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Zebrahead
A Concert Review

September 8, 2000

The Metro

Chicago, IL

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
The Tip of the Day
Sometimes things just donít turn out like you figure. That is the tip of the day. Hereís why.

When I was asked if I wanted to see Zebrahead, my first thought was "Who?" After I pondered the offer a little, I then thought "Sure, what the hell, Iím all up for new things" and decided to go. It was after saying "Yes" that I remembered my #1 rule about seeing shows at The Metro in Chicago, especially shows that I am iffy to go and see in the first place Ė check the Cubís schedule. You see, parking around The Metro is hit and miss anyway, but on the same day as a Cubís game Ė forget it, especially a night game when just about every city street is off limits. I checked, sure enough there was a game, but it was a day game so there was a chance things would work out.

So Iím in a crappy mood the afternoon of the show, coming up with every bad scenario Ė no parking, no place to sit, hundreds of punk kids, and me might as well being some of these kidís dad and having them look at me like "Who is the old fart?". I finally hop in the dude-mobile and make my way up Lake Shore Drive in rush hour traffic, turn on the Cubís game and find the boys losing with a couple of innings to go. I think to myself "Self, if this goes well the game will wrap up just as I get to Wrigleyville and my stretch of parking spaces might open up just as I get there." Iím getting closer, the Cubís are threatening to tie (which would have just sucked), and as I turn the corner the Cubís finally blow the game, but Iím now too close for the crowd to be heading to their cars yet. As I head towards one of the few areas Iíll be able to park without a city sticker permit thing I see a spot down the road and low and behold, some asshole two cars in front of me gets the spot. "Alright, itís still early. Letís circle a couple of times before giving up hope." And I do. Turn a corner, turn a corner, turn a corner, and I see it open up, a dude pulls out but Iím a few cars back. "Please, please, please! Let no one take that spot." And you know what? No one did! It was 6:05 PM, I got the choice spot I wanted, and headed to The Metro hoping the youngins would be late and I could find a chair (of which there are like maybe 25 chairs if you get there early enough Ė maybe I am an old fart?).

I go to get my ticket, there was some slight hesitating in finding it, the nice girl asks if I needed the photo pass to which I said "No" (yea, I know, shirking my photo duties, but the lighting at The Metro usually sucks, I really wanted a spot to sit, and tonight the lights sucked as usual), and she looks at me and says "Itís going to be mostly kids here. Here, have a pass for the guest section." I smiled, graciously said "Thank you!" because I knew my seating problem was now solved (to which I also got a complex later under the "am I getting that old that the nice girl figures I would want a place to sit down with the older folks?" theory Ė but I still took the pass), and headed to the wide open guest section and got a killer seat.

So Iím there really early, Iíve got an hour to kill before Wheatus takes the stage, and I sit there reflecting back on how well things have gone so far Ė I just hope the bands are entertaining. Then came Wheatus.

Wheatus
Wheatus, at first, didnít do anything for me. You had your drummer (Peter Brown), singer/guitarist (Brendan Brown), bass (Mike McCabe), and extra percussion dude (Phil Jimenez). Thatís all fine and dandy, but the only one on stage who even showed any energy was Phil the percussion dude. Looking kind of crazy, getting that bug-eyed look at times, he had it going on. But the other boys just werenít into it, at least not yet. Sure, most of the people in the crowd could have cared less if they were there, as was prevalent from the early shouts of "You suck" and "Zebrahead" chants, but dudes in the band, youíve got to keep trying Ė it just took too long.

As their set moved along, slowly the crowd came around, and I saw why Ė the early songs in the set list were a little more moody and down than the crowd seemed to want, and with the Brendan not showing any energy, well, the crowd reacted as angry teenagers will Ė "You suck." But then he started to venture away from the mike, then the music started to get a little more pumped up, and the crowd really came around, even kicking off a mosh-pit and I thought to myself "What the hell took you guys so long to start playing."

So my final thoughts on Wheatus are these. Theyíve got potential, but I would suggest instead of getting pissed off at the people who are grumbling, concentrate on those that are coming around. Also, think about shifting your set list around. Hit the crowd heavy early, mix in some more of the moody stuff in the middle, and kick it back into high gear at the end. It just took too long for them to play and have fun. And, oh yea, keep bribing the crowd with plastic fruit shaker things Ė that seemed to be working well. Itís One "Potential For The Next Level" Thumb Up!

Where'd They Come From?
While concentrating on Wheatus I didnít notice too many things around me, but as Wheatus ended their set I took a quick look around me. Out of the corner of my eye it occurred to me: "Wow, sheís pretty smokiní!" "If Zebrahead has these kind of groupies, well, more power to them." Then as I turned my head a little more, well, there was another, and another, and all of a sudden Iím seeing about five really, well, hot ladies. It also occurred to me, as I looked at the crowd below, that even though most of them were young, there were a lot of girls in the crowd, and it was then that I scribbled "I really wish I were in a band." Well, one of the girls near me turned a little, I saw an all-too familiar bunny rabbit, and it occurred to me "Oh yea, ĎPlaymate of the Yearí is one of Zebraheadís songs, now I get why they're here." But I still figured it was good to be in a band.

As I slyly turned every now and then to get a better look at the beautiful world around me, with the sounds of Iron Maiden blasting in the background during the set-change, I still wondered about Zebrahead. The name rang a bell, I didnít really know any of their songs, and just hoped they would turn this night, which in the afternoon looked very bleak, into a whole helluva lotta fun. I can now say that Zebrahead is one of my new favoritist bands.

Zebrahead
The lights go off, the crowd goes nuts, and the boys of Zebrahead take the stage. Justin Mauriello is the front man and he has every action, from singing to just an overwhelming stage presence, down pat. Musically it was a cool mix, kind of the punk sound with harmonies and smooth guitar work intermixed with white boy rap. Theyíre touring in support of the album I forgot before I saw the ladies, "Playmate of the Year", and the songs just have such a fun feel to them that if you donít have a good time at their show, you must just be too old. I lost that old feeling and just had a good time.

Song-wise, at the time of the show, well, I didnít know any of them so forgive my wrong research if it comes to be in error. Iím pretty sure they opened with, "Go", at least from my notes of the "see it, believe it" song, and from the onset the mosh-pit started flying, the folks started surfiní, and it was just a party for the next hour plus some. Justin brought two dudes and a chick on stage for a contest for a t-shirt, a lap dance contest which had the one girl leading the pack until the one dude did a striptease (I still donít know how he won Ė maybe because he could take his shirt off and not get in trouble), and again I was amazed at the amount of girls in love with these guys because, well, and donít take this wrong, but these guys are no Ricky Martin. Anyway, as the blasting of punk and rap continued, Justin said how they were just so excited to be opening for 311. I looked at this band, looked at the crowd, and said to myself "Soon, very soon, they wonít be opening for 311, theyíll be the headliner!" They have that much potential.

Continuing on we got some way-excellent guitar work by Greg Bergdorf, well, except for when he screwed up the Poison cover and Justin had the crowd yell "Greg is a dick!", we got to see Ed Udhus on drums showing his talent - drinking while drumming, we had a way-too-close cover of some Third Eye Blind (you guys are getting too good at it, almost really sounding like them Ė please stop!), and probably the best version of some Spice Girls I have heard in years. And of course there were some of their own songs, like "Subtract You" and "In My Room."

And Zebrahead pulled a great stunt, kinda like Dick Dale only different, when the show was rapping up by saying "Good night Chicago!" and then just turning right around and continuing with what they called the fastest encore. They skipped the leaving the stage crap Ė you know that band is always coming back anyway - and proceeded to acknowledge that weíre all lesbians as he introduced Amy and Nichole from Playboy before the band kicked into "Playmate of the Year." Justin also showed why itís great to be in a band as he made all of the girls scream before "Iím Money." And as Justin stage-dived into the crowd, I knew it was true Ė I went towards the wrong profession! Music is where the ladies are, and why didnít I think of the song "Playmate of the Year?"

So the show ends, the lights come up as Cartmanís version of "Come Sail Away" blares through the speakers, and I simply wrote on my scratch pad "Itís TWO ĎWHAT A FUCKINí KICK-ASS AND FUN BANDí THUMBS UP!" Such I say is Zebrahead.

So, you see, sometimes things just donít end up like you figure they would. I expected hell and instead I got: A kick-ass parking spot; A kick-ass seat to see the show; Some 5ish Playmates around me (although my job kind of sucks because I had to pay attention to the band and not hit on the ladies, and although they introduced themselves on stage as Nichole and Amy from the October issue of Playboy, after I checked my, I mean my friendís issue, I wasnít sure Ė guess I should have looked at their faces more), and I got to see a band kicked into the Dude On the Rightís favoritist list. That band is Zebrahead.

Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

 

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