Three bands that excel at trippy garage rock reminiscent of the 1960s played Feb. 6 in the Volcano Room, upstairs at the Bottom Lounge. The headliners, People’s Temple, have a new album, Musical Garden, out on Chicago’s consistently marvelous Hozac Records. The same label also just put out a new 7-inch by one of the other bands at this concert, Chicago’s Radar Eyes. The night also featured another outstanding Chicago band, Outer Minds. It was a solid night of great songs, though it seemed to fizzle out at the end, when some technical difficulties resulted in People’s Temple playing without drums for a couple of songs. Despite that anticlimactic ending, People’s Temple had sounded great when they were jamming out at the start of their set.
The album-release party for Outer Minds on Saturday at the Empty Bottle was more like a party for a whole scene of bands who are apparently pals with Outer Minds. With their electric 12-string guitar riffs, Farfisa organ, stomping beats and flower-children mix of male and female vocals, Outer Minds played melodic psychedelic rock that sounded like it was from another era. Then again, I long ago got used to the idea of previous musical eras co-existing in the present. I overheard someone in the crowd saying he felt like he’d traveled in a time machine — presumably to the 1960s, since that’s what it sounded like. Outer Minds’ self-titled debut LP is available from Southpaw Records.
The opening acts were a blockbuster billing of cool Chicago bands: Summer Girlfriends played fun Girl Group music of the sort you’d expect from their name. Radar Eyes were even fiercer than they were a couple of weeks ago at their own record-release party. And Mannequin Men played one hard-edged brand-new song amid a strong set of their best and catchiest tunes. Taken altogether, it was a great sampler of some of the exciting music happening in Chicago today.