Cousin Dud at Viaduct Theatre, Chicago

Over the weekend, Kari and I went to the Viaduct Theatre on Western to see Cousin Dud perform as part of a bill with Brother George and Ohtis. This venue is like no other place in Chicago. It’s an old playhouse, so there’s a stage area on the floor, and then stadium-style seating on the sides. Not a great deal of seating, but enough for a show like this. And for $5, you can’t really complain too much.

The show kicked off with Brother George. If you take a look at the band’s Facebook page, you’d think these are some pretty out there fellas. I hadn’t looked before I heard them, and their sound isn’t at all what I would take from reading what they have to say about themselves. It’s a mix of surf-rock and honky-tonk rockabilly that I quite enjoyed. It didn’t sound perfect by any means, but it sounded good to me. I think if they stick around and stay together, in about a year we’ll be seeing a lot of Brother George.

A quick sidenote: Brother George was playing a fine set, and the crowd on the floor was getting larger by the second. That is, until these two buffoons showed up and started slam-dancing together for the last song. So Brother George had to end to little fanfare, as many of the people in the crowd were forced to move away from these heathens for their own safety. Afterward they were trying to talk to some people seated on the other side of the hall from us. They asked the one gentleman to leave them alone, as he was being a bit rude, and I’m pretty sure as he slumped against the wall on the floor, he started crying. So if you see this guy

and his buddy in a black hoodie, just go to the manager and ask for your money back, because your evening WILL be ruined if you stay.

Luckily, once Cousin Dud took the stage and the two imbeciles realized that no one wanted to join their own personal hoe-down in the front, they relented and went home (probably to cry to their mothers that no one wanted to “dance” with them). And not a moment too soon, because I would not have been able to catch the electricity on stage if they had been there.

I like Cousin Dud. I dig the sound they’re going for-it’s like Uncle Tupelo meets Chicago (the band). Much credit goes to the saxman for those two worlds coming together successfully. They have two singers (much like Kath and Lamm in early Chicago), and a female drummer who is as good as anyone I’ve seen lately. The bassist spent the majority of his time onstage in the shadows, as did his riffs, which were a bit overshadowed by everything else on stage. Also, the sound system at Viaduct is subpar (but again, $5).

I hadn’t heard much from Cousin Dud before the night of the show. I remembered seeing a review by someone at the website I used to work for, but it was a really terribly written review that barely mentioned anything about the actual music. If you are interested in checking out the music, you can go to their bandcamp site. I listened to some over the past couple days, and I like what I’ve heard so far.

One thing that I enjoy about the music Cousin Dud puts out is the lyrics. The song in that video is “South Dakota pt. 1: South Dakota.” It’s decidedly Dylan-esque in it’s rambling and somewhat vitriolic delivery:

“So now you wanna love so bad it burns, but baby that ain’t love that’s just the boys out takin turns, even Romeo’s emotions they were eaten by the worms. He’s thinkin’ whereforeart my casket walls upon which I shall scratch and claw just for something to preserve. I still got a skull full of love and a real fine bed of dirt, feels real good on my suit coat. And it takes time to make time is how ya felt, but time only relates to when yer servin’ someone else you got agendas made of wax don’t be afraid to let ’em melt. Ya think I always got someplace to be don’t noone wanna work fer me. God, I wanna be the man.”

That’s off of their record Our American Cousin. I’ve been listening to that one more than Of Hats and Unicorns, though I suggest picking up both. Released only months apart, the growth is measurable and I can’t wait for the next one.

Cousin Dud can next be seen performing at Cole’s in Chicago on June 11th. Consider this your Save-the-Date notice.