I saw the Nightingales at SXSW a couple of years ago after seeing Jon Langford of the Mekons give them a rave recommendation. They’re a criminally overlooked punk band that’s been around forever. That show at SXSW was pretty impressive, so I didn’t want to miss this rare concert in Chicago, Feb. 28 at the Beat Kitchen. It was another fine set of classically awkward art-punk, with shades of the Fall, Pere Ubu and Wire. Only downside: the meager attendance. Maybe thirty or forty people turned out.
The first act of the night was the Horse’s Ha, a new collaboration between Janet Bean of Freakwater and Eleventh Dream Day with Jim Elkington of the Zincs. It was enchanting folk with lots of jazzy undertones. I’m eager to hear them again. The middle band was Shopping, who played a sloppy and seemingly unrehearsed set. The informality of it gave it some charm, and the punk pop was OK, but sheesh… At one point, the singer announced what song was next and the guitarist said, “I forget. How does that one go?” He wasn’t joking.