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Review Sat Dec 04 2010

Review: Emergency Room @ Subterranean 12/2

Emergency Room_5.jpg
Emergency Room's Dan Andriano (photo by Katie Hovland)

"His voice sounds familiar; I feel like I've heard it somewhere before" says a girl at Subterranean as Dan Andriano's distinctive voice strained to reach a note. Andriano sounds so familiar because (a) his voice is so unique — vocal power builds from his stomach and mutedly emanates from somewhere in the middle of his throat for the climaxes while lisping over the chorus lines, and (b) because Adriano is, and has been, the bassist/singer for Chicago punk rock band Alkaline Trio since 1997. Aside from the comfortable familiarity of Andriano's voice, his Emergency Room side project is distinctly different from Alkaline Trio — it's all acoustic. And, while some of Andriano's angst seems to have softened over the past 13 years, his songwriting still expresses the same somber futilities of being.

Each of Emergency Room's songs felt like it was written alone, at a small table in a half-lit hotel room after days on the road. Fittingly, Andriano was on stage alone; just a mic and a guitar. "It's Gonna Rain All Day" and "September" were the first of the night to convey the theme. Underlining the lyrics, Andriano wailed out the AAAA AAAA's with his eyes closed and mouth wide open to the ceiling in "September". Later on Andriano weaved "Me and Denver" and "This Light" into the set. It was about waking up alone in hotel rooms, staring at the ceiling (It's Gonna Rain All Day") and missing and praying to get home soon ("Me and Denver"). It was about awkward silences over long distance discussions and being asked to come home ("This Light"). Emphasizing the message, Andriano even added a raspy cover of the Carole King song "So Far Away" (Doesn't anyone stay in one place anymore?).

Emergency Room_4.jpg
Emergency Room's Dan Andriano (photo by Katie Hovland)

Fortunately for all the black-rimmed-glasses-wearing, unshaven Alkaline Trio fans, Andriano also fit in a number of the punk band's songs. The male-dominated crowd sang along to the familiar lyrics of "Burned is the House", "The Standard Break", "If You Had a Bad Time" and set closer "Fine". Andriano's scratchy vocals and emphatic strumming conveyed the raw emotion of each song and almost demanded physical movement from the crowd but, being acoustically limited, never quite made it happen. It was a bit of a nostalgic nod to Alkaline Trio.

A summary of the acoustic set wouldn't be complete without at least mentioning the ironically obnoxious 21st birthday party. The four partiers held down a front row spot on the second floor railing where they loudly watched videos on an iPhone during the acoustic opener (who does that?), disrupted everyone around the railing, drunkenly spilled beer on the people below them, hooted and yelled for no reason (did I mention that this was an acoustic set?), laughed and talked over songs and snuck onstage and then backstage at the end. Ironically, in a male-dominated, alternative / punk-based crowd the obnoxious foursome was not a testosterone-loaded group of guys — it was four girls.

 
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Pinto and the Bean / December 5, 2010 1:13 PM

Wow, that 21st birthday jazz would really make me mad. I haven't really listened to Alkaline Trio in years, but I really wish I knew about this show. I'd love to have seen Dan's acoustic set.

Paul

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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