Dastardly and Chaperone, A Perfect Birthday Celebration

King Kong ain't got nothin' on Gabe!
When I originally set out to try to find something to do for my birthday this year, I had no idea what luck I would run into. Shortly after I moved to Chicago last year, I started writing for another blog that had just launched. One of the first things I found on my own was a band called Chaperone. The first place I saw them was The Deli-Chicago. I hooked up with them at their EP release show at Subterranean, did an interview, and found that they are as nice as their music is awesome. Opening for them that night was another great band, Dastardly.
Looking through the ever-impressive litany of shows that happen around Chicago every weekend, I was having a hard time choosing. I had already set myself up to hit that Wolfgang Jay show on Thursday night, which was awesome, and then I got an email about The Deli’s Best Emerging Artists of 2010 show at Empty Bottle on Friday night. One look at the lineup and I was sold: Secret Colours, Soft Speaker, Dastardly, and Canasta. You’d be hard pressed to find a better top to bottom show anywhere.
The next day I got a facebook event invite to a Chaperone show at the Metro and a code for half-price tickets. I was on cloud nine after that. My birthday weekend would be filled with my favorite Chicago bands and people that I enjoy being around (including a few from out of town). I was prepared to have a good time, but this was over the top.

Dastardly puts on a live show like no other band playing right now. Between Gabe’s bizarre banter with the audience and the amazing musical talent displayed by everyone in the band, it’s hard for me to not say they’re the best live band in the city. Every time I see them it is completely different than the previous show.

They played all the hits off of their fantastic album May You Never, as well as a couple covers. One cover was Gabe singing a Morrissey song a capella, which was quite a treat (and forced me to admit that I was wrong about what song he would cover-my guess was “Party In The USA”)

The biggest highlight for me was the song “Middle Ground,” which I got on video for you. If you’re wondering who the idiot singing way too loudly is, that’s me. I apologize in advance for any trauma hearing my singing voice may cause (although, thinking about how bad it is did lead me to come up with a great band name: Aurally Reprehensible)

I won’t go in to any more highlights here, because you need to go out and see Dastardly for yourself. They’ll be playing next in Chicago at The Hideout on June 26th as part of the Day In The Country outdoor country music festival.

Now, my dear friends Chaperone. The first band in Chicago I latched on to and said, “These guys know what they’re doing.” I’m glad I got in at the beginning, because as much as I may joke with bassist Miles about the mild success the band has had so far, the truth is every time I see them they sound better, and they seem to have a growing fan base. Playing their second show at Metro, I was happy to see they were enjoying themselves on a bigger stage.

Miles became a free range bassist with all the room he had to run around up there, and I felt like lead singer Shaun Paul did a good job of commanding attention with all the craziness going on around him. New drummer Christian has done a good job sliding into the drummer position after the departure of Thom Des Enfants. On the whole I think they’ve become a better group since Thom moved on (though he is a hell of a nice guy).

It’s impossible for me to pick out one highlight from this show, because to me, every song is a highlight. Forced to choose one, I thought the version of “O Ye Drowning Children” they played was fairly spectacular. It’s not on their EP Cripple King, nor is it going to be a part of their forthcoming single “Raised By Wolves,” but soon I hope it gets a release, because it’s a great song.

I apologize to you, my readers, and to Chaperone for not getting better pictures. Apparently at Metro you need a PHOTO PASS to take anything better than an iPhone pic. I guess they think they’re better than Schubas or any of the other countless venues in Chicago where such things are unnecessary (they’re not). Normally we get some good ones and at least one video. So to make up for it, you can head over to our facebook page for the pics (don’t forget to “Like” the page while you’re there), and here is a video I shot when we went down to Austin for SXSW:

Be sure to stay tuned for more from both of these bands. I think if you give them a shot you’ll love them as much as I do.

I should mention that Chaperone’s next show is also at The Hideout, where they will be playing with another really good band, Warm Ones. Friday May 20th at 10pm, and I’ve been promised that there will be a veritable smorgasboard of cookies. Tickets are $8. Click that Hideout link above to buy tickets.

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