The Punk Vault

The Bollweevils – 5/27/23 at Chop Shop

Saturday night was a pretty special one as The Bollweevils, one of Chicago’s most beloved and longest running punk rock bands, was headlining a show at the Chop Shop to celebrate the release of their first new album in around 30 years! They were part of a packed, five band bill. Speaking of packed, this show drew a huge crowd on this holiday weekend.

First up was Butchered, who hail from Chicago. They played some really enjoyable, mostly mid tempo punk rock. They were pretty melodic, but still had a good amount of noise and oomph in the music. Their half hour set was quite good.

Next up was Rad Payoff, another local band. Their blend of punk rock featured a bit more angular guitars and cool tempo changes. They were loud and tight, and had some catchy singalong parts to their songs, and enough of an indie rock/post-punk twist to some of their songs that made them stand out from the plethora of bands playing this style of punk rock. Nice work boys!

Reaganomics quickly followed. These guys always put on a good show and this was no exception. They mentioned they hadn’t played a show since Xmas time but you wouldn’t have known it judging by their performance this night. Super energetic, mid to fast tempo fun! These guys are excellent and should be on everyone’s radar. Go see them if you get a chance, you won’t regret it.

Even better were The Dopamines, who put on a hell of a great thirty minute performance. Hailing from Ohio, this band has been at it since 2006, making melodic, high octane punk rock. Lots of sing along parts to their songs, most of which were super catchy. They were a lot of fun!

The Bollweevils is one of those rare bands who not only have gotten better with age, but somehow managed to make the best album of their career thirty years after it began! Their latest album (and their first in around 30 years), blows their entire back catalog out of the water, which was no small feat as the band has a flawless discography!  The album was just released at the beginning of this month and this show was their big record release show to celebrate it. So many people came out of the woodwork for this one that on top of being an awesome show, it was like a big punk scene reunion. There was a lot of positivity in the room and this night, particularly during The Bollweevils set, is a perfect example of what makes the Chicago punk scene so special. There was a lot of love in that room by tons of like-minded people.

The band sounded well rehearsed and really brought their A-Game to this show. They played a great mix of old favorites and a handful of songs from the new album, including their instant classic, and one of the best songs they ever wrote, “Galt’s Gulch”. That song along will get stuck in your head for days and then you’ll be sad and have to listen to it again the minute it escapes. The crowd went pretty crazy at a few key moments during their set when an old favorite was being played, and they were enjoying the new tunes as well.

The band played everything on their “outline list” (aka: Setlist), not necessarily in the order it was written out, and they played a bunch of extra songs as well. They really played a perfect set, that included their three best songs (proven scientifically): “999 Stoney”, “Dehumanize” and “Galt’s Gulch”. They even played the song they named after former Spontaneous Combustion writer, Bill Dozer! It was over an hour of amazing songs, spanning their entire career, and played better than ever. This show was something pretty special, and anyone who missed it (especially Ron Jones), should never forgive themselves for not attending!


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