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Concert Reviews:
Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers
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The Refreshments
- Nov. 20, 1996

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The Refreshments
- The Bottle & Fresh Horses

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The Refreshments
A Concert Review

October 26, 1997

The Metro

Chicago, IL

A Review and Photos by
The Dude on the Right
Roger Clyne
Roger Clyne
The next time The Refreshments come to Chicago I hope they check with me first. My inaugural show that I saw them found the band being the opener of the opener for Seven Mary Three and I missed half of their show due to traffic. The second time I saw them I seem to remember cold, but they were bumped up to being the opener for Dishwalla. This time the weather sucked, I almost missed the show because the police decided to close Lake Shore Drive, here in Chicago, while I was on it due to Lake Michigan spilling onto the road, and the Cleveland Indians were in game 7 of the World Series and I was afraid this might be my only chance to see the Indians win a World Series and I would miss it because of the show (how's that for a run-on sentence?). Anyway, with these dudes being from the warmth of Arizona I keep wondering why they keep coming to Chicago in the fall and not the summer. Oh well. But, in the end, I made the right choice, braving the driving rain and sleet, to catch The Refreshments return to Chicago.

The Refreshments are cruising around in support of their latest release, "The Bottle and Fresh Horses," on Mercury Records, and as much as I loved "Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big & Buzzy," I'm enjoying this one even more, and seeing them headline a show, which means it was longer than 40 minutes, was very cool because this is a band that you don't get bored with as the show progresses.

Opening with "Blue Collar Suicide" from "Fizzy…," I instantly forgot about all of the things that were pissing me off on my ride to the show, and by the next song, "Preacher's Daughter," from "Bottle..," I even forgot about the Indians and the World Series. With Roger Clyne on vocals leading the way, The Refreshments cruised through about an hour and a half of songs, bouncing back and forth between the new and old material, threw in a new old song called "Psychosis," originally found on their first CD, "Wheelie," and now to be featured on the soundtrack to "American Werewolf in Paris," and tossed in a way cool cover of the Violent Femmes "Kiss Off" intermixed with "European Swallow."

Brian Blush
Brian Blush
What's cool about The Refreshments? I guess for me, I really miss the guitar driven rock and roll that prevailed when I was getting my many musical influences. The Refreshments combine that style while mixing in stories about love, travel, and bars. They go back to songs that have a story to tell, and though the story might be sad at times, it's still fun to listen to. Their lyrics are sometimes quirky, but through it all they maintain an energy that bounced right into the laps of the fans that come to see them. From the opening to the close, Roger didn't overdue the small talk with the crowd, but let the music make the fun, and fun is what the crowd had. I guess that's the other thing about seeing The Refreshments, at least in Chicago, their fans are fans of the entire package. From the beginning to the end these people, ranging from just in high school to out in the real world working 9 to 5, know all of the words, know their appropriate lines (like during "Birds Sing"), and help perpetuate a good time.

This show had The Refreshments playing nearly every song I really wanted to hear. From "Broken Record" to "Mekong," from "Wanted" to the theme from "King of the Hill," the only song I missed was "Una Soda," (oddly enough, I never thought a band could make a song around some of the only phrases I still remember from three years of high school Spanish. "Dondé el baño, señor" is very important in certain situations!), though I guess that song could be kind of a crowd bringer-downer. Even so, they did play a little music from "Hee Haw" in tribute to Buck Owens and Minnie Pearl, so I'll let skipping "Una Soda" pass.

I still like The Refreshments, even more so now after seeing them headline a show. It was way cool to be able to have a great time for an hour and a half rather than a half hour. The intimate setting of The Metro is a great place to see a show, and the folks that made it out this cold and sleety October night all seemed to go away happy. And although intimate, I still can't help to wonder the captivation this band could have on a crowd with some wireless guitars and a big stage for the band to run around on. I see Roger still kicking the cymbals on the drum set, but being able to run around like Mick Jagger; I see Buddy Edwards cruising around the stage with his bass, playing it behind his head (you don't see that often like he did during "Girly"), and just grinning at everyone; I see Brian Blush toting his guitar around the stage, posing like the best of them; and I see P.H. Naffah, well, he'd still be stuck behind his drum set, but still be somewhat a lunatic.

So, The Refreshments get TWO HUGE THUMBS UP for their show in Chicago. I'm looking forward to their triumphant return, and if they stop by your town, I recommend you go see them. In the end, I really made the right call because the Indians lost. Had I opted to watch the game I would have wasted another night on another let down - a night with the Indians, rather than a sure thing - The Refreshments.

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


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