A two-piece band can sometimes be a gimmick or novelty act. So many bands over the last decade have followed in the footsteps of bands like The Black Keys and The White Stripes that it seems almost silly to try when you know who you’ll be compared to.
But if you know what you’re doing and have a sound that can’t be thrown into the same Black Keys/White Stripes bag, then you do stand a chance.
And I think that’s the case with Silverghost. While they do contain a lot of the elements that many two-piecers possess, they’re able to make it fresh with well-written, well-constructed pop/rock that keeps your head moving to the beat and doesn’t give it a break until they’ve finished rocking it.
Honestly, I wouldn’t compare them to any other bands out right now. Their music seems to fall into a kind of time-and-space abyss that makes it impossible to know exactly what era they are most influenced by.
I will say, however, that they played one song — I think the third or fourth one in (and of course I don’t have their record, so I don’t know the names of the songs) — that reminded me of a song Roxette did way back when. I know that reference dates me a bit, and probably sounds kinda lame, but in the ’80s and early ’90s, Roxette was the two-piece to end all two-pieces, so I think that’s kind of high praise.
With the second band of the night, The Nothingheads, I ran into a bit of a pickle. I was enjoying Silverghost when I realized that I hadn’t eaten dinner and I was freaking starving. As I was at the show to see Warm Ones, I definitely did not want to miss any of their set, so I decided to dip out across the street to Lockdown to grab a bite. There I was treated to a DVD of a No Doubt concert, followed by a DVD of a Rammstein show from Berlin. Needless to say I scarfed my food down and got out of there as quickly as possible.
But even with my making haste, I was still only able to catch the last tune they played. And it sounded great, which made me regret leaving the show at all. But then I remembered how good the burger was and it canceled out my feelings of remorse.
I picked up a copy of The Nothingheads demo that they were giving away, though, and I will listen to it soon because from what I heard they’re very good.
Warm Ones took to the stage next, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I purposely avoided listening to their music so I could go in fresh and not have any expectations. The most I did was read Eric’s review of their album and I took a look at their bio from their website, which I found to be hilarious. So I knew it would be a fun time, but I was extremely happy to hear that the music matched up with their personality.
Their songs come at you in short bursts, rarely more than just over three minutes. This causes two theories to cross into my mind:
- Warm Ones are so meticulous in the crafting of their songs that they’ve edited out any filler and just kept the meat of the songs, so that every second could be considered a “best part.”
- The less is more theory again, only this time it means that if a song is only two and a half minutes and it stinks, the audience will already be grooving to the next song before they realize it.
For my money, I’m betting on the first theory. The songs are short, but they aren’t light on subject or sound.
Most notably the guitar work of the newest member of the band, Mike Wszolek. His performance reminded me not just a little bit of David Gilmour‘s work on some of Pink Floyd’s better albums. He showed a kind of restraint that a lot of axe-men have a hard time with.
A lot of the time a guitar player can get wrapped up in their own sound and turn into Marty McFly at the end of Back To The Future. This can be fun if the music calls for it, but most often it is obnoxious and ridiculous and completely turns an audience off.
Wzolek keeps it all in check, though, and provides a nice amount of depth to the sound of the band — complimented by the bass of Mike Metz and drumming of Jon Adler. These two do a nice job of keeping the band in check. Never going over the top, but always staying on time and upbeat.
Lead Singer Tony Sackett has a lot to do with the amount of fun an audience has at a Warm Ones show. He comes off as charming and very humorous — in a very self-deprecating way. He also has a certain quality, necessary to a strong frontman, that demands attention.
I couldn’t necessarily put it into words, but when he’s on stage, you want to watch him. His vocals are good, not great. His work on the guitar is strong, not amazing. But he has that thing… that indescribable thing that makes this band a must-see for people who love the local Chicago scene.
The Empty Bottle has provided me with some great fun these past few weeks, and Sunday was no exception. Silverghost provided a great appetizer to the carb-filled meal that was Warm Ones. Check them both out if you get the chance, and watch out for a release from The Nothingheads, which I think I overheard someone saying will be out soon.
- Warm Ones, based in Chicago, is Tony Sackett (vocals/guitar), Mike Wszolek (guitar), Jon Adler (drums) and Mike Metz (bass).
- Warm Ones new record, Sprezzatura, can be purchased on iTunes for $9.99.
- Silverghost, which hails from Detroit, is Marcie Bolen and Deleano Acevedo. They’ll next play Chicago on October 3 during the EP Theatre Art Festival and after party.
- The Nothingheads, native to Chicago, is Chris Sumrall (drums), David Luzeniecki (bass) and Myk Martello (guitar/mouth).
Warm Ones perform “Small Spies”
Warm Ones perform “Busy All Day”