Song of the Day: Paul Weller – Rip The Pages Up

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Today sees the release of Paul Weller’s latest, Will Of the People, a 3 disc compilation of rarities and b-sides from the Modfather recorded over the past 20 years or so. One of those tracks is “Rip The Pages Up,” a tune dating back to the era of 2008’s 22 Dreams. Check it out.

Concert Review: Judah and the Lion, October 21, The Riviera Theater, Chicago

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Talk about a show for the ages every time – Judah and the Lion always blows me away.

The band has undergone some major changes since the pandemic, but I would say the disruption has resulted in a healthy evolution that has culminated in their amazing new album Revival.

Revival’s musical journey explores, love, lost dreams, loss, and loneliness (among other non-L topics) and makes me tear up and smile every time I listen. It is truly an emotional rollercoaster that will speak to you, no matter who you are or what you’re going through.

Live, the charisma of the band just takes the listening experience to a whole new level of awesomeness. The group’s positive but real-talk chatter, jokes, choreographed dancing and just plain energy make the trip, tickets and time one of the top 4 best investments I’ve made all year.

My message to Judah: thank you. My message to you: listen (please – it’ll be the highlights of your day)!

Concert Review: The Chats, The Bronx, October 20, Phoenix Concert Theatre

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Punk is all about energy and attitude, both of which The Chats seem to have in excess.

The Australian band first made a name for themselves on the back of their viral hit “Smoko” and are currently on tour behind their second album, the excellently titled Get Fucked, released back in August of this year. That tour brought them to The Phoenix this past Thursday where the band played to a sold out crowd alongside The Bronx, Drug Church and Scowl.

As i said, the band has a lot of energy and attitude, and that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, there is sometimes such a thing as too much of a good thing. I’m not knocking the band at all, but with what seemed like nearly 30 songs squeezed into a set that lasted maybe 50ish minutes, The Chats’ set did seem a touch too long for my taste. Unless you’re Guided By Voices, I don’t really need to see that volume of songs from any band. But I do get that they were basically playing a co-headlining set alongside The Bronx, so fans might have felt a little cheated if they got too short of a set. And while I might have been satisfied with trimming a song or two (or ten) off their setlist, the hardcore Chats fans next to me who were shouting along with most of the songs probably would have been cool if they even squeezed in a few more.

While their set was just a bit too long for my taste, this is not to say that The Chats in any way put on a bad show. It was a lot of fun and there’s definitely a lot to like about this band. Songs like “6LGTR”, “I’ve Been Drunk in Every Pub in Brisbane” and “Temperature” were a lot of fun live and “Smoko” was of course a highlight. Another highlight came in the form of their cover of KISS’s “Rock and Roll All Nite,” which in their hands sounded like a standard Chats song. This is also a good thing.

And while we’re on the topic of cover songs, the band ended off their set with “Pub Feed” which, oddly enough, was covered by The Wiggles earlier this year after The Chats covered a song by The Wiggles. I’m not sure who it was who proposed such a thing, but it’s a pretty cool musical crossover. Weird, but pretty cool. I assume that for Australians, having The Wiggles cover your song is like their equivalent of getting knighted or something.

The Chats may combine youthful energy with an old school punk vibe, but their tourmates The Bronx are pretty much just old school by this point in their career. After 20 years in the game, the L.A.-based band have absolutely honed their chops over the years and know how to put on a show. Singer Matt Caughthran’s got an impressive set of lungs while drummer Joey Castillo hits hard, propelling the band though a solid set of hard hitting punk with a dirty rock n’ roll edge.

Caughthran proved to be not only an engaging frontman, but also one who’s quick with a witty quip, as evidenced by the moment late in the show when he ventured into the crowd, commenting, “The night is dark and full of terrors. And the floor is slippery and full of beer.”

I guess a beer soaked floor is one sign that you’re at a show where the crowd is having a good time. At least let’s hope it was beer …

Song of the Day: Suede – She Leads Me On

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she leads me on

When Suede first showed up on the scene in the early ’90s with their flamboyant and sometimes over the top style, the last thing you would have thought they would be described as would have been “resilient.”

Yet here we are in 2022, and Suede has just released their ninth record. It’s hard to believe this is also their fourth record in the past decade, coming back from having survived the departures of Bernard Butler, a wickedly bad drug addiction that led to a terrible record, and a long layoff which would have signaled the end for most bands. Suede is, above all else, resilient.

The past decade has seen a resurgence and to the surprise of many, this new Suede has released four really good records. Much like their tour mates Manic Street Preachers, Suede has spent the decade redefining an experimental sound. Autofiction marks a return to the early days of the band. After the conceptual restraint that was The Blue Hour, it is pretty clear that this record was one made during the pandemic with the intention that it be be played live.

The album is full of singable choruses and a few tracks that are primed to be singles (whether the concept of singles still exists is another story). This leads me to the first track off the record. “She Leads Me On” has all the hallmarks for a classic Suede single – multiple sing along opportunities, high pitched choruses, and references to someone who is a “she.” Vaguely similar in structure to “New Generation,” it’s a refreshingly good straight up rock tune, something that for whatever reason seems rare these days, and I’m here for it.

Suede and Manics are touring North America next month in a tour you probably know about but damn, get your tickets if you haven’t already.