Violent Femmes in Concert

  • When: January 22, 1994
  • Where: Hermann Hall @ Illinois Tech, Chicago, IL
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To the Review….

Violent Femmes in ConcertFirst off, there was the first major concert in the HUB Auditorium in years, and that was, in case you didn’t hear about it, the Violent Femmes. I can’t really say I’m a big, giant, Femmes fan, but I have to admit the show was pretty cool. From the grandiose entrance down the aisle, to the “mosh pit,” to the variety of different musical instruments, I as pretty impressed.

The played, from what I’m told, a good mix of past favorites, and the crowd was rather reserved, just kind of sitting back and enjoying the music – yea right – the crowd was all over the place. Dudes and Dudettes were being hoisted in the air and carried across on a sea of hands (alright, some people crashed into a big wave and dropped to the bottom like a rock), people were slam-dancin’, bouncin’ off the security, and acting like a bunch of rowdy rioters – how cool!

But more about the show. Like I said before, they played what the crowd wanted – “Blister in the Sun, “Add it Up,” and this really cool song titled “Dance, Fucker, Dance.” But that wasn’t all. What really impressed me was the use of strange objects as instruments. From the “wash-basin” drum, to the big long tube/reed, I didn’t know how easy it really must be to find an instrument in the garage. And then, I must say, I’ve never seen anyone play a conch before. It was great.

So, the Violent Femmes get the coveted TWO BIG OL’ THUMBS UP from this reviewer. Everyone had a great time (well, almost everyone), and I’m sure some people felt just how much fun they had in the morning. It was good to see a major act here on campus, and I hope it doesn’t take billions and billions of years to happen again.

Next we hit the opening band for the Femmes, a group of talented buys called Rhodes and Craven. These guys have been at IIT before, and kept the crowd rockin’ in the Bog, but it was just unfortunate the crowd didn’t get into these guys until the end of the show.
Playing a good mix of some covers and originals, the band showed talent, but it’s just too bad they were cut a little short because it was at the end the crowd started really enjoying these guys.
Not too much else on these guys, but they do get TWO THUMBS UP for putting on a great show.
Alright, I’ll mention it even though I hate giving credit to people, but Jud, you did a good job in getting the Femmes here. Just goes to show what a little selfish initiative can do! And now to last Thursday.

Well, well, well. What do you get when you put one original member of White Summer, two guys from a band called Prezence, and some from a band called Innuendo? Quite a surprise! Alright, I really probably shouldn’t have told you all that, but hey, when something kinda good and neat happens, it should be noted. Yep, it was supposed to be White Summer, and kinda was – hell, they played a lot of Zeppelin, but there was more – and the crowd loved it. Things were a little fishy from the start when the lead singer, Todd McGuillary, botched a few lines here and there on some of the Zeppelin tunes, and got more fishy when he started singing “We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions” by Queen at the end of the first set and I said to myself, “Self, this guy should be singing in a Queen tribute band instead of a Zeppelin band.” Little did I know. Second set featured some more Queen, and back into Zeppelin. But more should be said about the rest of the band too (I guess with a show like this it’s the individual talents of the members that could pull off an excellent show and have most of the crowd fooled). Anyway, on lead guitar was a guy called Roger Alison, and he would have done Mr. Page pretty proud. He had more guitars than God, and God has a lot of guitars. He even pulled out the bow and sounded great and had some really cool acoustic work. Of course there was Steve Albue on keys and bass. A talent in his own right, he’s no stranger to playing at IIT. Years ago, he was with this really cool Blues Brothers band that played for this crazy “Hermann All Night Long” party upstairs by the DOSL office. So he’s been spanning the globe of musical variety in his career, and now keeps things going in whatever band he’s playing in. But then, then, then, there was this crazy guy. He was going nuts the whole show, and this guy just so happened to be one hell of a drummer. He had a gong, a timpani drum, and a hell of a lot of energy.

So, all in all, a pretty cool evening, even if it wasn’t really what it was supposed to be. I guess I really can’t rate the “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen and cause that to ruin their rating since they sort of pulled it off out of nowhere. They tried to give some healthy advice to get along, hoped, as Todd kinda put it, “his advice didn’t bounce off their (the crowds) head like a Whammo Ball,” and even through in a Supertramp song for the hell of it. Well, well, well, I just can’t decide. As a Zeppelin tribute band there were OK (bring Prezence to the Bog), as a Queen band, they were OK (bring Innuendo to the Bog), but as a band kinda thrown together I was really impressed. So, I’m going to flip a coin (the easiest way to solve a tough decision). And the answer is—TWO THUMBS UP! Well, I guess fate decided that!!

Good to see the Bog crowds keeping up even on a slippery night like last Thursday. I just hope the crowds keep coming. So stop on by the Bog this week, have some fun, and just remember to Party Smart. And, as always, Rellim Reeb, Rellim Reeb!!!