Clinic, Happy Supply, Tenki - Saturday, 9/15 @ The Empty Bottle

Happy Supply. The first band to take the stage. Two kids, a geeky boy and a nerdy girl. A guitar and keyboard. Sounds like a formula for the rock...and it was. Local band Happy Supply brought it down for the small early crowd with ten or so tracks of early New Order, Weezer, Beach Boys, They Might Be Giants, lo- fi, indier-than-Jesus, nasaly geek rock goodness. "It's my birthday,” said the boy in his high, insecure voice. "In an hour it's terra's (other half of Happy Supply)...it was a long labor." As he finished his quite words, a bra came flying up on to the stage. "Happy birthday!" someone yelled and he hung it on the mic stand in another awesome display of rock.

Tenki. Band number two. Also a local band. It was my first time seeing the elbo room regulars, and they included an interesting mix of players: Two frat boys, a chubby comic book store owner type, a guy with long gray hair in his late 40's, and a indie hipster type in vintage clothes and Radiohead buttons. Tenki's not my type of rock. Not to say they weren't good. I was mildly impressed. I had expected a train wreck of all these personalities, but they played crowd-pleasing noise loud and long. It was good background music to take a trip to the bar and prepare for the rock ahead.

After a few minutes of equipment change, four men in hospital scrubs and surgical masks plowed through the now packed room toward the stage. This is Liverpool England’s Clinic. One of the first bands of the forth-coming rock revolution that will change rock 'n roll into something we can be proud of again. They took their places at the organ, hollow body guitars, bass and drums, and it began. I wish I could tell you what they played first, but the excitement and beer obscures the memory. The Clinic set was a short 30 minutes long, but packed end to end with a non-stop force of Velvets, Radiohead, Placebo and the Strokes infused rock music without slow down and no between song words besides the occasional "cheers". Clinic blazed through studio true versions (a good thing in this case) of "CQ", "Return of Evil Bill", "Internal Wrangler" and "2/4" with blistering intensity. There were no slower moments, no "Distortions". But somehow, that didn't seem to matter. It was an amazing half-hour. That's all I can say. When I finally went to sleep that night, I slept soundly knowing that there actually is a future for rock, and I had just witnessed it.

--Dan B., Chicago - dbarth@artic.edu


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