An Evening with Michael Lux & the Bad Sons and The Half Rats

30 Jan

I knew the risk last night.  My beat up Pontiac had about a fifty-fifty shot of making it to the Bottom Lounge; less than that to make it home.  But I had been thinking about nothing else all week, and I was prepared for whatever might have happened on I-94. Luckily, not without noises of disapproval from my car, I made it to the Bottom Lounge in one piece.

I’ve been waiting for the first Bad Sons show for a few months now, ever since I first heard the 5-song Neat Repeater.  Passing the EP along to all of my friends, I said over and over again, and they all agreed, this is going to be the best live band in Chicago.  I stand by that statement after last night’s show.  Lux is a showman in every sense of the word, and last night was not as much a performance as it was a show.  With 3 guitarists, Lux freed himself to play where he was needed , roam around the stage when he wanted, and to clutch the microphone stand for added emphasis.

No song off Neat Repeater was neglected.  Appropriately opening with “So Loud,” the show got off to an explosive start and didn’t slow down a bit.  The Band played two covers (likely to fill time), “Crimson and Clover” and finished with David Bowie’s “Moonage Dream,” which, in my opinion, needs to be recorded.  In a Liam Gallagher moment, Lux walked off stage as the Bad Sons continued to play. It was a short set, but it will stick with me until the next Bad Sons show.

The Half Rats finished the night.  Though I would hate to follow the Bad Sons, they too met my high hopes.  There were no frills about the Half Rats.  A simple drum kit held the back beat all night as the rest of the group played their minimalist garage pop, reminicent of The Castaways (“Liar Liar”) and Please Please Me Beatles.  The technical difficulties that wove in and out of the Half Rats set was not enough to slow the band or the crowd down.  Just as The Bad Sons, Half Rats continued the theme of 60s covers.  I was glad to hear the organ intro to “For Your Love,” perhaps my favorite 60s tune.  They did the song justice, and somehow unexpectedly sounded just like The Yardbirds.


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