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Concert Fri Jan 24 2014

Review: Perfect Pussy @ Schubas 1/22


Photo credit - The Guardian

Perfect Pussy created a little bit of a reputation for themselves with their chaotic shows during the CMJ music marathon last year. They parlayed that buzz into a well received EP, I Have Lost All Lost All Desire For Feeling. They were subsequently signed by the tastemaker label Captured Tracks, and tasked with recording a full length album and going on tour.

I arrived at Schubas on Wednesday around 8:30 to an increasingly full house. I grabbed a beer and made my way through the growing crowd. The band was already on stage setting up, and without much fanfare or warning, started playing around 8:45. The problem with that was they weren't supposed to start until 9.

Dressed like an Edie Sedgwick acolyte and charismatically prancing around like Janelle MonĂ¡e, Meredith Graves alongside her comrade in arms commanded the attention of everybody in the room. Abrasive guitars and drony electronics captivated the audience as they played the entirety of their EP and a few other songs at a breakneck speed. And just as quickly and suddenly as they started, they ended; shortly before 9 o'clock when they were originally supposed to start in the first place. According to staff at the venue, they played a 14-minute set. A large amount of people who showed up right before 9 to see the band found themselves greeted by the news that they had missed them entirely and were a bit bemused.

I can't quite fully co-sign a band that only does a 14-minute set. Let me explain. Fourteen minute sets can be sensible in certain situations. In the middle of a bill of some showcase at a music festival like CMJ or (inevitably) SXSW, where volume is key and you share the stage with a large amount of bands, short and intense performances can make sense. But at this point Perfect Pussy has gotten signed by a legitimate label, are recording a full length album, are in the middle of a highly publicized national tour and are getting attention from major media outlets. They are no longer a nameless band struggling for time. For lack of a better term, they've graduated. Thus, they need to play reasonably longer shows.

I'm against artificially padding set lengths with unnecessary covers and fake encores, but I'm not seeing much of a reason why they couldn't have played a little more of their new material. Also, start at the time you're supposed to. It's really not cool to have people pay and travel to see you, only to discover that they missed your set because you decided to start and finish early. The 14 minutes I heard were tremendous. Songs like "II" sounded spectacular in a live setting. The framework is clearly there. As a functioning band, they need a little bit of work though. I'm not too worried, I have a feeling they'll get there.

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Susan S / January 24, 2014 2:10 PM

Showing up only for the headliner however is disrespectful to the opening bands. Show up around the time doors open and you won't miss a thing.

Dutch101 / January 24, 2014 3:09 PM

Disrespectful to the opening bands? Who cares? It's my entertainment money, and if I want to only see the headliner, that's my prerogative. ASIDE from starting 15 minutes early, only playing a 15 minute set displays a disturbing lack of professionalism. Not exactly the way you want to get buzz.

Nick / January 24, 2014 3:15 PM

What Susan said.

VC / January 24, 2014 3:47 PM

You're complaining about a punk band playing a 14-minute set? How many hardcore shows have you ever been to?

Jeff / January 24, 2014 3:50 PM

Fuck your assessment of how a band should "want" to get buzz or otherwise. That is a uniquely asinine internet music journo sentiment that has no place in rock and roll.

Susan S / January 24, 2014 5:40 PM

Give this a thought too: if the two opening bands finished before 8:30 how is it Perfect Pussy's fault that they played at 8:45?

Jen Foxxx / January 24, 2014 6:10 PM

Just a reminder: Schuba's and other non-punk clubs tell the bands when to go on. The bands do not make that decision. Also: 14 minutes is about 4 minutes too long for a hardcore set.

orangefanta / January 24, 2014 7:43 PM

This review reads like someone's dad wrote it

Langdon Alger / January 24, 2014 8:02 PM

I think it's very disrespectful that someone writing for a web site that's supposed to cover Chicago music didn't bother turning up in time to catch the two Chicago bands that opened. I hope your journalism professor gave you a D for this.

VC / January 24, 2014 8:43 PM

So... What do the other people in the band look like? Oh.

A fellow critic / January 24, 2014 10:29 PM

Yeah, it's your entertainment dollar, but if you're writing a review of a show which includes Chicago locals for a Chicago music column, you cover the openers. This whole review is misguided in every way. I do this for a living too; you missed every point.

Fuck All Commentors / January 24, 2014 10:57 PM

Apparently Beliebers have adopted Perfect Pussy. Fuck you thirteen year old shitbags. Also, if you are a fellow critic without the balls to call out another critic and use your own name; nothing you say is credible.

Jessica Skolnik / January 24, 2014 11:26 PM

Fine, here's my full name, which I used on Twitter where I am saying the exact same things. I noticed you didn't use your real name either, perhaps because nobody else did here.
p.s. Nearly 35, don't own any balls. WIll you accept ovaries?

I got that the reviewer liked the set. I'm glad he did. I don't think he judged it fairly for many reasons. It's my right to think that.

r2d2 / January 26, 2014 4:30 AM

i really get where this reviewer is coming from, i love it when i go to "professional" shows and have to stand around for an hour between bands because the headliner is supposed to start at a certain time and not, you know, after the previous band finishes.

Andrew Huff / January 30, 2014 12:52 AM

@Jessica Skolnik: You have every right to criticize Justin for showing up late, however you left out that you're a member of one of the bands he missed, Split Feet, not just an objective "fellow critic."

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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 »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


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Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
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Buddy Guy's Legends
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Park West
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Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
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The Shrine
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Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

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  & Shops:

Alligator Records
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Groove Distribution
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Numero Group
mP Shows
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Victory Records

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