Friday, May 13, 2016

Show review: Chain and the Gang bring the goods to Third Man Records

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2016 at 5:59 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY MIKE PFEIFFER
  • Photo by Mike Pfeiffer

I shouldn’t be telling you about Wednesday night with Chain and the Gang at Third Man Records. Ian, the singer from Chain & the Gang, told us to keep it secret— a shared experience for only those present, because if you missed out on it, well, let’s just say you really missed out. I’ll be the mole, I’ll break it down for you as best I can, but remember to keep this between us.

Let’s start with the venue, Third Man— what a beautiful place. Shiny, hardwood floors, decorated with local rock and roll memorabilia and specialty vinyl you’ll have a hard time finding anywhere else. At the back of the store there’s an incredible intimate venue space with an awesome sound system. Back further beyond that, there’s a bar and beer tap. Yes, Third Man Records really does have it all.

Death Valley Girls opened the show to a growing crowd. While they played Detroit just a week, ago they were excited to do it all again. Wearing matching, black, faux-witch garb, they blew into their set of garage rocking psych with wild abandon. Most of the songs came from their upcoming album, Glow in the Dark. The standout songs featured the singer, Bonnie, playing organ while trading off vocals with other members of the band.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY MIKE PFEIFFER
  • Photo by Mike Pfeiffer

Chain & the Gang is fronted by the alarmingly charismatic Ian Svenonius. He’s a unique, powerhouse performer who never stops moving or chattering on stage. He does wild kicks so close to the audience you’ve got to pull your head back. His backing band is a tight female duo on guitar and bass, and a male drummer in the back. They wore shiny, silver suits that give them the appearance of a mod-punk soul band, with Svenonius leading the revival. Their set was a loose string of songs all held together by Svenonius bantering between them on topics from sports stadiums to the worth of America’s dollar.

While the songs all had a very similar pattern of trading vocal lines set to garage rocking soul, it was never for a second dull and a wholly exhilarating experience. And if what you just read sounds like a fantastic experience, well, that’s only the half of it. The other half? I’ll never tell.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY MIKE PFEIFFER
  • Photo by Mike Pfeiffer

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