Of the two years worth of shows I’ve been to in Chicago, Suns‘ gig at Subterranean Thursday was hands down the loudest thing I’ve heard. Perhaps that timeline extends to any time, in any city. Ever. Really.
I wouldn’t have assumed it from their Bandcamp. I listened to their 2010 EP, Close Calls in the U.S. Space Program, a silly number of times leading up to the show. The songs contained in the five-song collection seem to complete a familiar pattern of beginning with a base of sound, followed by a swelling of noise bumping off that base, followed by, you know, totally messy atonement finales.
I mean, with the exception of maybe “Don’t Do It,” I just don’t think it possible to fathom what two drummers (with two drum kits) and four guitars might sound like live. I mean, I can reflect on it, certainly — they played a good amount of Close Calls Thursday — and recognize that ah, yes, this one and this one and this one probably would’ve (and did) wreck the ceiling off Subterranean.
But it takes a live show to understand.
I remember about the time Treats came out by Sleigh Bells in 2010, and all anyone said and wrote then — the big takeaway, anyway — was how devastating loud a live band Sleigh Bells is. I’ve yet to hear them live myself, but listens to recorded tunes like “Crown on the Ground” and “Straight A’s” kinda sorta gives me an idea. Sleigh Bells on record only paints so much of a picture, yes? I’d imagine so, anyway.
I’d argue a similar thing about Suns. Not a chance simple Bandcamp streaming captures the experience of Suns. And it really is an experience. They’re playing again in a few weeks at what I think is the city’s best venue — the Empty Bottle — and I advise you Chicago folks, specifically, to plug the engagement into your list of to-dos.
Suns was happy fortune, really. I’d come for Caught in Your Pockets, who impressed me a few weeks ago in front of Elsinore at Ace Bar.
Again, the album I picked up that night and which you can stream on Bandcamp doesn’t exactly capture CIYP’s sonic explosions fully. Only synths, drums and a bass, and yet these guys create big noise. They’re like a noisy modern take on the ’80s.
Caught in Your Pockets and Suns made sense packaged together. I don’t know that some handpicked Bandcamp streams will give you the impression, but alas, gotta see ‘em live!
Some Caught in Your Pockets:
- The Chicago-based Suns is Nick Enderle (guitars, mandolin, springs, vocals), Matt Lemke (rhodes, magnus, harmonium, synth, guitar, vocals), Kody Nixon (bass, banjo, vocals), Mikey Russell (guitars, vocals), Clinton Weber (drums, glockenspiel, vocals) and Chris Pagnani (drums, clarinet, vocals). | Facebook
- The Chicago-based Caught in Your Pockets is Brynn Bixby (keyboards/vocals), Moo Haygood (percussion) and Alex Beach (bass). | Facebook
- Suns’ next Chicago show is July 1 at the Empty Bottle. Support: Each Other. The Uglies. Three bucks. | Event Info
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