Last night I went to see The Adicts, Bang Sugar Bang, So Unloved, and a bunch of other bands play at the Wheaton Grand Theatre. Now Wheaton is only about a 15 minute drive from Combustion Manor, so it was nice that a show was so convienent to get to. Lewdd picked me up and we headed out to the venue. Sadly, no members of the klown army made it to the show for various reasons.
When we got there, it was around 6pm and the show was supposed to start at 5:30, however the doors weren’t open yet and there were lines going in both directions from the front doors. After about a half hour wait, they finally opened the doors. By the time we got through the disorganized line and into the venue, the show had already begun.
The venue is a really old movie theatre and stage that was built about 80 years ago. The place is either in the beginning stages of being rehabbed, or it is on life support as the place was a real mess. Stuff falling off the walls, scaffolding, half walls, and shifty wiring. In fact, I was stumbling over power chords all night. I was just waiting for the place to catch fire at any moment and both Lewdd and I had both taken notice of where the fire exits were as this place looked like disaster would strike at any minute. The makeshift barricade in front of the stage was also completely inadequate as the entire security force, plus recruits, had to push it against the crowd during The Adicts entire set to keep it from snapping off and having half the crowd tumble into what probably was once an orchestra pit in front of the stage.
I also question the logic of having a seven band bill at an all ages venue with a strict curfew. Unless you have an all day festival, there is never a good reason to have that many bands on one bill, it is just fatiguing to have to sit through that much stuff to see the band you came for, which is nearly every case is the headliner. Also, if you are going to overload your bill, open the fucking doors on time! Thanks to their poor booking decisions in having that many bands, and not getting their act together to open on time, all the bands except The Adicts played really abbreviated sets. Well, I will say most of them did, it seemed that some of the first acts were given way too long to play, and then some of the later ones got the shaft. I’ll get to that in a moment.
The first band that was playing when we walked it was called Rebel Angels (at least I am pretty sure they were). They didn’t’ do much for me, though they weren’t awful, and I honestly now can’t even remember what they really sounded like, and it wasn’t due to any drinking since there is no drinking in Wheaton (it is the most religious town in IL), not that I could afford it these days anyway. I don’t know how long they played since they started before I got in the door, but they could have easily trimmed a few songs off their set to make time for some of the later bands.
Bang Bang (Lewdd requested this shot!)
Next up were Bang Bang, a local act. They were fairly entertaining and featured a lady singer/bass player who was easy on the eyes. Props to her for her emblazoning the band name on her ass so no one would forget the name of their band. The crowd seemed to enjoy them as well as some of the young folks looked like they were trying out “moshing” for the first time. Now the problem with the kids these days is they learned how to do this archaic form of dancing by watching Pearl Jam and Blink 182 videos. They don’t follow the guidelines of the counter-clockwise circle, they just haphazardly ram into each other like they are human bumper cars. They will also ram into the crowd in the perimeter of their chaos zone for no apparent reason, perhaps thinking they’ll entice others to join in their “fun”, but usually it just results in them annoying the people around them.
After Bang Bang, next up were Detholz. They played 4 songs, one of which was a cover of a Cher song and the other a cover of “Faith” by George Michael. I’m assuming their whole gimmick was that it is supposed to be comedy, but the people weren’t buying it and their short set just seemed to drag on and on. Why these guys were picked for this lineup is a mystery to me, and with six other bands, it was completely unnecessary to have them there at all. If I was booking it and knowing I was short on time, I would have cut them to save time. Then again, I’d never book a seven band bill in the first place, especially when there is a curfew.
The Methadones were next and they were instructed that they get a whopping 15 minutes to play. They were instead given about 11. Now had you cut down on the set time of the first two bands, you could have given this band, who people really cared about seeing, ample time to play a set or at least more than three songs! The crowd were way into them and were screaming for more but it was not to be. The band were pretty pissed off about this too and rightly so. The three songs they played were very enjoyable melodic punk, which is exactly what you’d expect for a band that features ex-members of Screeching Weasel and Sludgeworth. I felt bad for them, not to mention I was enjoying their music and would have liked a few more songs.
So Unloved followed and half way through their set, they actually turned the lights on to illuminate the stage. You see, up until this point, the only lights on the stage were a few overhead white lights which meant all the bands were playing virtually in the dark. I heard one of the security guys mention that The Adicts mandated that the local bands didn’t get to use the lights. If this is true, that was a pretty assholish move that I’d expect from someone like a big rock band like Bon Jovi or even Danzig, but wouldn’t expect from a punk rock band. This meant I had to use the flash for all these opening band photos.
Anyway, back to the band. So Unloved consisted of 3 young girls on guitars and bass and a male drummer. These kids could rock too. Fast-paced punk/hardcore tunes that were full of energy. I was enjoying it but also felt a little like a dirty old man watching these little ladies tear up the stage. They played about 20 minutes and quickly left to make room for the final of the opening bands.
Bang Sugar Bang
Bang Sugar Bang
Bang Sugar Bang
Bang Sugar Bang
Bang Sugar Bang were up next (yes we had a Bang Bang, and a Bang Sugar Bang, and both were three piece bands and both featured a lady singer/bass player) and they really put on a hell of a show. I was really enjoying their drinking inspired, somewhat 70’s inspired punk rock with the dual vocals of male/female. They were kind of like X on speed at some points. The girl in the band is also quite the looker, she looks like a punk rock Dawn-Marie (from ECW/WWE but without the breast implants) and I have to say she captured my attention for almost their entire set. The problem was that the crowd were so beaten down and impatient having to sit though so many bands waiting for The Adicts, that they didn’t’ seem to give Bang Sugar Bang a fair shake. Had there been four less bands on the bill, I think they would have gotten a much warmer reception. I for one appreciated them and would certainly go see them again.
This only left what the entire crowd, all a good 10 years or more younger than me, were waiting for, The Adicts. As their gear was being prepared, the crowd was packing themselves in, and more and more people were trying to squeeze up front. I found myself having to push these kids back as they were practically trying to stand ON me to get closer to that barricade. How an extra 2 feet closer to the stage equates to enjoying the show more (at the expense of those in front of these idiots) is a mystery to me. I sensed that these people were gonna go nuts, and I feared for my camera, and the back of my head. When the band hit the stage, it was chaos. All these assholes were surging toward the front and I was being smashed into the poor guard railing, which the security was frantically trying to keep from bending and snapping. I snapped about three usable pictures before so many people were bumping into me, pushing me and squeezing around my legs and all over me that I figured I had to get the hell out of there before my camera, and likely me, is crushed. If that rail snapped it would have meant death for the both of us. After the second song, I had enough and literally had to push and bulldoze my way through the crowd to the side between songs. Having made it in one piece, with camera in hand, I found a good spot on the side to take photos, but it wasn’t as ideal as the spot I got robbed from by the monkeys crawling all over each other.
On top of playing pretty much everything the people would want to hear and then some, The Adicts are quite the showmen. They claim to be the entire original band, and for being some old dudes, they sure held up well. They must have started the band when most of them were in high school because they certainly don’t look to have aged as much as some of their peers. They opened with “Viva La Revolution” and the place went crazy. The band were all decked out in their Clockwork Orange inspired attire and at times the singer, Monkey, would change part of his costume, shoot silly string, shoot confetti and streamers, and throw frisbees into the crowd. The crowd ate it up and most of them were singing along to all the choruses to their more popular songs.
Behind them, they had a screen showing images throughout the entire show. At one point they invited a whole bunch of girls on stage to sing along and dance to one of their songs whose title escapes me at the moment. They played over an hour, it may have been closer to 90 minutes and they were so energetic and entertaining though the entire set, that it would have been impossible not to enjoy the sights and sounds, despite nearly getting trampled by a bunch of the crazed youth.
It would have been cool to see them at a venue a little better suited for a punk show, and one that wasn’t run in such an amateur fashion. I was supposed to have a photo pass, which in theory should have enabled me to get on the other side of that makeshift barricade to safely take photos, but no one seemed to understand what that meant, and the security guards wouldn’t let me back there when I asked. While they were polite about it, they also didn’t clue me in on to who I could ask running that show to make that happen for me. The whole things with the lights was just ridiculous, and when they finally did use them, they just left the red ones on all the time. They also could have rented a bigger light rig that had more than 4 on each side, and some different colored gels. Also the fact that there were power cables all over the floor around the front of the venue probably isn’t really up to code. Despite all this, and the sheer insanity of a seven band bill, The Adicts, Bang Sugar Bang, So Unloved, and The Methadones really all played some good sets, and was the lineup that should have been booked without all the other unnecessary filler (though Bang Bang were also pretty good, but it was just draining to sit through that many bands). It was still a good time though and a fun night out.
Even more photos after the jump.
Bang Sugar Bang
Bang Sugar Bang
Bang Sugar Bang
Bang Sugar Bang
Speaking of the whole “moshing” thing with kids these days…I was at a garage show sometime over the summer and they tried to get a circle pit going, but they did it exactly as you described, and some asshole kid knocked three big dudes into me. They came at me with so much force that they not only spilled most of the beer that I was holding, but the can was pretty fucking dented as well. I don’t give a shit if someone bumps into me, but don’t spill the beer that I just bought, you know?
The next time he came around the edge of the pit, I pushed him really hard and that surprised him. By the end of the night there were about 5 skinheads looking for the kid after they found out what happened.
It’s been like that at every show I’ve gone to in this area.
Nice pix, mxv! I really like the black and white one of Monkey. Any chance of you burning all of them to a DVD for me?
As much as it sucked to have the kids smashing us into the railings, I am not sure that the atmosphere would have been the same at a 21+ show in the city. The band seemed to play off of the excitement in the crowd.
It is good to see the kids getting into the roots of punk!
I saw the Adicts show last night in SLC. And I must say it was by far the best show EVER!
i was a security guard there it wasnt us that were the problem it was the venue staff that they brought in and the venue would nt turn the lights on not the adicts there great guys and the kids will dances how they want i am 16 and no this your how old and havent figured this out?
this show was so fuckin great!!!
Damn you got some awesome pictures bro. Keep it up….
This show was great, but it was not much compared to their show at Logan Square Auditorium this past summer. I don’t think any other Adicts show I will go to will top that one. Four times the amount of people at the show on friday were at the one in july and they all had so much more energy… not to mention the opening bands were a lot better at the other show. But, either way, I had a great time on Friday night despite the massive amounts of high school aged looking kids.
yeah, i had to work and was very close to skipping out to go see them, but i heard how shitty the venue is and since i saw them with street brats and flatfoot back in the summer, i figured that would do untill next time they come around, even if its another 10 years. I gotta say though, the adicts are the best show Ive ever seen and ive seen alot of shows. I wish they had a better bill like the summer show for last friday though, alot of my friends felt ripped off for the openers, even if they had 7 or whatever. they all would have rather had the summer lineup.
Going to see the Adicts for the 6th time on Wednesday! Cant wait!
I totally agree with megan on this one it was a fantastic show, but the people moshing,”which i totally respect didnt not form the circle. i mean everyone went crazy w/ the exception of a few. but still a fantastic show, come back to chicago soon.
Thanks for the kind words about the photos, I’m glad people seem to like them. Despite my gripes, I’m glad I got to see the band, they put on a hell of a show (and I like Bang Sugar Bang a lot too)! I missed the Logan Square show because I didn’t know they were playing there until it had come and gone and I was at the Subhumans show a week later and someone told me! I would have gone to it had I known before hand.
just to fill you in with the light situation
It was a joke, the light guy was a complete turd and wouldnt switch the lights on, until we got on his arse and then he wanted to charge the support bands money, which was out of order. So to correct your review. We acted accordingly and got them switched on. It seems that there are some tossers out there.
Great crowd strange venue.
I’m glad to hear it was the venue and not the band. Seemed like an odd thing for a punk rock band to pull such a stunt, and I’m glad that it wasn’t the case.
The light guy must have been a real asshole to try and do that. Not to mention his sub par light rig certainly didn’t warrant him trying to charge money for anyone to use it!
You guys put on a great show which more than made up for the crappy venue. Keep up the good work and I look forward to you guys returning to Chicago, I’ll be right there taking more photos when that happens.
Weird. Three days ago I was singing Adicts songs in the shower, in Florida, for the first time in 23 years.
Then they play… in Wheaton, IL? I grew up by there.
Bang! Bang! is a great band, but an odd choice for this gig, I think. Good, dancey (but still rockin’) stuff.
Great pics! I agree with you about the wheaten grand theater, and about there being to many bands on the bill! oh and the young crowd. But the adicts did put on a great show! I also agree with megan up there, the show in chicago at logan square can’t be topped!
It was a Great Show!!!
I think i saw you taking pictures. (?)
Mine turned out pretty crappy. i have a lame kodak point and shoot camera.
I love your shots of bang bang. I actually tryed to get a couple shots of gretta’s bum bum, didnt turn out very well.
Thanks for the nice words. I was up front taking photos until nearly getting smashed to death when The Adicts started, in which case I moved to the side of the stage to shoot the rest of the photos.
I’m glad you like BSB so much. I love them.
If you make it out to Los Angeles, they play quite a bit at Kiss or Kill (kissorkillclub.com) which Cooper, the bassist, co-founded.
They are nicest people to talk to. zero attitude.
damn dude, you really are bitchy! stop complaining about stuff cause that was the best fuckin show ever. just cause they had bad lighting? shit man, i loved it! shut up and stop being so high maitanance. and yes, i did push you if your hte person i think you are. cause you were talking shit, and i wanted to get up closer to the adicts, no one else seemed to have a problem with that accept for you. and my friend also almost knocked the shit out of you, and she is much shorter than you. and most of the opening bands weren’t that good, accept for bang sugar bang, so unloved, and one other one which i cant remember the name. bang sugar bangs rendition of gimme gimme gimme by black flag was great, and everything the adicts did was awesome. so dude, dont complain so much, the show was great, the kids there were great(well the majority of them) and the venue wasn’t that bad, i only tripped on a chord once. So dont complain about great fucking shows.
sorry for the hostility, its just that i dont like when people complain about the best night of my life.
Scott, next time you see me at a show, please introduce yourself so I can slap the insolence right out of you. I was “talking shit to no one”. I’m not twelve, nor do I act like it. I’ve been going to shows since before you were even a sperm. I can tell the difference between one that was well run and organized, and one that was run poorly. This was was run poorly and could have been done a lot better.
I’m glad you had the best night of your life. I think despite the venue problems and a bunch of little kids with no regard for someone holding expensive camera gear in their hands, that the show was a really good one and well worth atttending. That doesn’t discount the fact that the show was poorly run and the venue was a shithole that could catch fire at any given moment and that the asshole in charge of the lights should have actualy done what he was being paid for and turned them on. My complaints are completely valid, and hopefully it will cause those who put on the show to give some more thought to their future shows and do a better job.
Get a life cruelty, and get out from underneath your rock every now and again. I doubt your friend almost knocked the shit out of mxv because you would have had to deal with me. I bet if it was not for the Ataris you wouldn’t even know who Black Flag was.
your stupid, i’ve been listneing to black flag since i was 8 years old, fuck the atari’s, i know my shit, and i said i was sorry for being hostile. and hey, this venue is run a lot better than some other venues i.e. the masque.
I’m 14 and I’ve been listening to the Adicts for a long time since that’s what my family listens to. and seing the Adicts was amazing.. i cant even explain to anyone how excited/nervous/everything i was when they came on the stage. I actually got to meet Monkey at the end and got him to sign my shirt. Awesome pictures, it was the best show ive ever been to!
I drove four hours to see that show, and I will say it was good, because it WAS the Adicts after all, but those complaints are warranted. Seriously, as if a seven opener bill isn’t boring enough, they played in the dark. I wanted to shoot myself. I had some friends who were stuck in traffic show up and they asked if they had missed anything. All I could say was “Not a damn thing unless you like watching little kids pretend to mosh to rock and roll bands”. I envied them for not having to sit through that. I barely had the energy to dance to the Adicts after that ordeal. At least they had comfy seats.
Sorry to be posting to this thread so late, but I just saw it today.
I’m sure everyone has a different opinion of the show, and hopefully most of them are positive.
I’m one of the managers at the venue and would like to clarify a few points.
First, the show was put together by an outside promoter, NOT the venue. The venue normally limits the number of bands on a show to 5. The promoter was given the permission to increase this.
Most of the people that were there for the venue work as unpaid volunteers, providing, on their own time, a safe venue for kids to come to. The only paid person at the venue is the sound/lights guy that we normally use. That night, the promoter brought in a different sound guy (who did a great job), and chose not to hire the regular guy to do lights due to a tight budget.
The lights that were on at the beginning of the show were the stage lights, which are indeed, inadequate for concerts. I believe the tour manager for the Adicts at some point in the night, approached the regular sound/lights guy who was there to watch the show, and made an agreement to have him do lights, which he agreed to do. The lights guy did not refuse to do lights for anyone, he was simply not being paid to work that evening until late in the show.
Anyway, I agree with a lot of the posters, the Adicts were amazing. Easily one of the best performances I’ve seen there.
If anyone has any additional questions that they’d like answered from the venue’s point, please let me know.
Hey. I really enjoyed the show, which was my first. I actually went in a big group of friends with my buddy Scott (above somewhere)who has permanent PMS. Anyway, I think this is a really great review, the pictures are amazing. Even though there were teeny middle-school girls with short hair (see:me) bopping you the whole time. I also agree about the 7-band bill- I came to see the Adicts, and I had to leave two songs into their set because I had an 11pm curfew. The show was really great though.