Sunday, September 26, 2010
You Missed Out: Menomena and Suckers
The last time I saw Menomena in Chicago was a couple years ago at the Metro. The venue was packed, and I wondered if their next tour would see them play a larger venue like the Riviera, Congress or Vic Theater.
But last night, in support of their excellent new album Mines, Menomena played the Metro again. And the more I think about it, the more sense it makes. Menomena is obviously too popular to play an intimate little venue like Schubas or the Empty Bottle, but they're not suited for the bigger venues either.
The Metro is the perfect venue for punk rock. It was our go to place for concerts in high school. But we were moshing and crowdsurfing at Bouncing Souls shows, not standing in the back with the indie adults. Menomena isn't like other indie bands though. There's a rawness in their live shows, an imperfect charm that fits right in with the punk rock Metro aesthetic.
During Menomena's set last night, I ran into an old high school friend who was always at Less Than Jake and NOFX shows with me. At first I was surprised to see my old punk buddy at a Menomena show, but after I got home last night I started to understand it.
Menomena's music can be as loud as the most grating punk rock, and Danny Seim hits the drums harder than any hardcore band I've ever seen. I don't know how skins aren't busting when he's playing The Pelican. Some of those sticks should be snapping at the very least. The dude is so tall and has so much leverage with his long limbs, he practically pounds his kit into the ground like he's John Henry.
With a fourth member helping out on various instruments, the three guys had to change hands much less often than usual. Unfortunately, that still didn't prevent them from missing a few cues. During the last song of the night, Justin Harris missed a vital note on the sax. I think everybody was a little bit disappointed, but we quickly forgave him as they barreled forward with Evil Bee. They came back for an encore, the sole song from I Am the Fun Blame Monster of the night, Monkey's Back.
The imperfections are what make Menomena such an appealing live act though. An honesty shines white hot, something that is harder to attain at an acoustics Heaven like Lincoln Hall.
Suckers were an ideal opening act too. This band is a perfectly balanced conglomeration of Brooklyn and Portland. Imagine Modest Mouse, Man Man, Menomena and Yeasayer (who they're touring with in the UK later this year) combining their talents into a very cohesive sound. Suckers are definitely a band to watch in 2011. Expect a headlining tour soon.
I'm heading to the Metro again tonight for Caribou and Emeralds (thank you Jenny Lizak!), but something tells me it won't live up to what I experienced last night.
I really just don't understand how Danny doesn't break anything when he plays. It's just... man, he hits those drums so hard.