|« Catch D.C.-Favorite U.S. Royalty Rock the Beat Kitchen||Picturing Riot Fest 2013 »|
Review Tue Sep 17 2013
On Saturday night, Rocket From the Crypt returned to Chicago after a 10-year break. (Their "last" show was in 2005, but they hadn't toured for a couple years prior to that.) The San Diego rock'n'roll band had its highs in the mid-90s with the much-heralded Scream, Dracula, Scream and the equally heralded (yet harder-to-find until a re-release many years later) Hot Charity, but never really had any low points through their career. And I've never heard of anyone who saw them that had anything less than great to say about their performance. So could they continue to impress after a long hiatus?
From the start, it was clear that John Reis (a.k.a. Speedo) didn't miss a beat as the jovial frontman whose over-the-top stage banter always carried a wink and a smile. When they launched into "Dollar", it also became clear that the band's musicianship hadn't deteriorated. Now, it wasn't perfect, but it's also rock'n'roll and has some license to be a little raw. They tore through all eras of their discography, from 1992's "Don't Darlene" to 2002's "I'm Not Invisible" and hits like "On a Rope" to the lesser-known "Jumper K Balls."
As Reis pointed out late in the show, though, it's not just about what's happening on stage. Yes, he's the star of the show with tall tales of awe in seeing an elevated train for the first time, coming from a fishing village to impress Chicagoans, guitarist ND having cancer of the foot because he was in a walking boot from twisting an ankle, etc. But the joy and enthusiasm of the crowd added immensely with the entire front half of Double Door singing along, dancing, hanging on every word from Reis and rocking out through each song. RFTC's performances tend to bring out the best in crowds. And when any band feels the love that was exuded on Saturday, it's hard for them to not be at the top of their game. After an hour and a half and nearing 2:30 a.m., the show came to a close on a rousing "Come See, Come Saw" that left no doubt that RFTC's not lost any ground in the rock'n'roll hierarchy.