Wow. What a fucking show. The rain or it being a fucking Wednesday night could not stop me from getting my ass to Reggie’s to catch this shit. PEARS is one of the most exciting bands you’ll ever see live. I was drunk as shit last time I saw either Russian Girlfriends or Bad Mechanics, but I remember really liking them. The first time I saw Such Gold play was at the Dollhut in Anaheim, and I didn’t even go outside to smoke, which is probably the highest compliment I can give a band. I will admit I knew absolutely nothing about Big Ups, but Brian Pretus (of PEARS) promised they were great. All of these bands at Reggie’s which, although I didn’t know at the time, is probably my favorite venue I’ve been to so far since I’ve moved to Chicago.
Bad Mechanics started off the night. I had seen them once before at the Soothsayer Third Annual Pop Punk Pizza Party, but again, I was very drunk and walked away thinking “not bad.” So now that I was sober, I was ready to relieve the thrashy, screamy, slightly goofy noise I could only vaguely hear in my head. Turns out, I was absolutely very, very wrong about what I thought I heard that night. They were goofy, yes. But sober, I could better make out the drum machine that accompanied the awkward rapping and guitar. And it was even better then drunk Kevin had initially thought. There is a certain charm to Bad Mechanics handing out cans of warm sunscreen tinged piss water (Coconut LaCroix) as the singer sat on the stage and spilled his own can all over himself. Art!
Russian Girlfriends was up next, another band I could only slightly recall from a drunken La Escalera Fest in San Diego several months prior. They were also everything I didn’t remember, and fucking killed with their blend of Rock and Roll Pop-Punk. At one point, the guitarist took off his flannel shirt to expose his Britney Spears plastered undershirt, not skipping a beat and continuing to shred. A couple days after this show, when I was driving around listening to their record All Around, it hit me why the band is so rad. I immediately switched it to Valient Thorr’s Total Universe Man and was greeted with an almost identical sound. Go ahead. Check it out for yourself.
Such Gold was the middle child of the evening, but unlike most middle children, people actually cared about them. Right before they started, I saw that Dan “Mr. Precision” Wleklinski himself (88 Fingers Louie) was among the crowd. The bass player was feeling the fuck out of the groove as Such Gold powered through their set with minimal breaks. And just like in Anaheim the year before, I didn’t even go outside to smoke a cigarette.
By the time Big Ups was about to go on, I was tired as fuck. It was a Wednesday after all, and we had already gone through a normal show’s worth of bands. Fortunately, Reggie’s has an upstairs area with the world’s most comfortable seats. Don’t let the fact that look like they would be stuffed with used needles and immediately give you lock jaw fool you. They are com-for-fucking-table. Now, no offense to Big Ups, but I was already on the brink of taking a nap before they played, and their weird shoe gaze garage space Rock didn’t help. Maybe on a different day I would have dug what they were putting down. But that night, nah dawg. I was too sleepy. File under “Try again later.”
Half asleep, I had to force myself to get down to the floor for PEARS. I perked right the fuck up when, after a brief intro song, they went straight into “Forever Sad.” And they didn’t let up for the entire next hour. I have seen PEARS a bunch of times, but for some reason tonight seemed… better. They were all on top of their game and singer Zach Quinn just looks like he’s having so much more fun now. Not that he didn’t seem like that before, but something is different. From starting the show off in a punx leather jacket, to finding and wearing a silk scarf, to using someone’s umbrella they threw onto the stage to “Marry Poppins” into the crowd, Pears as a whole seems re-energized. The best moment of the night came when, during an interlude of sorts, part of a soundtrack was playing over the house speakers. When PEARS was ready to start again, Zach asked if we knew what that track was from. Kindergarten Cop was the answer to the dismay of the crowd, to which Zach replied with, “Come on. Don’t be upset you didn’t know that was from Kindergarten Cop. The only four people in the world who knew that are onstage right now.”
Not bad for a Wednesday night. It should also be noted that PEARS did not play an encore and I absolutely loved that. Encores are bullshit. Get over yourself. Also, it was after midnight and I had to work early the next day. So in the end, nothing even matters.