The Inked Music Tour featuring The Damned Things came rolling to Chicago at the House of Blues. With them came Hourcast, Fair To Midland, and Maylene and the Sons of Disastor. You can check out out review after the break.
The Inked Music Tour finally made its way to the Windy City this last Friday night and it nearly blew the walls of the House of Blues into the nearby Chicago River! The tour is sponsored by Inked Magazine and has seventeen stops along the US, hitting both coasts and everywhere in-between; thankfully Chicago was one of them!
After the local opener had cleared the stage, the first band that was a part of the tour package, Hourcast, began setting up. They had some pretty impressive gear and their instruments were top quality, so I had high hopes for them. Their stage goes dark and I hear the theme music from the video game Halo pour out from the PA and then slowly dissipate into scratches and noises beginning their set. I really tried to enjoy Hourcast but I couldn’t help but feel that their sound and look was tired and irrelevant to today. It reminded me of what Nu-metal sounded like when it was on its way out. Straight forward, down tuned chugging, mixed with some occasional melody work higher up on the neck and a mixture of clean singing in the choruses, dirty grunts in the verses. Drums were solid but predictable for the style of music. The crowd reaction seemed to be a 60/40 of like and dislike, respectively.
Next up was Fair To Midland and man, did they catch the crowd and myself by surprise! Every time I scanned the crowd I saw people leaning in to their friends whispering. I can only assume good things were said. FTM has a phenomenal blend of dynamic guitar playing, classic piano elements, and super hooky choruses mashed with rock and roll roots running deep. Subtle progressive sounds are icing on the sonic cake. In addition to the massive energy heard, massive energy was seen. Singer, Darroh Sudderth, is an absolute wild man with a range to match. Beautifully sung clean highs were quickly overtaken by him putting the entire mic head into his mouth and screaming his lyrics. Darroh and the rest of the five-piece Sulfur Spring, TX group really brought what I feel was the most dynamic set of the night. Over the top theatrics mixed with a sound that I can only describe as massive!
Still not fully recovered from Fair to Midland’s onslaught, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster popped on stage. Without a second of hesitation they kept the show’s energy level at a maximum. Maylene are in my opinion the kings of modern day Southern infused rock. Cramming every second of their set full of classic pentatonic rock riffs, ripping bluesy leads, and non-stop high energy drumming. The lyric ‘Addicted to the turbulence, feel the past come rushing in’ from the song Wylie off the album “II” struck truth with me when I heard them live. Watching Maylene gave me the feeling that I imagine my pops had when he would go see Aerosmith play fifty person clubs back in downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire during his high school career. ‘Feel the past come rushing in’ indeed. Pure classic rock, with a southern twist adapted to today’s style of intensity? Sign me up for a lifetime supply. Thankfully prayers have been answered as they have an album “IV” scheduled to release September 27th on Ferret Records. Maylene played what I felt was a good mix of all three albums. The crowd roared louder with each song that was introduced after the next, and the response was absolutely great.
The Damned Things seemed to have a hex on playing Chicago. Two shows this past year were canceled due to inclement weather, but yesterday Mother Nature took a pardon and finally allowed us to get our fill. TDT is a ‘supergroup’ composed of members of Anthrax, Every Time I Die, and Fall Out Boy. With that much musical talent under the hood how could they not be phenomenal? Their set consisted of almost all of the tracks off of 2010’s Ironiclast along with an awesome cover of Quicksand’s hit Fazer mid-set. Guitarist Scott Ian (Anthrax) was unable to make it as he had just had a child. Singer Keith Buckley (Every Time I Die) joked that Scott will be back in action shortly as soon as his newborn grows a goatee. Scott’s iconic goatee has been a staple of his appearance since early Anthrax and it was slightly disappointing that he and his facial hair weren’t able to make it. The band closed with their mega hit “We’ve Got a Situation” which sent the crowd in to one massive singalong. Also recommended is finding the music video for this song online somewhere. It is shot in live action mixed with comic book style story boarding elements and is absolutely hilarious. Chicago finally got its fix on The Damned Things for now. Hopefully they will be back around shortly.
The Inked Music Tour was the absolute definition of a rock and roll tour. With such a robust crew of bands, I am surprised that it did not sell out the House of Blues Chicago. I look forward for the next time any of these bands roll through town again as I will most definitely be purchasing a ticket and singing along front row.
Information about the review…
Tour: The Inked Music Tour feat The Damned Things
Reviewer: Shaun Andruchuk
Bands: Hourcast, Fair To Midland, Maylene and the Sons of Disastor, and The Damned Things
Date: August 19, 2011
Venue: House of Blues in Chicago, IL