The Bears of Blue River, Thieving Irons, Teenage Rage @ The Empty Bottle (9/9)

credit: Eric Hughes/Chicago Tunes

The Bears of Blue River headlined my first evening at The Empty Bottle with a Maggie Gard-less performance of tunes new and old.

Bears sans Maggie made for an interesting set. For one, Gavin Wilkinson went ahead and supplied the missing vocals with, well, his own voice. So on songs like “Betty Homemaker,” Gavin was the male and female parts.

But anyway, before that were sessions by Chicago’s Teenage Rage and Brooklyn’s Thieving Irons.

Teenage Rage, actually, reminded me of a harder version of ex-band The Format. I mostly liked them.

I think early on the sound miscues — Gavin supplied a much needed guitar cord — and other things made it difficult for me to dig into their music. But then the intensity of their songs kicked up a hair, and the mix of playful lyrics and straight up rock started clicking. Like Bears, they’ve got male and female vocalists, too.

Thieving Irons hit the stage next, and there’s something about them that works very well. They’ve got a classic rock sound about them that makes many of their tunes accessible without sounding too generic.

Almost a southern rock at times, though I don’t know if that fits quite right. Actually, Bruce Springsteen came to mind a few times while they were on, and that’s closer to what Thieving Irons may be.

What’s different about them is they’ve got dual drummers at their disposal, and a guitarist who doubles on banjo. Towards the end, they shifted to a folksy piece, and that banjo kept it in check.

credit: Eric Hughes/Chicago Tunes

The Bears closed the evening. I think I enjoyed ’em more a few weeks ago at Lincoln Hall. Of course, the acoustics there are way better. And, The Empty Bottle is more bar than it is concert venue. (Compared, at least, to a piece of building like Lincoln Hall). So, the gig felt rugged and less polished.

Maggie was missed, but her absence made improv’d versions of Bears songs — ones we probably won’t see again — possible.

Like at Lincoln, Gavin was playful on the mic. Among his comments, Gavin — were he watching the show — worked out whether he’d be by the bar or with the crowd. Pointing: “The bar’s right there, but you’re right there.”

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About Eric

Hello there. Email your things to chicagotunes[at]gmail[dot]com.
This entry was posted in Show Review, Teenage Rage, The Bears of Blue River, The Empty Bottle, Thieving Irons. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Bears of Blue River, Thieving Irons, Teenage Rage @ The Empty Bottle (9/9)

  1. Pingback: Top 5 shows in Chicago in 2010 | Chicago Tunes

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