Bad Copy

Radar State
Show Review

Radar State and Archie Powell & the Exports in Chicago, IL

Photo: Mat Stokes

After spending most of the week cooped up indoors trying not to die of cold, it was about damn time to step out and shake off the icicles. Thankfully, Cobra Lounge was hosting a good old fashioned, Saturday Night Midwest Rock and/or Roll show. I was all set to enjoy a night finally getting to hear Radar State, but then I got a notice from the fine folks at Riot Fest that Archie Powell and his band of merry men had been added to the bill. This was going to be a solid night, for sure. Due to some confusion about door time, I arrived just as Wet Tropics’ set was winding down. I was bummed, so I decided to drink about it.

I’ve been friends with Archie for a number of years and a fan of his band just as long. Nothing gets my spider senses tingling like the promise of new material. They’ve been teasing an upcoming album for the better part of the last year and seeing the cover art finished tickled me in all the right places. Their set that night was a solid blend of old and a few new glimpses of what’s to come. They’re the kind of band that has an ideal blend of stage charisma and high energy Rock n’ Roll that allows them to be a perfect fit for any show. They also play a version of “Wooly Bully” that is  much better than that song has any business being. Their antics were clearly a hit because their name was all I could hear people discussing between sets.

Sometimes you see a group of musicians get together and it almost makes too much sense. That’s Radar State — a bunch of guys from Kansas City who play in Emo bands that have been the soundtrack to Midwest sadness for years. Given how many of their members are in The Get Up Kids, that’s the band I expected them to sound most like. I wasn’t wrong. I was reminded a lot of their sound from later albums like Eudora. There was a good sized crowd eager to commiserate about shitty winter weather and check out the band’s first Chicago show of 2019. They were celebrating the release of their debut album, Strays. Having the different backgrounds that each member brings to the project helps keep things from getting stale. I was pleased to hear a range of influences in their sound that extended beyond my high school CD collection. A love of Tom Petty was a clear prerequisite for getting on this show.

The groundhog says an early Spring and given that Chicago just saw 50°F in February, he isn’t far off. If the rodent should be wrong, fingers crossed that there will be more shows like this to turn up the heat until then.

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