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Gravity Kills
A Concert Review

November 3, 1996

The Vic Theater

Chicago, IL

A Review by Stu Gotz &
The Dude on the Right
Photos by DOTR
Alien Dude
The Alien Dude!
It's Stu Gotz's Review!
It was the 3rd of November, a Sunday night, and The Dude on the Right asked me if I wanted to review Gravity Kills who was appearing at Chicago's Vic Theater. I've heard them on the radio before and they had an industrial edge that I liked so I said, "Sure, I'll go." Little did I know then I would be in for such a great night of music.

The night actually started a little slow with Chainsuck. They're your average, middle-of-the-road alternative band doing the same thing everyone else is doing. Their live performance incorporates a lot of pre-recorded music and drum tracks. I really don't care for it when bands do that in a live performance, though. Plus the band seemed to suffer from "Donna Lewis" syndrome. That is to say the first song sounds like the second song which sounds like the third song, and so on. Now don't be getting mad at me. Not everything about this band lacked luster. The lead singer had a great little whispy voice, though she should try and show more enthusiasm in her performance. Then there was the keyboardist. I made the comment to The Dude on the Right that "She reminds me of Susan Dey from the Partridge Family." He agreed.

I'd like to see this band again next time they come through town, but for now all I can give them is a SHRUG (no thumbs up and no thumbs down).

After Chainsuck came the local band Local H which I can liken to a less commercial and harder edge version of Green Day. Now I'm not sure if this is a two or a three member band. I say that because for the most part all of the songs were performed by the drummer and the guitar player (with a bass string thrown in as the 6th string on his guitar), but every now and then a short dude, wearing a pizza shirt, would hit the stage to sing a little and jam on the tambourine. Tambourine?!? In punk/alternative?!? I don't think so! Local H jammed on stage for nearly 45 minutes and showed tons more enthusiasm than their predecessor on stage.

I liked Local H and plan on seeing them again so I give their performance A BIG THUMB UP!

Then the lights went down and smoke filled the air. An alien walked on stage and asked the "sweaty from moshing" crowd if they were ready for Gravity Kills. The answer was a resounding "Fuck Yea!" With that, Gravity Kills took the stage. The keyboard player, Douglas Firley, came out swinging, flipping, and standing on his instrument which was mounted on this real funky swivel stand.
Jeff Sheel
Keeping a bass line and not playing the part of a traditional keyboardist, this "Russian Cossack complete with q-tip hat" dressed maniac played the shit out of that keyboard. The guitar player, Matt Dudenhoeffer, dressed in what seemed to be silk PJ's, hung to the side of the stage for the most part, but was impressive none the less. Now don't get the impression that Gravity Kills is a strictly industrial band. I would have to compare them to a little bit more radio friendly version of KMFDM. Plus they have a lighter side that you can settle back and groove instead of mosh to, like when they covered "Your Own Personal Jesus." Now that's a groove tune. They even have a sense of humor about their music because they covered, I'm pretty sure, an old Human League tune.

Gravity Kills performance left me with the desire to see them again. They also left me with some other impressions - like: Never suggest stage-diving from the balcony. After having made what they thought was a funny comment, something/someone did come flying off the balcony. It looked big and heavy to me and took security by surprise. I'm thinking that's one hell of a potential lawsuit. Then there was Jeff Sheel, the lead singer's, frequent use of a "Gym Teacher's Hanky." At least six by my count. For those of you who don't know what one is, it's when you press one finger to close a nostril and blow snot out the other. Very nice. I don't care if this guy did have a cold (revealed in a radio interview earlier that day), blowing free-form snot out your nose all over the place is NASTY!

The Crazy Keyboard Dude!
The Crazy Keyboard Dude!
No industrial band night would be complete without running into a drunk fool. It's usually a belligerent, testosterone-drivin guy reeking of BO and beer, but on this night I ran into an "unintelligible drunk" lady. This chick insisted on talking and falling all over me and the Dude on the Right. What she was trying to say, I'll never know. I guess the Dude on the Right figured out she was saying her boyfriend, who just shook his head and let her make an ass out of herself, was "the man!" Whatever. Let's face it folks…Not only can't chicks hold a smoke, but they can't hole their alcohol either.

The night I saw Gravity Kills there were a lot of video cameras running around. I asked security about that and was informed that they were taping for a video. I think that's why I was treated to such a high-energy show. I wonder how they'll be next time they come to town. None the less, I liked them. If you like to mosh to industrial music then Gravity Kills is the band for you. I give Gravity Kills TWO THUMBS UP!

I'm Stu Gotz! Love Ya and Later!!

Douglas Firley
Douglas Firley
The Dude on the Right's Take:
Some quick notes: Chainsuck: Get a little excited and don't look like you're so afraid up there. The drummer had a good time. A SHRUG. Would like to see them again. Local H: Wow. Pretty impressive I might add too. And raw. Like them, it's TWO THUMBS UP and they even use one of those big ten dollar words (copacetic). And then there was the band that I was really there to see: Gravity Kills.

It started with this letter:
Mon Feb 5 01:08:03 1996
To: thedudes (The Dudes)
From: Lorraine
Subject: Re: From The Unknown Reviewers - We're Still Here!

>Also, if you have any bands you would like to see reviewed, let
>us know and we'll see what we can do.

ya...i would luv it if you would review Gravity Kills....they are supposed
to be having a cd out soon... Thanx
..... Lorraine

Hey Lorraine!
Is Gravity Kills local to Chicago? If so, and even if not so, we'll keep our eyes open for them. If you hear any info about where they are playing - let us know!
The Dudes

Lorraine knew, before most of the rest of the world, that Gravity Kills was a cool band. It took a while for me to get to see them, in fact it was last May when I first realized the energy level of this band. It took my seeing them again, this time it was early November, to find that Gravity Kills could slow it down a little too.

Jeff Sheel
Jeff Sheel
Stu Gotz gave you the basic rundown, the industrial edge to the music, the keyboard player and his keyboard stand from the future, and something/someone flying from the balcony (alright kiddies - my little suggestion is to never try this at home, or at a concert for that matter). He also hipped you to the drunk lady (alright grownups, let's just say that a Gravity Kills show is not a place for conversation - you can't hear anything but the music and ain't that what you're there for anyway?) I guess it's pretty straight-forward as to what they play. But what he missed, or at least I noticed this time, was that this band has formed a personality with their fans. That's cool. Jeff Sheel spent the night both belting out songs from their self-titled CD as well as some pretty cool covers. But, all the while, even through the intensity, he was out there slapping hands and working the crowd to a frenzy. The band has really come into their own, with a sound that takes them to the edge of industrial without falling down the cliff.

See, we do take advice from our readers. Lorraine knew what she was talking about back in February - I'm glad I listened. As for Stu questioning their high intensity for the video cameras, I have to say he's wrong. It's not for the video, it's for the fans.

Oh yea, it's TWO BIG THUMBS UP for the Gravity Kills boys.

As for the nice, drunk lady - Lorraine, I hope that wasn't you! I could only hear one thing that night and that was the pounding sounds of the band. Next time, write me a note!

That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!


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