Saturday, March 21, 2009

Review: The Queers live in Chicago

Upon a strong, mutual craving for Chicago-style pizza late one night last week, my girlfriend and I decided to boogie on down to the Windy City for the weekend. With no real plans in mind beyond grabbing a slice from Ronny’s downtown, I was stoked to learn from TheOneTrueBill that the Queers were going to be in town on Saturday night. My girlfriend was a little apprehensive having never heard the Queers, but on the drive down I played “See Ya Later Fuckface” for her and that was all the persuasion she needed.

Arriving late and just barely missing the openers, I was impressed at the sizeable crowd the Queers were able to draw at Reggie's. Of course, it makes sense (Chicago being home to a proud plenty of unapologetic opinionators, much like the Queers themselves and hometown favorites Screeching Weasel), but the only other time I’d seen the Queers was along with about 50 others in the dingy Des Moines metal dive Hairy Mary’s before it closed. So having a shoulder-to-shoulder mob chanting “This place sucks!” in preparation for a classic Queers set with original drummer/singer Wimpy joining the trio that included Joe Queer, Dangerous Dave and Adam Waranoff of the Leftovers on drums was a pleasant surprise.

The band came on stage and played the first handful of songs as a trio that included some of Joe’s great sing-alongs such as “Fuck This World,” “Like a Parasite,” “No Tit” and “Hi Mom, It’s Me.” The crowd was as lively and gracefully obnoxious as you would expect of a punk rock melee on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and erupted with approval when Joe paused to introduce Wimpy as he charged on stage. Wimpy and crew played about 15 minutes of material from the Drunken Cholos and classic Queers catalog including “We’d Have a Riot Doing Heroin,” “This Place Sucks,” “Monster Zero” and “Kicked Out of the Webelos.” Though it was certainly a fun opportunity to see the band with Wimpy and hear the more Circle Jerks / Angry Samoans-influenced than Ramones / Beach Boys version of the band live, I was glad Wimpy took a breather and the trio resumed again with Joe at the mic.

Rounding out their set with some of my favorites like “Ursula Finally Has Tits,” “Born to Do Dishes” and “Punk Rock Girls,” the Queers touched all their bases in the relatively short set, including two nods to Chicago legends Screeching Weasel both with their own “Ben Weasel” and a cover of “Cindy’s on Methadone.” Wimpy came out one more time for another short blast of ageless punk fury and an encore rendition of “This Place Sucks."

As sweaty kids in leather jackets poured out onto the sidewalk, I was left with little doubt that the Queers probably put on the best live show of any band 27 years into existence. Scratch that -- they still put on one of the best live shows, period. And according to Joe, they have a new album coming out next year, which is sure to be fantastic.

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