Live ñ T.S.O.O.L./Cato Salsa Experience Pillage Chicago's Metro

Following in the footsteps of their Scandinavian ancestors, the Cato Salsa Experience and The Soundtrack Of Our Lives have taken to their Viking ships (or tour buses) to explore the vast North American continent. Last night, their explorations landed them on Chicago's North side. Trading in their battle axes forÖ well, axes of a different sort, these two bands filled the Metro with enough energy to power a small town for a week.

Cato Salsa Experience was first to take the stage and plugged in as fans continued to filter into the intimate venue. The Norwegian four-piece got things started off right with "Deadbeat," and before their set was over, the band had run though the majority of their debut album, A Good Tip For A Good Time. Clad in denim from head to toe, lead singer/guitarist Cato Thomassen set the tone with his high energy rock & roll assault, while bassist Christian Engfelt occasionally stole the attention with his funky Norwegian dance moves. Holding true to the title of their debut album, Cato Salsa Experience provided the ever-growing audience with one hell of a good a time. It's clear that this band is all about having fun, and before their set was over, they passed that good energy on to the crowd, who gladly accepted. Highlights of the Cato set included "So, The Circus Is Back In Town," "M.F." and my overwhelming favorite, "Time To Freak Out!"

The Metro was packed when The Soundtrack Of Our Lives made their grandiose entrance, complete with pre-recorded music, flashing lights, and more smoke than the backstage area at a Cypress Hill concert. They came out with the down-tempo "Broken Imaginary Time," but from then on, it was all high-energy rock & roll. The first time I saw this band was on the recent Oasis tour, where they held opening duties. I sadly arrived late that night and only got to see two or three songs, but they were so good that I couldn't f-ing wait to see them on their own headlining tour. Normally, that kind of sets one up for disappointment, but The Soundtrack Of Our Lives were better last night than I was expecting. Frontman Ebbot Lundberg's vocals were outstanding and the band were total rock stars. They jumped, kicked, fell to their knees, did that wannabe Chuck Berry move, and even played guitar behind their head a la Jimmy Hendrix. While I was most looking forward to "Sister Surround," which was awesome, the highlight of the set had to be "21st Century Rip Off." Not only is it a great song, but halfway through, Lundberg jumped into the crowd, placed his microphone on the raised drink tray of one of the cute cocktail waitresses, and started wandering the audience, shaking hands and dancing. The band continued to wail throughout until Lundberg quieted the band and the crowd and asked everyone to sit on floor. The whole 1st floor complied wholeheartedly. Lundberg then grabbed his mic and recited some of the song's lyrics ñ thenÖ BAM! The band erupted and the crowd jumped to their feet and started dancing wildly. It was crazy! Some other highlights included "Nevermore," "Tonight," and "Infra Riot," but "21st Century Rip Off" was absolutely mind-blowing. Kudos to T.S.O.O.L. for rocking my socks off.

Go see this tour if it rolls through your hood. You will not be disappointed.

Live ñ T.S.O.O.L./Cato Salsa Experience Pillage Chicago's Metro