Jamaican Queens twice this weekend. On Friday they played at the Logan Square Auditorium with Tobacco and Cave, and yesterday they played at the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival. But tonight they headlined a show at the Whistler. And I didn't miss out. But you did.
I'm not sure who to compare these guys to. My first instinct is Of Montreal, but that instinct is way off. My friend leaned over to me during their set and told me that they sounded like ELO, but he was pretty drunk. My wife said the singer gave off some Yoni vibes, but there isn't any hip-hop going on in Jamaican Queens. Animal Collective? Not as unlistenable. Maybe they have their own thing going. That would be pretty cool, right?
It's always a good sign when you look at the three guys on stage and wonder, "where are those other two players at? How do they sound this massive?" The Whistler is a small venue for a band like this, but I have a feeling they would do well with a festival crowd. So, even though I loved their energy, I think I did miss out by not seeing them with a larger audience.
The singer let us know that he had been drunk since 2pm, but I'm not sure I believed him. His voice sounded great. He hit the high highs and the low lows all night, like a Freddie Mercury singing The Knife. He also kept telling the sound guy to turn up the treble on the electronic drum pad. "That should be obnoxiously loud. It's not loud enough until it makes people walk out." Nobody walked out, but it did get pretty loud. We were all pretty into our tearing eardrums, especially during "Kids Get Away," which might be the best music video I've seen this year.
Wormfood has definitely been one of the most underrated releases of 2013 so far, but if Jamaican Queens keep playing these wild shows they'll get some momentum before the year end lists come in. They only played for about 30 minutes, and it didn't come close to feeling like enough. I guess at a free Whistler show this is acceptable, especially with those cocktails. Oh god, those cocktails. I didn't miss out.