On Tuesday April 1st, with ten days remaining on their epic six week tour, Iron Chic descended on Chicago’s Township. Never heard of them? Well, you should have. Their LP entitled The Constant One was one of the most coveted releases of 2013. As the band made their way across the country, it was hard to avoid the continual status updates on social media platforms expressing the sheer joy in seeing such a great performance, night after night. Of course, I was interested to see if they could live up to all the hype. Not many bands can sell out a venue on a chilly Tuesday night in the Midwest as they did.
The show was opened by Chicago’s own Brickfight. I’ve written plenty about these guys in the past year. In fact, my friend and photographer Patrick and I just released an interview them earlier this month. That being said, I’ll keep my praises to a minimum. Brickfight consists of four fun, drunk and talented dudes who play punk songs which are fast without being thrashy, catchy without being poppy and tend to be about drinking. Their banter was on point that night as Jonathan (guitar/vocals) joked with a drunken crowd member about her request for them to play something from the musical Grease. Looking around at the crowd, their set as openers did exactly what it was purposed to do. The crowd was dancing, drinking and smiling.
The second band of the night was Chicago’s Horace Pinker. The band formed in 1991 in Arizona and has since reestablished themselves in the Midwest. This four piece plays melodic pop punk, light on the pop, with the kind of political based lyrics frequented and mastered by many mid 90s punk bands. With twenty some odd years behind them, the band is skilled at their craft, lacing every song with catchy hooks. To me, their sound is reminiscent something you would find on a old Fat Wreck Comp. Between songs, lead singer and guitarist Scott personally thanked Mike Dumps (of Iron Chic) for asking Horace Pinker to play the show. In fact, Iron Chic hand-picked both openers for the evening. As their set came to a close, the room didn’t empty as it tends to do between bands. Fewer people went outside for a smoke break. Fewer people were standing in line at the bar. It felt like something big was eminent.
As Iron Chic sound checked, the venue filled to maximum capacity. I was pushed against a wall as three 6 foot tall dudes decided to stand directly in my line of vision. When the band played the first note of the first song, the room became an explosion of crowd surfers and fist pumps. People who were unfamiliar with each other were soon in an embrace, singing along to every word. Every lyric became a gang vocal part. Crowd members in the front row continually mounted the stage to sing along with Jason Lubrano as he stood calmly in the middle of chaos, eyes closed. From song to song, the energy of the crowd never dwindled; even the slow songs seemed to be meant for fist pumping. The crowd was so massive and full of movement that Patrick had to crawl onto the stage to be able to take decent photographs. The room quickly became hot, packed and sweaty. It got to the point where the air no longer seems to do any justice, almost as if the oxygen has been used up. As a grand finale to the set, a flailing crowd surfer looking for a handhold accidentally ripped down a ceiling tile right before the tenth and final song. Although the set seemed short, time-wise, everyone walked away (exceedingly sweaty) with smiles on their faces. Iron Chic’s live performance is as good as what all my friends all over the country had been saying for weeks. It was one of those shows that resonates with you so deeply that you go home, put on their discography and cannot listen to anything else for weeks afterwards.