There are very few things better than a three band bill where every band could very easily qualify as the “headliner.” The most recent tour featuring Gouge Away, Nothing, and Basement accomplished just that. This tour rolled into Chicago’s Metro for a great all ages Friday night show that did not disappoint.
The show kicked off with Gouge Away, a band who released one of the best albums of 2018, Burnt Sugar. It can often seem cliche to say that it is great to get the chance to see a band grow and take off over the years, but it truly is the way I feel about Gouge Away. They have completely taken ownership of their sound and trajectory – a band influenced by post-hardcore with a blend of noise rock and underground punk.
From the start of the set, the band ripped through their songs showing that their music can be both grueling and beautiful at the same time. This sound and attitude is visibly personified by singer Christina Michelle who moved about the stage commanding the audience’s attention. It was received. In the crowd there were clearly fans of the bands work, both past and present, who were shouting and swaying along with the music. And the songs played varied from the bands now growing catalog which offers something for every diverse audience member. One of the best things about this band is that no matter in what setting you catch them, they present a level of professional musicianship. The band is comprised of members who are very good at what they do (honestly, Tommy Cantwell might be one of the best hardcore/punk drummers of the last decade) making the live show intense and one of a kind.
Following Gouge Away was Nothing. This band has been a torchbearer for the recent resurgence of youth interested in the slowcore, dream pop, whatever you call it style of music. And the things that makes this band stay at the forefront of it all is three things: that they are damn good at what they do, they are continuously on the road, and somehow they have had several flawless releases in a row. This is no small feat. So to get the chance to see this band on this bill is also great.
Admittedly, Nothing can oftentimes be a grab bag for what you are going to get when you see them live (a couple sloppy sets have been seen…); however, this set did not disappoint. Singer/songwriter Dominic Palermo came on stage, took off his hat and did a little wave. Soon after the band was soaring through a set of their now trademark sound that ebbs and flows with light notes and crushing riffs. The energy on this set was great. The band played a song off of almost all albums. While it was weird not to see Brandon Setta on guitar and vocals, his spot was temporarily (?) filled by a local hero of sorts — Doyle Martin of Cloakroom. The addition of Aaron Heard of Jesus Piece also brought a unique sort of energy to the set that I had not seen with them before.
Closing out the night was Basement. This band is HUGE and with seemingly good reason. From the second the band stepped onstage the crowd essentially began to erupt (while seemingly a stark contrast to the swaying and bobbing of heads to Nothing’s set, the crowd didn’t rotate out!). The band started things off with the song “Beside Myself” and tore off through a solid set of songs from a variety of albums through their alt-emo, post-hardcore trademark sound. Witnessing the live vibe of this band makes it clear that their set is truly something to witness. The energy on the stage and in the room was palpable. The band clearly showed that they could rock and have fun without missing a beat. Watching frontman Andrew Fisher bounce around with the mic stand invited the audience to become one with the set and sing along to the wildly infectious hooks of the songs.
Check out the photos from the show below and be sure to check back for further updates from these bands and so many more.