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Thursday, December 14

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Review Fri Apr 06 2012

Review: Wild Flag, Hospitality @ Metro, 4/5

There has been a lot written over the years about second acts in American lives, or the lack thereof. Many musicians have tried to follow up great success with different success. Some have triumphed. Others have crashed and burned. While it might be silly to some people to suggest that Wild Flag, born from the ashes of Sleater-Kinney, Helium and the Minders, could somehow live up to the sum of those acts, perhaps nobody told that to the ladies in Wild Flag. They have a fresh approach, unlike anyone who'd be cashing in on past successes with a phoned-in product. On their self-titled debut, the guitars are aggressive, the keys add pop and Janet Weiss' drumming is frenetic, as always.

At last night's sold out Metro show, the band was top-notch performing most of their debut, as well as new tracks and a few surprises. They began with "Electric Band", which is as close to a theme as they'll get without something called "The Wild Flag Song." Once the crowd settled after a couple familiar tracks, the band dropped in a few new songs that stayed consistent with their fiery tempo; one even coming across with a little Gang of Four-like angular sound. The set was front-loaded with Mary Timony-led songs that inspired her to strike rock star poses as she wailed, as long as they didn't interfere with her and Carrie Brownstein's little kicks. (At one point, Brownstein commented about the Nationals/Cubs game across the street and appeared shocked by the boos from many White Sox fans in attendance.)

Even though most of the album tracks didn't stray much from the record, "Glass Tambourine" and "Racehorse" featured significant diversions with a little psych-rock influence before falling back into place. A frenzied "Romance" closed out the main set to wild cheers from a mostly respectful crowd. For the encore, Wild Flag went to one of their hidden strengths in three covers - Television's "See No Evil", Bobby Freeman's "Do You Wanna Dance?" (closer to the Ramones' version) and Fugazi's "Margin Walker." They may never be revered like the bands the members are best known for, but that doesn't seem like their objective. Writing good songs, being entertaining, having a hell of a lot of fun? That's more like it. And they're certainly getting that done.

Hospitality opened with a set of catchy yet conventional indie-rock songs that sounded like if Camera Obscura had a bit more bite but less melody. Their set was also plagued with a strange mix in which the vocals took a while to get right and the bass guitar dominated, which led to one of the few times I've ever heard an audience member yell, "Turn it down."

 
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John / April 11, 2012 2:19 PM

Enjoyed the write-up!

I couldn't quite justify spending the money to see them a third time in nine months but I'm glad to see my fellow Sox fans were there to represent real Chicago in the belly of the beast.

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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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