The Effigies and Life Sentence 5/16 at Reggies

It was an old school punk weekend last week as I went to two shows in two nights. Saturday night I went over to Reggie’s to see two more old(er) Chicago punk rock bands: The Effigies and Life Sentence. Originally The Freeze were supposed to headline this show but sadly they canceled their tour which means I have no idea if I’ll ever get to see them play. It also made the sting of choosing this show over seeing Wolves in the Throne Room play the same night hurt a little more. Ah well, the curiosity of seeing Eric B’s new version of Life Sentence was enough to warrant the choice in shows this evening.


M.O.T.O.


M.O.T.O.


M.O.T.O.

This show started really early and due to being sidetracked by skating, I completely missed the first band and arrived in the middle of the M.O.T.O.‘s set.  I’ve seen them play quite a few times so I knew exactly what to expect which is short and catchy garagey punk songs. They really have a knack for writing catchy songs and are always enjoyable to see play live. I felt bad for them since when I arrived they were playing to a pretty empty club. I’m guessing the nice weather and early start time kept the people away.


Life Sentence


Life Sentence


Life Sentence

Next up was Life Sentence. I caught a glimpse of Eric B as he said hello to me as I was walking in the club and I have to say that he looks like he lived every story you heard about him. Had it not been for seeing a fairly recent photo of him on myspace I wouldn’t have recognized him at all.  He looks like he had a lot of hard years on the street and he was even sporting a black eye.  On stage with him was a collection of musicians who as far as I know hadn’t done time in Life Sentence at all in the old days pre or post lawsuit.


Life Sentence


Life Sentence


Life Sentence

The crowd had only increased in size a little bit since I arrived which I found odd. I thought for sure the curiosity factor of seeing Life Sentence would have brought a whole bunch of people out to the club.  The band tried to stall as much as possible before starting their set but then they had no choice but to go on. Eric immediately demanded that everyone come up in front and made some other small talk and then the band finally started playing. I didn’t recognize the song they opened with but it sounded a lot better than I feared. A couple songs later and I recognized my favorite Life Sentence song, “Problems”. In between songs Eric was constantly telling the crowd to dance, move, have fun and that it really didn’t matter because they already had their money. He also was constantly using the term, “nigga please” which I wasn’t much of a fan of.


Life Sentence


Life Sentence


Life Sentence

Musically the band were pretty good and it was obvious they practiced a bit before this show as they did a good job performing the songs. I couldn’t help but feel while watching Eric that I was watching the punk rock version of “The Wrestler” and it made me a little sad. Eric was very much like the punk rock Randy “The Ram” who was up on that stage playing these old songs after living a hard life because that’s all he has. I was looking at him trying to picture the guy I saw in that same position 22 years ago when I last saw them play and every once in awhile I caught a glimpse of him but overall the experience left me with a strange uneasy feeling.

The Effigies set up their equipment and then some strange young fellow got up on stage and sat down and attempted to entertain the crowd with some really bad “comedy” and equally bad songs. At least I think he was trying to be funny but it failed miserably and I was surprised no one in the crowd actually left during this aural assault. During his second attempt at a “song” Paul from The Effigies tapped him on the shoulder and had him stop and leave the stage as the band picked up their equipment to finally start playing.


The Effigies


The Effigies


The Effigies


The Effigies

The Effigies finally started playing and I forget what song they started with, but whichever one it was sounded as good as always and made for a strong start. The band played their usual set of older material and stuff from their last album, but this time they mixed in a couple of new songs too! The new songs sounded excellent and leaves me hopeful that they’ll record another record sometime before the end of the decade. The crowd in attendance seemed to be enjoying themselves, especially Eric from Life Sentence who was front and center the entire time singing along to the old songs and enjoying the new ones too. The band played a strong set that ended with “Body Bag” and then came out for a couple song encore as well.