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July 9, 2007
You never really know what to expect at a summertime all-ages show in Chicago. You just don't. For example, there is apparently a weeknight curfew in the city, designed specifically for venues that host all-ages shows, that caused the lights to go out a little prematurely for anyone at the Beat Kitchen last week to see Bishop Allen.

Anyone arriving around 8pm, as I did, was able to catch at least the last three songs of opening band Locksley's set, which was at the head of a rare event - a rock show that actually started, as scheduled, at 7:30. Delivering a set of Beatle-like harmonies over pop-punky/garage tunes, the four good looking, sharp-dressing Brooklyn lads danced and sweated their way through three powerful closers with enough pop vigor to make John Lennon smile. As soon as their set was over, I watched the boys migrate from the front of the stage to the merch table, followed by a flock of teenage girls. Could anyone have predicted a more honest rock and roll moment to happen on a Wednesday in Chicago?

Lips peeled back as The Teeth took the stage. A week prior to the show I had taken in The Teeth's new album, You're My Lover Now, and found it enjoyable enough for a starter |review|. I wasn't, however, prompted by the album into expecting the kind of live performance that would cause me to fall deeply in love with the band. As it turns out, that's exactly what happened. As soon as they took the stage there was a distinct buzz in the air, and the quartet seized upon it. Peter, the lanky, mohawked bass player, shared vocal duties with his twin brother and guitarist/keyboardist Aaron, belting out their sibling melodies. The lead guitarist Brian, mustachioed in what could have been homage to Rollie Fingers, jumped in on harmonies to provide the brothers with a boost, and baby-boy drummer Jonas attacked his set with unwavering determination. Four distinct elements, in unison the Teeth exploded with the unique sound of a dirty-Philly punk band, raised on Bowie and a circus sideshow, filtered through the Kinks, and it couldn't have sounded better.



The crowd, electrified by the Teeth and then put on pause for 20 minutes during break-down and set-up, was finally greeted by Bishop Allen's blasting set of perfect pop rock. Even though they couldn't have known how much time they had left, the Brooklyn-via-Harvard boys played with poised immediacy, showing the crowd how hard work pays off. The four pitched hard forward, playing with an astounding tightness and flair as Christian Rudder, using his melodica in place of a trumpet on "Butterfly Nets," confessed to not having perfected his horn skills for their live show. Rudder's admission was unneeded, as the sound was perfect. The rest of the band was locked in as well, and they had managed to burn though a good portion of their upcoming album, The Broken String, before chatter filled the stage monitors. Being close enough to hear the sound engineer reporting the same to the band, I felt injured to hear that there was time for just one more song. They had rifled through an album's worth of songs, but Bishop Allen had barely played 30 minutes when the curfew patrol broke up their party, leaving off with "Flight 180."


Having their set cut short should only serve to heighten the expectation for Bishop Allen's return to Chicago, which will occur in a month's time when the band hits the road with Page France. That next show, at the Subterranean, will likely see the band as uncurbed as they are tight, not to mention well on their way to basking in some well deserved attention and a little more time after curfew.

Bishop Allen's Abbreviated Set List
Clementines
Same Fire
Busted Heart
Like Castanets
Butterfly Nets
Click, click, click, click -download
The Chinatown Bus
Choose Again
the Monitor
Rain -download
Charm School
Flight 180

SEE ALSO: www.bishopallen.com
SEE ALSO: www.deadoceans.com

--
Bob Ladewig
Having been introduced to good music by his sister in the early years, Bob Ladewig has been searching out all the best in indie music ever since. He also rides a skateboard and performs/directs comedy shows and, like all great men, he's afraid of really growing up.

See other articles by Bob Ladewig.

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