Like most people in the midwest I spent the weekend being crushed by the oppressing weight of winter. Despite the treacherous conditions, I made my way to Schubas on Saturday night to catch a set by local music makers Mooner. It had been a couple years since the last time I saw them play, and the venues couldn’t have been more different. The sound system at one of America’s finest music establishments sounded, surprise surprise, a billion times better than the wide open loft-style room at Observatory Studios. Instead of just a loud mash of guitars and drums bleeding together I could hear every note and understand the lyrics every step of the way.
The band brought out their brand of power-pop/rock to full effect, eliciting comparisons in my mind to the most recent Titus Andronicus record. The Ketch boys guitars were screaming back and forth while the melody floated on a sweet groove provided by Steve Slagg on keys, Adam Bonich on drums and the bass of Taylor Briggs. They blasted through about ten songs, covering their releases from 2009 up to their most recent single, “Making Americans,” which was released last August. They also played a great version of “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” by Warren Zevon.
The set they played was the first of three for the night, but I didn’t stay for the other two bands for fear of being stuck in Lakeview with no way home during winter storm ohmygoditssnowinginchicagoandwedon’tknowwhattodo. I never felt like I was watching an opener, though. Mooner treated the set like all good bands should with every set-like you’re the headliner and it’s the last show you’ll ever play. They were tight even though afterward I heard them joking about playing some wrong chords (if you act like it’s right no one will notice). Front man Lee Ketch sang and screamed and shouted like his microphone was on fire while Slagg’s backup harmonies were so sweet I thought he might be proposing to his mic.
You can check out all of Mooner’s music on Bandcamp. If you dig what you hear and live in Chicago, go see them play at Cole’s on January 24th!
For more pics from the show, hit up our Facebook page and see the whole album.