Thursday, April 17, 2003

Concert Review: The Mooney Suzuki, The Realistics, Tuesday, April 15, Metro

The Mooney Suzuki may be the hardest working band in America. This was their third time through Chicago in less than a year. I generally scoff at bands that play Simon Says in encouraging the audience to clap along, but their drummer is so propulsive that it's impossible to ignore the directive. They were infectiously energetic. The set ended with the rhythm section carrying the guitarists on their shoulders through the crowd while they continued to play. It's refreshing to see a band earn their fans one at a time through such close contact with the audience rather than just spending shitloads of money for commercial radio airplay and image consultants to make them MTV-ready.

Speaking of MTV, I hadn't heard that they ran a contest to be the Mooney Suzuki's roadie, but the apparent winner was there. After setting up the stage, he changed out of his black Coney Island High t-shirt into band uniform, plain black button-down shirt, for the set. Besides the typical roadie job of scrambling around stage keeping microphones upright and wires untangled, he was also the band's biggest cheerleader. I have never seen a roadie so happy to have his perch at the side of the stage.

The Realistics also opened for the Mooney Suzuki last October. Had they opened for a less phenomenal live act, they would have been more memorable. It was like 1979 all over again, pulling in bits of Elvis Costello & the Attractions (although the keyboard player is less shpilkesy than Steve Nieve), the Cars and the Knack. Plus, they had good footwear.

No comments: