(4/25/07 update: this show is now available for download from the LMA)
The last time I caught Brothers Past was in this same exact room last fall. While that was definitely a fun show, it was clear the band was getting through some growing pains with their new drummer Ilya Stemkovsky (who just came on board in 2006). Some fans thought the band might have been moving away from the darker, dance-focused electronica. Although I still tend to miss the band’s older sound, Saturday night’s show featured a much more cohesive unit and some serious energy. For most of the hardcore fans in attendance, my sense was that Brothers Past took care of any misconceptions or questions about their sound and direction. BP brought its A-game and did not disappoint.
More photos and commentary after the jump…
Whether it was the dark, hot, and smoky atmosphere of the Beat Kitchen, or the late-night rowdy fans streaming in from other Green Apple festival shows, this was a late-night Chicago dance party at its best. If you’re a fan of the darker side of improvisational electronic music, this would have been your show.
The first set featured a bunch of solid stand-alone tunes, with highlights like “Big Blue Apples,” “Up In Arms,” and a cover of Radiohead’s “National Anthem” coming late in the set. But the first set was apparently just a primer. The band came out tore right into a huge version of “Getaway Somehow” that featured guitarist Tom Hamilton setting aside his guitar to focus on adding some intricate beats and bleeps from his laptop into their large swath of electronic sounds.
They then segued into a ripping’ version of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” only to slow things down into funky syncopated rhythm. This slower groove nearly touched on the edges of hip-hop and somehow made its way into a raucous version of their dance-rocker “Let’s Start a Gang.” Although this segment was probably the best of the night, the “Everything Must Go -> A Wonderful Day” segment that ended the set was no sleeper. These two signature BP songs drove the point home with a mix of dark, dance-oriented jamming and emotional, dare I say, “indie” rock. For some, Hamilton’s somewhat whiny vocals are a deterrent, but I always felt that his singing and songwriting added an amount of emotional depth that other bands don’t really try to achieve. Sometimes it works really well; sometimes it turns people off. But like most BP shows, the songs are often just an interlude to the electronic improvisation. So even for those in attendance not singing along to the acoustic version of “A Wonderful Day,” Brothers Past gave fans a compelling reason to let off some serious steam in the wee hours of a beautiful Chicago night.
You can check out the full photo set here.
Brothers Past 4/21/07 Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen
I: One Rabbit Race, Leave The Light On, Dressed Up Worn Down, State Police, Big Blue Apples, Up In Arms, National Anthem
II: Getaway Somehow -> Love Will Tear Us Apart -> Let’s Start A Gang -> The Mirror, What’s On Your Mind, Everything Must Go -> A Wonderful Day