I'm on my way to a line-up of bands that I personally
thought had no way all three could attract a crowd that would
appreciate each band. There was The Refreshments, whose only song I
have heard is "Bandito" which gave me the illusion that
this band would be your fun rock and roll band. Then there was Poe
whose been hitting the airwaves with songs that seemed just too
dark, too dreamy, but still kinda cool. Then there was Seven Mary
Three, which I basically see as a cool metal-type band. I was wrong,
about the crowd that is, because they loved them all. But let's
start with me.
Seven Mary Three
Poe, and The Refreshments
A Concert Review
I hate the north side venues of Chicago. Alright, maybe I don't
hate the venues, but the neighborhoods they are in are a total pain
in the ass. This night I'm on my way to The Vic Theater. Traffic on
Lake Shore Drive sucked worse than usual, so I knew I was going to
be cutting it close to catch The Refreshments. Then I get to the
area and, basically, it's kind of a residential/business district
with no parking anywhere. I'm driving around in circles hoping for
that one blessed parking spot, can't find any, so have to park in a
parking garage way too many blocks away from the venue. Then, I go
to get me tickets only to find a mix-up so I have to wait until they
fix this mess. Meanwhile I can hear The Refreshments have already
started, and I'm getting pissed.
I finally make my way in to find The Refreshments are almost
done. Let's get to reviewing.
I guess I only caught about 15 minutes of The Refreshments, but I
like what I saw and the crowd already seemed to be having a blast.
Simply put, The Refreshments are a fun rock band. I got to hear
"Jenny - 867-5309," and "Bandito," and the
"skinny white boy, I don't like the way you're looking"
song, the "do it all over" song, and one more. I guess
this review will be kind of short because I only saw 15 minutes of
the show, but if you like a band that is having fun, The
Refreshments are probably for you. I really hope to catch them
again, for an entire set this time, because for a new band to get
this kind of crowd response when most of the people only know them
for one song, they must be pretty good. It's Two Thumbs Up for The
Refreshments, what a good start for the night.
Next up was Poe, who, judging from the crowd and listening to her
CD "Hello," I figure she would go over like a ton of
bricks. I was wrong - dead wrong.
I think Poe just totally impressed the shit out of a lot of
people who weren't there to see her but were there to bang heads
with Seven Mary Three. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that
she comes off live a hell of a lot more dynamic and energetic than
her CD seems to portray. That combined with a band that knew how to
work things and Poe won over a crowd.
She opened with "That Day," off her latest CD, with the
cellist dude only. It was cool and off to a good start. I've never
heard a synthesized cello before, and it sure as hell doesn't sound
like any cello I've heard when I was taking string lessons. Her
lyrics were sharper than the recorded versions, and she just plain
rocked. And talk about working a crowd who may have only heard a
couple of songs - she certainly knew how to do it. Case in point,
during "That Day" there's a line that goes "What's
you problem bitch." A younger crowd, a line like that, and a
little exaggeration, equals a crowd that became putty in her hands.
That combined with the bald-headed guitarist with the shirt that had
"Fucker" on it, a bass player who kinda reminded me of
Carrot-Top with blonde hair, and The Refreshments dude coming out
with a trombone, I couldn't help but like this show, and the crowd,
who I thought would never like Poe, seemed more impressed with every
song. She was doing so well, I thought the only way she could screw
it up was to slow it down. Then she did, slow it down that is.
"Fly Away" is a mellow song that started to bring the
crowd down. "Oh no," I thought, "for being off to
such a great start, please don't play "Dolphin" yet, it
will set the crowd into a tailspin." Well, she did play
"Dolphin" next, and all I saw ahead was disaster. Wrong
was I because they upped the tempo just a bit, and then she leaped
off the stage and onto the crowd. Wow, Poe was body-surfin', and the
teenage boys just couldn't get enough.
She made her way back on stage and came back with more stage
presence. She was waving, slappin' hands, and just, well, I said it
once and I'll say it again, seemed to impress the shit out of an
audience of mostly heavy-metal heads. She cruised into her two radio
hits, "Angry Johnny," and with "Trigger Happy
Jack" a lot more of the crowd realized just who she was. Her
big "Poe" sign fell over, they threw it in the crowd, and
the crowd loved it, even if they didn't know most of the songs she
Well, yup, Poe gets TWO BIG GIANT THUMBS UP! Way cool, and I was
duly surprised and impressed. If you want to see a great performer,
and you like anything you've heard from her, you'll love seeing Poe
live, I know I did.
But, the night was not over because as much as the crowd loved
Poe, most of them were there for Seven Mary Three.
The last time I saw Seven Mary Three was at one of those festival
shows where they were given about 35 minutes to play their three
hits at the time. I knew this band had a lot more potential than
that, and for this hour and a half show I got to realize that good
heavy metal isn't dead, at least not as the critics seem to be
saying it is. Maybe not as popular, but with the likes of Seven Mary
Three, music made for heavy bass lines, head bangin', and not too
much moshing has a chance for a comeback, a good chance.
Yea, yea, so I don't know most of the titles of the songs, T.F.B.
But I know what I like, it's pretty easy to see what the crowd
liked, and this night head-bangin' was the call. They blew out a
couple of their known hits, "My, My" and "Water's
Edge" right off the bat, so unless they just played "Cumbersone"
and left the stage, I was curious to see how they would satisfy the
crowd. Well, they did it with a bastion of new hits from a new CD
they have coming soon, with songs like
"Season of Hell" I believe, to some other song about
devils. They did it with lots of fog on stage for some songs, by
switching from a driving metal sound to your slower metal sound.
They did it by have a cool light show. They did it with anthem-esque
songs and a visit by The Refreshments dude again on trombone, They
did it by not playing "Cumbersome" way into the set. And,
they even did it with an acoustic-style set.
Sure, the lead singer dude doesn't move around much, he's kinda a
mike hugger, but the rest of the band makes up for it, and like most
good metal music, the crowd makes up for it with fists in the air
and heads bangin'.
And so, Seven Mary Three gets TWO BIG GIANT THUMBS UP too.
What a good freaking night for me when all seemed to be falling
apart. For a set of shows I almost didn't get to see because quite
frankly, I was having a pissy day and when the ticket mix-up came I
was just ready to head home and go to bed. I'm really glad I didn't
because I know I really want to see The Refreshments again, Poe just
surprised the crap out of me, and Seven Mary Three reinstilled my
faith that good heavy metal is still alive and well.
That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right. L8R!