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Examination of the... / 1989 Chicago Cubs
March 13, 2003
Sokol Underground


Last night at Sokol Underground... I missed the opening band, Back When, which I'm told was a speed metal outfit.

Next up was the 1989 Chicago Cubs, the new Omaha super-group power-trio consisting of Ryan Fox from The Good Life on guitar and lead vocals, Matt Baum from Desaparecidos on drums and Dan Brennan from Red Menace on bass. We're talking relatively straight-forward indie-rock emo stuff. Fox's vocals don't quite have the umphhh to carry it off just yet. The band was tight, but was struggling to find a solid melody, as if the vocal lines were sort of written after the arrangements were completed.

Baum has already forged a rep as one of the city's best drummers, and his calisthenics are what drove the six-song set. Interestingly, between songs, he got up from behind his drum set and drank water, walked around, and then sat back down. I don't think I've ever seen a drummer get up and walk around between songs before. He also occasionally yelled into what appeared to be a toy bullhorn.

The highlight of the evening was the Cubs' last number, called "Burn the Boats," an absolutely amazing math test that walks away from their regular indie/emo sound to something that's slower, more angular, more interesting altogether. One guy I talked to compared the number to a cross between Unrest and Unwound. I thought it sounded like a cross between Chavez and a great, slow-drone Pixies tune. The song ends with the band hitting notes in unison and yelling numbers between the crashes. The crowd of 65 loved it. At the final crash, bassist Brennan swung his axe and knocked the mic stand off the stage, maybe into an innocent bystander, judging by the guy flipping him off afterward. Very punk indeed. Are these guys "the next big thing"? Considering the activity of The Good Life and Desa (both just back from tours), it's amazing that they even have time to practice together.

By the way, The Cubs are playing at the 49'r tonight... Ask to see Baum and Fox's impressive gangsta tattoos on their guts.

Here's what I remember about the headliner, Examination of the…
-- Somebody stinks! Extremely bad body odor wafted in from the stage and overpowered even the usual smell of the cig smoke -- that's some bad B.O. Pee-yewww!
-- Quotable lyric -- "Your womb is a cranium," at least that's what I think the guy was screaming.
-- It was maybe the loudest set I've seen down there since… well, a long time. Not ear-piercing loud, bowel-rattling loud.
-- During one of the droning 20-minute bass-a-thons, I looked to my right and a guy was casually eating a donut.
-- The lead singer's voice was an exact replicate of Ogre's from "Revenge of the Nerds." I don't know how he could scream like that every night.
-- The band only played two songs. Between them, while one of the guys did the usual chit-chat schtick, someone from the audience yelled "1986 Chicago Bears."
-- The slow, droning, bass-fuzz songs would probably fit right in at a stoner rock festival (in fact, one of the guitarists was wearing a High on Fire T-shirt).

I don't know if they were frightening or just downright funny. What I do know is that they sure did stink... phewwww!


back torevhead.gif (1924 bytes)   Posted March 14, 2003. Copyright 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.








Extremely bad body odor wafted in from the stage and overpowered even the usual smell of the cig smoke -- that's some bad B.O. Pee-yewww!