Martyr’s played host to a solid night of music on a Thursday about a week and a half ago in late March. I got there through an invite from a friend who may be the biggest Village fan on the planet. I enjoy her company immensely and her recommendations haven’t failed me yet, so I gave the night a shot.
I like Village — who headlined — enough, but I think my favorite of the night is split between Sons of the West (of Chicago) and Brooklyn’s The Yes Way. They’re different in ways I’ll get to, but they were an unexpectedly great one-two punch prior to Village closing out the night.
Black Fortys’ set, which I missed, opened the night, so I’ll move right on to Sons of the West.
Sons of the West is a Chicago trio who look way too young to be as good as they are. A cross between, I think, the Black Keys and White Strips (though more the former), Sons of the West put on a solid, polished set of tunes. I especially liked the stance of drummer Gregg Midon, who bopped his drums with much confidence. A slip-up for me, though, was when he undid his outer layer midway through to reveal a Led Zeppelin T-shirt. I don’t think I can support that.
But Sons of the West, who already had me two songs deep, really brought it home for me with their cover of The Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down.” It easily could have decidedly train wrecked their night, but the boys really made it their own and that, for me, is the sign of talent. Sons of the West strutted their stuff for 30 minutes and then posted The Beatles cover… and it didn’t suck. Nice job, guys!
The Yes Way were entertaining dudes. Principally, the accolade rests on the shoulders of the band’s bassist, who bounced around with oily joints and celebrated this fine city that night with a vintage Bears sweater. Actually, a lot like this guy.
The group seemed to be most comfortable while playing their darker, almost sinister material. I almost think that’s what they’ll progress into next time they get around to writing an album.
What I remember being one of my favorites of the set:
And a track more representative of their sound:
Village closed the evening with a delightful set, but I think I’d gotten so used to jam bands that eve that when Village’s lyrically-driven tunes pumped through the system, I just couldn’t warm up to them fully. I wouldn’t mind seeing them again to test out my theory because a) I’m curious and b) I know Village’s front man’s got it — whatever “it” may be.
Before I go, a story. The night was an interesting one for many reasons, but one I’d like to point out here is how the midwest and east coast were humanized in Village and The Yes Way. Whereas Village seemed so appreciative for people coming out and actually made efforts to mingle and catch up with bar goers — of course, we’re in their city — The Yes Way seemed little concerned with anyone not in The Yes Way. At one point my friend and I approached a member to talk about something silly, and then just as quickly he brushed us away. It was one evening and, maybe, minor details, but the level of friendliness between the two groups felt significant.