We recently had the pleasure of attending the Chicago date of Yuck’s 2014 U.S. tour at Lincoln Hall in Chicago with Diarrhea Planet, Pink Frost and Alvvays. You can check out our review of the tour and concert photos, after the break.
I’m not exactly sure how this show was put together. Either there was some kind of cross promotion between labels or someone haphazardly threw together two big names, a local band and an up and coming touring band because it was a festival and the numbers seemed to add up. The bands were great, don’t get me wrong, but it felt like someone booked to shows and stapled them together in arts and crafts hour and threw some glitter on it to hide the seams.
Alvvays (yes that’s with two v’s and no w’s) opened the night. Exuding the true definition of the word “hipster”, Alvvays was overflowing with a timidness masked by a thrift store wardrobe that would rival anyone living in Williamsburg. The Toronto base indie quartet is fronted by Molly Rankin who embodies the entire band before she ever sings a single note. Their sound encompasses the fun loving happy go lucky youth that we all strive for. Everything about them and their music just makes me feel like I’m in the perfect place and everything in life is going to be just fine. I can full heartedly say that the only thing that really bothered me about their set was the fact that it only lasted twenty minutes. I was bummed, my sleepy winter fling was over before it even began. Side note, their music is only available on cassette and the only thing to be found online is their video for “Adult Diversion”. So go to their show, grab a cassette and immediately buy Walkman and be happy for the next month straight.
Pink Frost…. You know those typical thirty year old grungy dudes who have been living in Logan Square for the past ten years, love Old Style beer and never really made it anywhere? Yeah that’s Pink Frost. Accompanied by a garrison of loud and obnoxiously drunk friend-fans, Pink Frost was cool for about a minute. After the 78th time they repeated the same riff I felt like sitting down on the floor in a peaceful protest to end the set. The writing process must have been super easy, write two riffs, play those for four minutes straight, have an apathetic one note bass bridge, and build that back up for the next three minutes. Each one of their stage performances told an in-depth story about each member and the band overall. Whether you were the apathetic, “too old for this shit” bassist or the super energetic name dropping “ignorance is bliss” guitarist, the set was still; for lack of a better term, pretty awful. It seems like the only reason that they have a fan base or get shows is because they have been around the music scene for so long. I mean, well, the projected images they had on the screen were kind of cool, I think?
But seriously, Diarrhea Planet though. With the best worst name of all time, DP absolutely shreds. The novelty of having four guitars (sometimes all soloing at once) is an absolute must for party rock bands such as DP (and bands like Andrew W.K.). But unlike AWK, DP makes it work in a much different way. Their sound isn’t a wall of guitar repeatedly punching you in the face until you lose all sense of reality. Everything in the DP set up is brilliantly done, everything stands out in one way or another, believe it or not, if you listen closely, there are an abundance of textures and tones that shape each and every song. This actually took some time to compose (yes I said compose, this is like a God damn symphony). Instead of just writing one guitar line and handing it to three people and asking the odd man out to solo every once in a while, DP is a delicate mix which highlights drum and bass as well. I guess I was most impressed by how well the drums cut through the mix to be honest. These six dudes from Nashville are more clever than you had anticipated, using the moniker of Diarrhea Planet as a shock tactic to get people to say, “Wait….what?!” This opens up many doors for listeners, blogs and anyone mildly offended to take some time out of their day to listen to the calculated madness that is Diarrhea Planet. If you haven’t already, you just need to watch a Youtube video or two, or seven of them playing live, trust me, your social life depends on it.
“I don’t know what to say, normally, I’d say I feel bad for whatever band has to follow Diarrhea Planet. But that’s us. I feel sorry for myself.” Max Bloom (guitarist for Yuck) couldn’t have said it better. Trying to follow a band like Diarrhea Planet with a sweet and slightly badass indie rock band is like snorting a line of cocaine then trying to watch the movie “The English Patient”. I’ve encountered this scenario before at Middle of the Map Fest last year in Kansas City. The Joy Formidable was direct support for Grizzly Bear, It had a similar outcome. Yuck wasn’t bad by any means, they just got the (pun intended) shit end of the stick when it came to line up spot. I was expecting a little bit of unconventional British indie dance rock but what I got instead was pretty mild indie music. With elements of some mainstream pop rock, Yuck had an interesting sound compared to the cacophony of genres present throughout the night. Yuck provided the sold out crowd with a plethora of catchy hooks, thick bass lines and great harmonies. They are the everyman’s indie rock band, and didn’t leave anyone disappointed at the end of the night. Closing out TNK fest with Yuck to calm the madness was a perfect choice.
Information about the review and gallery…
Tour: Yuck’s 2014 U.S. Tour
Bands: Yuck, Diarrhea Planet, Pink Frost, Alvvays
Reviewer/Photographer: Jim Vondruska
Date: January 19, 2014
Venue: Lincoln Hall in Chicago