To close out my festival coverage this year I wanted something spectacular. Looking at the lineups from all three days, every night had something special for me. Saturday night had one thing all the others didn’t, though. It had frontier ruckus, and band I have loved for a while now but hadn’t seen live. Plus, two of Chicago’s finest bands Mooner and Martin Van Ruin were the opening acts. What more could a music fan ask for???
I’ve seen Mooner a couple times, plus I caught a little acoustic show where Lee Ketch played some songs with his brother as a duo and it was cool. The thing that always strikes me about them is how good they are and no one seems to know it. If you talk to other musicians or people who book shows, they’ll all tell you Mooner is amazing. But if you ask someone in Chicago about their favorite bands in the city they’ll say Twin Peaks or some other buzzed about Pitchfork band that gets written about every time a member farts. GET ON THIS CHICAGO! Go buy Mooner’s album Masterpiece! No need to thank me. You should thank them for making such great rock n roll music!
If you need to know anything before buying the record, know that last night they covered Cheap Trick and sounded better than the Rockford natives. If you dig that dirty 70’s rock, you’re gonna love Mooner.
Martin Van Ruin is a bit of an enigma. They put out a really good record in 2014, but they’ve only played a handful of shows around Chicago since then. I saw them at The Empty Bottle for the record release and then lost track. That’s unfortunate, because they’re a highly skilled band of musicians. They give you that dynamic rock that really takes you on a journey.
They played some old stuff and gave us a taste of a couple new tracks off their next record. The biggest standout for me was the guitar work coming from Brian Sharp. He didn’t get to let loose on every tune, but when he did it was like a firestorm had been building up inside him for eons. Totally incendiary guitar work. Hopefully they get some shows booked for this summer or I think he might literally die from internal burns.
Finally the night brought us frontier ruckus, and band that makes music so precious I almost hate the thought of writing about it for fear that I might faint its purity. Singer/songwriter Matt Miia is a prolific scribe whose songs are often more wordy than a Tarantino movie. If you’re into lyrics that are never lacking intelligence or wit, frontier ruckus is the band for you.
Watching them play for the first time was kind of awe-inspiring. Watching multi-instrumentalist Zach Nichols jump between trumpet, keys, baritone, euphonium, and singing saw all on one song was unbelievable. I feel like I need to see them again just to watch him for the whole set. The band is also a lot more fun than I had imagined.
They played songs from Sitcom Afterlife and Eternity Of Dimming, but what I was most excited for was the music they played off their upcoming LP that they have recorded. It’s all in a similar vein as their previous efforts, but everything is so well thought out and executed so brilliantly that it’s hard to argue they should change the formula. Milia sounded great. Anna Burch sounded as good or better.
It was a perfect night of music to close out Dunn Dunn Fest. If you’d like to see more pictures from this show or the other shows I covered this week, hit our Facebook page.