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Roger Clyne &
The Peacemakers

A Concert Review

November 3, 2006

Joe's Sports Bar

Chicago, IL

A Review and Photos by
The Dude on the Right
As I pulled up to Joeís on Weed Street (as it is called in Chicago), I found it very hard to believe that itís been over six years since Iíve seen Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. Itís not that I havenít wanted to, and itís not that I havenít been getting their CDís, but there was a stretch of time I wasnít covering concerts, and then I just kept missing them for one reason or another. But there I found myself, on a cold Chicago night, and I suppose I should have re-read my old review prior to my arrival, when they played a quaint place called Schubaís back in 2000. In that review I commented about not arriving early, not wearing comfortable shoes, not leaving my coat in the car, and not bringing my camera. For the show at Joeís I was smart enough to leave my coat in the car, did bring in the camera gear, but I wore the wrong shoes (not a great thing when youíll be standing for over five hours), and arrived about one minute too late for getting the vantage point I wanted to have to both see the show and also get some great photos.

So there I was, as the crowd filtered in during the first opening act, Ben Crooch (word of advice to Ben Ė try to at least interact with the crowd. You were pretty good, but the only reason I knew who you were was because the Joeís website still has you on their calendar as I write this review), I had a feeling the "taking pictures" thing was going to be a little tricky because of the taller dudes in front of me, and "cowboy hat dude" behind me had me a little worried that he would try to make his way in front of me, too. Anyway, with Ben done with his set, the folks really started to fill the place, and a lot of the ones around me seemed to think Roger Clyne would be next. I would think the keyboard set-up in the middle of the stage, and since the dude warming up on guitar wasnít Steve Larson, that should have been a clue, but you could hear a couple of grumbles when As Fast As took the stage, and some chuckles as lead singer Spencer Albee came off-stage into the middle of the crowd during their first song. This, though, and props to As Fast As, quickly got the crowd to watch them, and from what I could tell, As Fast As pretty much has their act together, puts on a great show, and as good as their originals came across I was also impressed with their cover of Radioheadís "Creep" with Spencer on this tiny, little guitar. The crowd got into them in a big way, and theyíve got tons of potential with their great stage act and fun songs. And yes, I know it was a ukulele and not a "tiny, little guitar."

But this crowd was here for their favorite, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, and as I turned around during the break and realized it was around 10:30, the place was packed. I was still stuck behind the taller dudes, but "cowboy hat dude" nicely asked if I was the photographer for the band (I told him "No.") and he also asked if I had ever seen them in Mexico (again, a "No.") And happily he stayed to my side when the band came out. And out they came.

Opening with °Americano!, Roger Clyne and the boys quickly got the crowd into the show (like that would be difficult with this crowd of fans) continuing with favorites like "Wanted," "Blue Collar Suicide" and "Honky Tonk Union." Not wanting to hit the dude in the front of me in the head anymore with my camera, at this point I decided to make my way to the back of the venue to watch the band, watch the crowd, and be able to easily take notes. Hereís a bit of advice though - donít try to make your way through a packed crowd of Roger Clyne fans when the band kicks into "Banditos." As difficult as that journey was, I eventually found myself along the back wall with a clear view of the stage, near some middle-aged dudes by the bar having a grand old time, and able to watch the "beautiful people" come and go.

As the songs continued, whether for the uninitiated Roger Clyne fan or those with him back from The Refreshmentsí days, the night turned into sing-a-long after sing-a-long (actually, "Mexico" was almost a total "let the crowd sing all of the words" song), and Roger knew exactly his role as conductor. I quickly remembered why I loved seeing Roger Clyne, and itís as much as the fact I love the music, think he and the boys in the band are great on stage, but also because he has one of the most loyal fan bases I know of, and it just makes the show that much better.

And so the evening was filled with songs every Roger Clyne fan knew, from "City Girls" to "Leaky Little Boat" (a filled request towards the end of the evening), from "Switchblade" to "Green and Dumb" (which, if I overheard correctly before the show, "cowboy hat dude" said they rarely play it anymore), and from "Counterclockwise" to "Jack Vs. Jose" (which included a fabulous guitar solo).  Roger even teased the crowd with a new song, "Andele," or maybe it was "On Delay," but in any case, from what he says, it will be from their next CD coming in March, 2007.

Roger was quick to thank his fans for their support, and did so many times during the night, but none more so before he introduced "Beautiful Disaster" from "Honky Tonk Union," which brought Roger out from the world of corporate recording to the independent side, and as wild of a ride it might be, he and the Peacemakers have been putting out great music ever since, still put on a great show since I saw them back in 2000, and actually seemed to get some of the "beautiful people" at Joeís into their music.

Thereís a band on the east coast called "The Nerds" which I would say is probably the best bar band that does cover songs. Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, I have to say, is probably the best bar band doing originals, and you should see them even if you arenít a fan, yet. And as much as I wish them more success, bigger venues (I know Roger can pull those shows off from seeing him during The Refreshementsí days), and millions of album sales, there is something cool about your being able to buy the lead singer of the band a shot during the show, and in the case of Roger Clyne, a shot of what they serve down in hell will do.

I suppose I shouldnít wait another six years to see a Roger Clyne and the Peacemakersí show if only because they throw one big olí party, and from "cowboy hat dudeís" recommendation, I should probably try to make sure that next show is in Mexico. From the looks of things I couldnít find anyone who didnít enjoy the show, and itís good to see that hasnít changed from seeing them so many years ago. With that, itís TWO "TEQUILA SHOTS and SOME MEKONG PLEASE" THUMBS UP! for Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, and Iím really looking forward to the new CD next year.

And finally, I suppose before I finish this review, I should explain the "beautiful people." You see at Joeís, in the back of the bar, thereís a VIP area. Maybe this one is for guests of the band, but it didnít appear so because most no one seemed to give a shit about the band, and I think the band folks get the upstairs area. Nope, this one seems to be for those who want to "be seen" at a nightclub, only Joeís isnít really a "be seen" at type of club, so I suppose a lot of these folks are wannabe "beautiful people." They get dressed up, trying to look their best, but simply put, some of the dudettes heading to the "beautiful people" area donít have the bodies to pull off a belly shirt. The dudes try to look cool and hip, but even they canít seem to pull off some of the clothing, and they try too hard sometimes in that "I have take this cigarette out of my mouth in a cool manner by contorting my arm and have my hand backwards" kind of way. There ends up being some dudette crying because the dude she was with yelled at her, only to find herself a little too drunk a little later and apologizing to the dude, and the western European dude didnít seem to be too happy being "asked" to leave by security. Iím pretty sure these folks werenít there to see the band (although, like I said, some of them did seem to enjoy Roger and the boys), but they sure were fun to watch, almost as fun as the band.

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


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