A Concert Review
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."
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!!