Where have I been lately, you may ask? Yes, it’s true, the Underground Bee has been in a sort of quasi-hibernation lately, not reporting much on concerts in Chicago or anything else. There simply haven’t been that many concerts in town the last couple of weeks that I felt compelled to see. And I was busy with other work, including an out-of-town trip for several days.
Trying to get back into the swing of things, I went to see the Vivian Girls on Sunday (Aug. 30) at the Empty Bottle. It seems like these three gals have been playing an awful lot in recent months, including a set at the Pitchfork Music Fest that I missed because of scheduling conflicts. Yesterday, they not only played at the Bottle, but also made a 6 p.m. appearance at Permanent Records, playing acoustic during the in-store gig. They did not sound the least bit acoustic Sunday night, however, cranking up the feedback as they ran through songs from their 2008 self-titled EP and a few new ones. If you want to believe the Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot, the new Vivian Girls CD coming out Sept. 8, Everything Goes Wrong is “a more ambitious effort in every way.” I haven’t heard it yet myself, but I’m looking forward to it. In concert, the new songs didn’t sound that much different from the old ones — more fuzz-drenched primitive garage rock with girlish vocals. It was a lively set, climaxing with a fun bit where the three Vivians switched instruments even as they continued making noise for the final song.
The opening acts were a pretty good match with the Vivian Girls: Daylight Robbery hammered away at its post-punk songs, then the Beets sang queasy harmonies over rickety acoustic guitar and thwacking drumbeats. The Beets had a dummy on the stage, which spent some of the show vomiting green fluid into a plastic garage can. What a class act!