What do you get when you combine two of Chicago’s best bands, a ripping Canadian three piece, and one of the Midwest’s finest collection of sadboys/dumpster fires? You get the Two Houses Unfriend album release with Arms Aloft, the Penske File, and Dog & Wolf! Those present at Quenchers Saloon on October 6th were treated to a bunch of new music, a bunch of old friends, and as usual… a bunch of Malort.
My evening started off innocently enough, putting together the final touches on the third run of ‘Never Come Down’, a Soothsayer hot sauce made for the gentlemen of Two Houses to help celebrate the release of their newest EP, Unfriend. Assisting me in this venture was a smattering of out-of-town friends who were in for a weekend of debauchery centered around the evening’s show. We pre-gamed in the usual fashion – with beers and shots while we talked about who we were aiming to see at Fest all while blasting a soundtrack of metalcore and 90’s diva jams. If you haven’t had an evening of the latter, I highly recommend it.
After we had our fill of Costco tequila, Malort, and miscellaneous beers we were on our way to Quenchers, Chicago’s home away from home for Logan Square area punks. As we’ve never been those for on time arrivals, we showed up a song or two into Dog & Wolf’s set. In keeping with the night’s ‘new release’ theme, the band debuted their new EP Likes to Talk, their first release since 2015’s Filler for the Vacancies. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them play in every setting possible, from a sparsely filled bar to a great set at Fest (which they will be back at this year) and they bring it every time. If you happen to have a gap in your schedule on Sunday 10/29, do yourself the favor and treat yourself to one of Chicago’s best acts at Durty Nelly’s at 12:30PM.
As is the case with most shows in Chicago’s closely knit scene, we spent the set break saying hi, high-fiving, and taking shots with a crowd of loving and familiar faces. One of my favorite things about this city is that you’re able to walk into any given show and know most of the people in the room with you. It really helps changeovers fly by, as The Penske File seemed to start immediately. As a band that I had heard about but hadn’t heard, they blew me away. The trio is a fast, well oiled machine that delivers jam after jam. They had also put out two new songs that day which are available for the low low price of $1.50 Canadian on their bandcamp. That’s like 69 cents USD, so you should probably go pick them up. They played both back to back during their set and made a believer out of me.
The belles of the ball, Two Houses, came on next. These guys are one of my favorite live bands; if you’ve ever seen them play you know why. The shared vocals and tight play of Dave Satterwhite and Mike Boren drive the band, while Ryan Smith’s bass licks, wide eyed faces, and constant flailing drive it right off a fucking cliff. It’s this live energy that I’ve always wanted out of the band’s recordings and they very much deliver on Unfriend. Bookending their set with older tracks, they rolled through Unfriend during the bulk of their time on stage. Oh boy, is it a banger. Take some time and see them as they roll around the Midwest on their way down to Gainesville. (Two Houses plays Friday, October 27th at Durty Nelly’s at 8PM).
Serving as the whiskey soaked cherry on top of this musical sundae, Arms Aloft delivered their reliable set of thoughtful, fun, and sing-a-long pop punk. Don’t mistake ‘reliable’ as ‘boring’, by any means. In this sense, reliable means that these guys always bring it. Even on their worst nights, they put on one of the best shows you’ll see all year. Mixing jams from Sawdust City with last year’s release What a Time to be Barely Alive, they barreled through their set with only slight breaks for some banter/shit talk from singer/guitarist Seth Gile. It only almost got derailed once or twice when one man crowd surfed, one an that is Dan from Minneapolis. If you’re in Gainesville on the Thursday before Fest, come meet me at Loosey’s for their set. If you’re lucky, I’ll let you drink liquor out of a plastic shark.
The evening ended with a failed trip to the famous Red Hot Ranch, a successful trip to the infamous Belmont Snack shop, and a pile of punks passed out in my living room. Overall rating: 5 stars, 10/10, A++, would do again.