So I caught the Whigs the other night at Schuba’s here in Chicago.

As I’ve previously mentioned about these guys….they just rock, plain and simple.

And they were in full force at Schubas. Frontman Parker Gispert has an infectiously distinctive vocal growl, matching perfectly with the sparseness of their drums and bouncy bass lines. Their songs are simple, nostalgic, but original. Despite breaking some guitar strings on their only guitar — apparently their back-up was stolen –they tore through all original songs, mainly pulled from their 2005 album, Give Em All a Big Fat Lip.

The Whigs find subtle but effective ways to add textures and dynamics to the standard power trio, three-chord rock. Some of their best — or at least most interesting — playing came when they switched the instrumentation to keyboards and guitar, providing one of the rare guitar solos of the night in one of my favorite tunes, “Half the World Away.”

My only complaint was that they really stuck closely to the album material almost note-for-note, giving me the sense that their show didn’t really vary all that much from one night to the next. But perhaps I need to take off my “improv-centric” view of the world and recognize that the Whigs could probably care less about changing it up every night just to give fans like me a bit more “jam” to chew on. Why change what already works so well?


The Whigs are at Vanderbilt University’s Rites of Spring festival on Friday, April 20th, and the band has also lined up a slot at Bonnaroo this summer.