This week, The Futureheads, Kasabian, The Music, The Sights, Radio 4, Louis XIV, Hot Hot Heat, The Features and Kings Of Leon will make (or already have made) their way through the Windy City. Always the optimist, I saw this week-long rock & roll bonanza an opportunity to get my liver back into game shape for the forthcoming SXSW activities. Drinking Red Stripe all day in the sun for four days straight can really take it out of you, so a pre-Austin bender was just what the doctor ordered. Last night, the doctors' names were Louis XIV and Hot Hot Heat and they did me up right.
Taking the stage promptly at 8pm (it was an all-ages show, so in accordance with some sort of curfew law, it needed to be over at 10), Louis XIV oozed self-confidence. If you're in a band and 99% of your songs are about banging chicks, you had better be confident onstage. Thankfully, they didn't disappoint. Looking like the illegitimate love child of Niki Six and Ozzy Osbourne (circa 1978), lead vocalist Jason Hill commanded the stage with a devilish sneer and ridiculously tight black leather jacket. Recalling memories of a time when being in a rock & roll band was solely about getting fucked up, nailing chicks and then doing blow off their naked asses, Louis XIV ran through their sexually suggestive collection of songs with reckless abandoned. They played most of the hits in their brief, half an hour (or so) set including "Illegal Tender", "Louis XIV", "God Killed The Queen", and their smash single in the making, "Finding Out True Love Is Blind." The last one there didn't sound quite the same without a female singing the chorus, but they pulled it off nonetheless. The band also played a few songs off of their forthcoming album, The Best Little Secrets Are Kept (out March 22), including the poppy "A Letter To Dominique". Overall, this band fucking rocked. They were in and out and left a wake of newly converted fans behind them. Making their status as cock-sure rock stars-in-the-making complete, the band hung around in the crowd after their set to score chicks. They had no trouble in that department. Awesome.
Following Louis' set, all of Chicago's cool kids had but one thing on their mind - the triumphant return of Hot Hot Heat. After years without hearing a single piece of new music from this band, it's safe to say EVERYONE was excited (and curious) to hear what they've been doing with themselves since the release of Make Up The Breakdown in 2002. Sporting a brand new gigantic hipster perm, white blazer and an ascot, frontman Steve Bays bounced around like a man possessed. The last time I saw HHH, Bays spent most of his time trapped behind a keyboard, so it was good to see that they've effectively unleashed an engaging and inspired indie rock frontman. The band's set was split right down the middle between old and new. "This Town", "No, Not Now" and even everyone's favorite song they've played way to much and aren't quite sure they like anymore, "Bandages", were all stand outs. The only new song I know is "Goodnight, Goodnight", so i'm not much help in the set list department on that one. However, after hearing some of the other new songs, I'm even more excited to check out their forthcoming new album.
If you have the opportunity to see this show, do not hesitate in picking up some tickets and inviting your friends. The next time you see these bands it will be in a much larger venue. So hurry up... you still have the opportunity be "that guy" who sees all the cool bands before they make it to the big dance.
Next up for me... Kings Of Leon @ Metro. Who's got papers?