Monday, February 22, 2010

Harry Merry, Glass Bricks and John Bellows - Live Review

On Sunday February 21st it was a snowy night in Chicago. I got to Ruben's Palace a small brick warehouse in Humboldt Park. The inside has a nice dark ambience with a projector aimed at a big white wall behind the stage, often projecting weird movies.

The first act was John Bellows. He was a anti-folk one man band starting on the drums with vocals, then to a 3/4 size amplified acoustic guitar playing freaky folk tunes. He kept incorporating Christian Christmas carols in to his music. His set was impressive and he was quite the entertainer with David Lee Roth esque kicks while wearing gray sweat pants and snow boots.

The second act was Glass Bricks a chicago act with a female guitar player lead vocalist, female keyboard player who played a wurlitzer electric piano and sang backing harmonies, and a male rhythm section, the bass player of which plays in Bird Names. They are fresh even though they have a sound that is sort of a throwback with a twist. They sort of sound like a 60s girl group mixed with 90's riot grrl pop punk like Discount, while incorporating neo-psychedelic rage. They have tight vocals and catchy lyrics, very uplifting sounds amidst the Great Recession. 

Finally it was time for all the kids to get off the stage and the king of retard rock Harry Merry to grace us with his presence. His set went from good to bad to ugly to just plain genius. He played the sharkie song approx 3.25 times. He would start it, play half let the ipod fade out and played it once or twice almost entirely. "Well Yeah Whatever" got a huge response, and he saved "Stevie Storm" for last before going in to a half hour at least encore.

What got my british comrade and I was the cute girl dancing up front who knew every word. We asked her if she was on tour with him and she said "I wish!". While playing keyboard he would squat down on his knees while smiling doing some sort of funny dance. His moves were over the top and his sound drove most of the audience out. He played for about two hours and the crowd went from about 30-40 to about only 5-10. When it ended everyone shouted for more. 

I had never seen anything like this. Harry Merry is like watching a dutch porno and a Rotterdam car wreck at the same time. He is some kind of genius.

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