The Vaselines don’t sound like a band that skipped 21 years in between albums. Until last year’s reunion tour, which included a wonderful show at Metro in Chicago, the Scottish group hadn’t played in two decades. Led by Frances McKee and Eugene Kelly, the Vaselines played old songs that still sounded fresh, including the classic “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam,” while displaying a great sense of humor.
Since last year’s reunion concert, the Vaselines have released an album of new songs — actually, only the second full-length album the band has ever put out. Sex With an X, recently issued by Sub Pop, is a rare example of a reunited band writing and recording great songs that stand up well to the group’s original output. The new record sounds more polished than the old ones, but they’re in the same spirit and style.
The Vaselines were back in Chicago this week, playing Thursday (Oct. 28) at Lincoln Hall. It was another fine concert, and this time, the band had some new material to play. The Vaselines played six songs from the new album, including a couple of the catchiest songs anyone has put out this year: “I Hate the 80’s” and “Mouth to Mouth.” It would have been nice to hear “My God’s Bigger Than Your God,” too, but the half-dozen new tunes sounded strong next to the 16 Vaselines oldies in the set list.
The stage banter was hilarious and charming, just as it was last year, with McKee smiling as she made sarcastic remarks about “shagging,” while Kelly mostly played the hapless straight man.
The originally scheduled opening act, Dum Dum Girls, cancelled their appearance, which was disappointing, but the replacement, New York guitar-and-drums duo Schwervon, turned out to be a good surprise, with a lively set of songs. And then, as if making up for the lack of Dum Dum Girls, the Vaselines finished off their encore with an energetic rendition of their old song, “Dum Dum.”
SET LIST: Oliver Twisted / Monsterpussy / I Hate the 80’s / The Day I Was a Horse / Sex With an X / Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam / The Devil’s Inside Me / Molly’s Lips / Slushly / Poison Pen / Bitch / Such a Fool / No Hope / Rory Rides Me Raw / Ruined / Son of a Gun / Let’s Get Ugly / Mouth to Mouth / Dying For It (The Blues) / ENCORE: Sex Sux (Amen) / You Think You’re a Man / Dum Dum
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