Chain and the Gang: Sept. 7 at The Shakedown

On Friday, Sept. 7, The Shakedown was host to Bellingham locals, Bright Weapons, The Slacks, and the D.C. based band, Chain and the Gang. The show itself was certainly not the busiest I’ve seen The Shakedown, perhaps because this particular show was scheduled the night before Federation X was slated to play. However, the combination of The Slacks and Bright Weapons dedicated local draw, and Ian Svenonius’s illustrious body of work facilitated enough of a crowd to absorb the perfect amount of reverberation in the venue, and provided attendees with a sweaty little conglomeration of bodies to shake their asses in.

First up was Bright Weapons, and these Bellingham favorites definitely had a following in the crowd. The splashy cymbals, distorted bass, and riot girl-esque vocals made The Shakedown feel like a Bellingham basement, in the best possible way. They even closed with a cover of Pictures of You. Awesome! These guys take the lo-fi garage sound, and apply a very “Bellingham” aesthetic, while channeling Chris Mak, and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Next on was The Slacks. This is a project that Andy Creature and Leather Pants have been working on for several years. Another favorite of the crowd, these two churn out some chugging rock songs that gradually drew several adventurous concert goers onto the floor. It seems at though they draw some influence from artists like Iggy Pop and The Velvet Underground, in addition to moments that sounded like The White Stripes. If you like Andy’s work in Sugar Sugar Sugar, chances all you’ll also like The Slacks.

Finally, Chain and the Gang took the stage. With their combination of West coast  DIY aesthetic, and East coast sensibilities, they proceeded to rock The Shakedown. Ian Svenonious does a great job of interacting with his audience, through musical talking points and his on-stage demeanor. Banter aside, the music itself was incredibly tight. In the DIY/K-records community/Olympia community, one would be hard pressed to find a band who is more adept at re-creating their album sound in a live setting as Chain and the Gang. Additionally, in that re-creation, what may come across as minimal on a recording, comes across with a healthy dose of aural depth during their live performance. In addition to Ian Svenonious being a subversive political commentator, VBS interviewer, prolific musician, and all-around cool guy, he puts on one heck of a live show.