The Chicago band Negative Scanner made one of my favorite records last year — just narrowly missing out on my top 10. Released by the top-notch local label Trouble in Mind, Negative Scanner’s self-titled album is filled with short bursts of searing punk and garage, with singer-guitarist Rebecca Valeriano-Flores spitting out the words with alarming force. This group has played a lot of shows in Chicago, but somehow I had never seen it live until Friday, Feb. 12, when Negative Scanner opened for Disappears at the Empty Bottle. The band did not disappoint, ripping through a fast set of songs from the album and cementing its place as one of my favorite bands in Chicago right now.
Disappears is another outstanding local band — and it played a really strong set to finish the night, with those guitar riffs sounding especially propulsive. The first group of the night was Hide (or maybe that should be all-caps HIDE) — who played aggressive electronic music amid strobe lights. Not exactly my sort of music, but a cool spectacle. (See the first picture below for a demonstration of what happens when you take a quick sequence of photos while strobe lights are flashing.)