previous
advice and I should sleep when I'm dead.
Oh well, even possibly missing "Ungod," Stabbing
Westward's show this night at The Riviera still kicked ass. It was
great seeing them on a stage big enough for the band to open up and
really work a crowd, and they are doing it well. I'm looking forward
to seeing them again, hopefully Andy will make it back from his
injury alright, and you can bet your ass I won't be leaving early
next time, no matter what awaits me the next day. It's TWO BIG OL'
THUMBS UP for Stabbing Westward!
That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right!!! L8R!!