The Vibrators 9/22 at The Note

Saturday night Cheddar Nines and (along with Couple of 2) went to The Note to see The Vibrators. This was I believe my fourth time seeing them play in the past few years and each time they always put on a great show. After lucking out not only in the traffic department but also the traffic, we got there shortly before the first band started.


The Germans


The Germans


The Germans

The Germans were up first. They were a pretty energetic rock/punk band and had a few decent songs. They then played a Dicks cover and as any regular reader can attest, that is pretty much a deal breaker for me. In the time it took them to learn how to play that song (and fuck it up and restart it no less), they could have written their own song instead of soiling, and botching a classic punk tune. I guess there is no accounting for going for the cheap pop instead of trying to win an audience over on your own merits and talent. All they needed to do was say “it’s so great to be back here in Chicago” to really make the bush-league circle complete.


Daily Void


Daily Void


Daily Void


Daily Void

I don’t think even ten minutes went by before Daily Void took the stage. I recognized one of the guys in the band as having been in Functional Blackouts, which also explained why their CD’s were being sold at the merch table. Daily Void had some similarities to Functional Blackouts but they seemed a lot more coherent and weren’t doing the “forced chaos” gimmick that FB seemed to have. They had a raw, lo-fi, energetic sound with a definite bit of a Stooges influence to them as well. I really enjoyed them. They did however lose points when they played a Dicks cover*. No, I didn’t cut and paste that accidentally from the last paragraph, they did one too. At least it wasn’t the same song. Now I’m not in a band and the closest thing I’ve come to being in one is being a regular part of the Insane War Tomatoes stage show back in they day and then last week singing substitute backup vocals for Destroy Everything during one of their practices in Stiff Mittens’ absence; but I would think that if you were playing a show and the band before you did a Dicks cover, you might want to maybe omit that from your set. I mean aside from the fact that new punk bands covering old punk songs is a bad idea in practice, that is akin to being part of a wrestling show and using the exact same finish as the match that just preceded you. If two guys working the match before you went to a no-finish because one guy’s buddy did a run in and delivered a chair shot to the opponent, you are not going to book the next match the exact same way! I did like them despite their poor judgment and would like to see them play again, I just hope they’ll stick to doing their own material.


The Peelers


The Peelers


The Peelers


The Peelers

The Peelers took the stage not too long after Daily Void vacated it. I was really appreciating the efficiency of how this show was being run! It has been a few years since I’ve seen them play, and I actually didn’t know they were still a band. They sounded totally different this time from what I remember of them a few years ago. Couple of 2 made a very astute observation that the band appeared to be a punk rock Village People. Each member had a different outfit/costume and seemed like different characters, but it wasn’t like it was their intention. They played with a lot of energy but something about their style just didn’t click with me personally. They did seem to have their share of fans in the audience as there were a handful of people up front dancing around an getting into it. They clicked even less with me when they covered The Zeros, “Don’t Push Me Around”. Ugh! I’m not sure how many people in the audience caught that one.


The Vibrators


The Vibrators

After a bit of time for a set change, The Vibrators took the stage. The first thing I noticed is they had a different (and younger) drummer this time out, making Knox the only original member up on the stage. I am not sure what happened to the original guy, they mentioned something about it during the show but I didn’t hear what it was that they said. This new guy was a very energetic and powerful drummer and filled the slot quite nicely. This guy really beat the shit out his drums, it looked like he hit them so hard that I almost felt sorry for the skins! The band were as tight and as energetic as ever. They really are a great live band and I don’t think a bad Vibrators performance is something that is even possible. They played pretty much what you’d expect including a lot of their popular songs of various tempos and the crowd ate it up. There were people of all ages pogoing around the room and singing along with the choruses.


The Vibrators


The Vibrators

At one point when I decided I was done shooting photos, I was standing on the steps on the side of the stage when some chubby drunk asshole came running up the stairs and hit me from behind and knocked me down. Really he didn’t hit me so much as he just plowed into me and bowled me over. It hit me completely unexpectedly and it was all I could do to keep my camera from crashing to the floor when I went down. Then this fuckwit was still on top of me and I don’t know if he was trying to grab me and pull me up to “dance” with him or what. He finally got up and I think he was going to try and dance on the stage or do something stupid. Security quickly apprehended him and kicked him out. It took me about a minute to get my composure and register what happened and get to my feet. I walked in the direction they took him in hopes of giving the guy a much deserved punch in the face but they already had him outside on the sidewalk by the time I got off the stage and looked in the direction of the door.


The Vibrators


The Vibrators

The Vibrators played about 40 minutes and then left the stage. The crowd wanted more and a couple minutes later they came back for an encore. During this encore they did a Ramones cover and a Clash cover. It seemed strange to me that they would do that. The band has such great songs of their own and quite a full catalog. I know their new drummer only knew a handful of their songs so they couldn’t play some of the songs people in the crowd were requesting but I didn’t know how to feel about an old punk band doing cover songs of bands that were around at the same time as them but were much more popular! I was conflicted! Ultimately it didn’t bother me as much as when newer bands do old songs, plus The Vibrators are such a great live act, I think they could have played just about anything and made it sound good.

So after seeing them for a fourth time now, The Vibrators left me feeling at the end of the night the same way I did all the other times that I’ve seen them; they are a great live act that is worth seeing again and again.

Additional photos from the show can be seen on MXV’s Flickr stream.

*Disclaimer: I know I probably come across as a bit of a snob for always bitching about new punk bands doing covers of old punk songs and I know one reader of this site who has publicly bitched me out in the comments for just such a thing, but I am telling you I don’t find anything less appealing than a recent band who is playing a style of music that has been around three decades resorting to such cheap-heat tactics as playing old punk songs. Punk rock was supposed to be about being original, being yourself, being different and doing it yourself. When you cover old punk songs, you are spitting in the face of one of the main things punk stood for. You aren’t being original and you aren’t doing it yourself. You are lowering yourself to the level of bar cover band. Yeah punk rock has become contemporary these days but be better than that. It was cool when punk bands covered old rock songs because they were a different genre and the punk bands would do their own take on these songs and make them their own most of the time. A hardcore band covering a Minor Threat song isn’t the same thing, it’s generic. Sadly this practice has become commonplace and I think it’s a real shame especially when these bands have proven to be able to write good songs of their own. That is my opinion on the subject and why I find the whole practice so bothersome. End disclaimer