Concert Reviews

Live Review: Archers of Loaf at Chicago’s Bottom Lounge (8/24)

on August 25, 2012, 10:23pm

archers of loaf kelli hammock Live Review: Archers of Loaf at Chicagos Bottom Lounge (8/24)“We’re Archers of Loaf, not Archers of Loaf’s Dad,” quipped bassist Matt Gentling upon taking the stage. Despite the statement’s comic intent, it might have seemed like a necessary proclamation– until the band started playing.

It’s been 14 years since Archers of Loaf released a proper album, and although the members are now in their 40s, they’ve lost none of their trademark live ferocity. Even during the starker, sludgier material from later albums All the Nation’s Airports and White Trash Heroes, Gentling plodded with drunken spark, guitarist Eric Johnson teetered at the edge of the stage to interact with the crowd, drummer Mark Price executed each beat with oil-drum resonance, and frontman Eric Bachmann whooped and snarled with the gravel of his college years.

The quartet front-loaded their set primarily with their later material, inducing marionette head-nodding and hazy swaying from a crowd roughly the same age as themselves, particularly during the breezy white noise of “Scenic Pastures” and the squawking grunge of “Distance Comes In Droves.” The second half of the evening was almost entirely devoted to the caffeinated distortion of their first two records, Icky Mettle and Vee Vee

There was something endearing about seeing a crowd of 30- and 40-somethings erupt into half-moshing sing-alongs during college radio mainstay “Web In Front” and “Fabricoh” during the encore. Although the latter’s coda tells of wanting to escape a crowd that’s rocking out, Bachmann gushed at being in front of an audience doing that very thing. What was once an indictment of underground snobbery became a sincere celebration of the band’s legacy and the fans’ enthusiasm at seeing these guys live again after such a long hiatus.

metz kelli hammock Live Review: Archers of Loaf at Chicagos Bottom Lounge (8/24)

The retrospective atmosphere of the evening was further enforced by opening act Metz, who could have been a younger, if more abrasive version of the Archers (thanks in no small part to Bottom Lounge’s perpetually thunderous speakers). Tracks such as “Wet Blanket” screamed from the stage with monsoon mathematics, offset only by their demeanor, which, like that of Bachmann and company, was gracious and unassuming. Nice guys know how to shred, too.

Photography by Kelli Hammock.

Setlist:
Form and File
Scenic Pastures
Distance Comes In Droves
Lowest Part Is Free!
Freezing Point
Audiowhore
Dead Red Eyes
You and Me
Might
What Did You Expect?
Plumb Line
Greatest of All Time
Bumpo
Web In Front
Wrong
Nostalgia
White Trash Heroes
Encore
1985
Fabricoh
Harnessed In Slums
All Hail the Black Market

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