DeKalb Rocks multi-band reunion at Abbey Pub

Last week at the Abbey Pub the city of Chicago became home to a handful of bands from the DeKalb area that were around in the 1980s that all reunited just for a pair of shows (the other being in the actual town of DeKalb). The highlight of this show for me was the reuniting of Blatant Dissent, who I’ve been a fan of since their first 7″ came out while I was in high school (on my friend’s Landmind Records label), but never got to see “back in the day”.


Otis Ball and the Chains


Otis Ball and the Chains


Otis Ball and the Chains

When I walked in the club the first band, Otis Ball and the Chains, were about half way through their set. Their music was pretty upbeat almost country twanged rock and roll. The singer, Otis, had some goofy outfit on which I believe has been his trademark as long as he’s been doing the band. They were pretty fun.


Ring 13


Ring 13


Ring 13

Next up was Ring 13. I was told they were pretty wild in their day and that they only put out a cassette which I sadly never heard before. They were more of a traditional punk rock/hardcore band and I could see sparks of volatility in there which would explain why the band was so short lived. I really liked them and now I hope somebody unearths their tape and digitizes it so I can hear it!


Happy Hunting


Happy Hunting


Happy Hunting


Happy Hunting

Happy Hunting soon followed. They featured a member from Blatant Dissent. They reminded me a lot of the mid 1980s “College Rock” sound that labels like SST and Homestead were releasing back near the end of my high school tenure. The songs were very melodic and had a variety of musical influences. It made me feel both old and young again at the same time. They played about a half hour, all of which was pretty enjoyable.


Subverts


Subverts


Subverts


Subverts

A band I always assumed was from Chicago but turns out was from Sycamore (near DeKalb), The Subverts played next. I have their one and only 7″ and thought it was quite good so I was pretty jazzed to see them. I think they were one of the Suburbs’ first punk bands as they pre-date just about any Suburban Chicago punk band I can think of. They played some songs from their 7″ along with a couple of covers. They were a little rough around the edges, surely a sign of not having played together in over two decades, but they still sounded really good and it was neat to see such an obscure old band!


Blatant Dissent


Blatant Dissent


Blatant Dissent


Blatant Dissent

At this point the moment had arrived, I’d finally be seeing Blatant Dissent! They started playing and I was almost instantly transformed in my mind to my teenage skateboarding years where I used to listen to their first 7″ constantly. They played all the songs from that EP, the second 7″ and some other tracks that ended up on the Hold the Fat LP. They tagged drummers in and out twice during the set depending on which songs they were playing.


Blatant Dissent


Blatant Dissent


Blatant Dissent

The songs all sounded great and considering some of those guys hadn’t been up on a stage in over a decade in any band there was no real sign of “ring rust”. I know they took the show pretty seriously and rehearsed quite a bit before it and it really showed, they sounded awesome. When they played “Hands are Tied” it made the 25 year wait to see them live all worthwhile!


Blatant Dissent


Blatant Dissent


Blatant Dissent


Blatant Dissent

After 45 minutes Blatant Dissent ran out songs and then members from all the various bands came up on stage and played a final number together before the club had to clear people out for the next show. On my way out I saw a lot of smiles on people’s faces as the crowd was like some sort of High School/College reunion of sorts and it was fun to be a part of it.


3 Responses to “DeKalb Rocks multi-band reunion at Abbey Pub”

  1. Cheney says:

    Great article, and great show! One thing – The Subverts are not a suburban band, but from Sycamore/Dekalb.

  2. Oldie says:

    This was a fun night! Hadn’t seen most of these bands in more than 20 years, so the whole thing was kick ass. I will say that of all the bands I saw that night, I was a little shocked that Happy Hunting wasn’t more rock than they were. I’d seen them back in the day and though I enjoyed them, they weren’t much like I remembered, or should I say that the Guitarist, who I had seen absolutely shred back in the day with Happy Hunting and later with Lava Sutra, was not the Blonde Jimmy Paige anymore, but more shall we say… “Practiced?” “Noodlie?”

    Blatant Dissent was killer! Never thought I’d see those guys together again. Ton of fun to see that lineup and hear what are really some great songs.

    Ring 13 shocked me, as I had never seen them before, but man! I guess the Subverts hadn’t played in the longest time, and didn’t have their drummer, so they were a little wobbly at first, but how cool to see a classic late 70′s early 80′s punk band from Illinois.

    Otis Ball – Didn’t get to see more than the tail end of Otis’ set since he played first, so hopefully I’ll get another chance.