Geez, I wanted to enjoy Indian Jewelry more than I did. Maybe it was the fault of the room (Schubas, all tastefully decorated for Christmas) or maybe it's just that we Chicagoans can be awfully hard to move (it's those big shoulders), but the band wasn't blameless either. They came off like Crash Worship wannabes, with no mud and no nudity. They mean well, though. You can feel it coming off them, that earnest vibe of longing to transgress.
No matter. The main reason I was there was the underrated opening band, Grimble Grumble. Do bands get more underrated than Grimble Grumble? The list of bands they've played with on the European psych-rock circuit will grow your hair on your ass and then curl it, but here on their home turf they just shuffle their feet and mutter, "We might have a show . . . in three months . . . or so. Record? Uh, yeah, we think next year sometime."
I've never seen a shyer band that was more worth coaxing out of its basement. Every time they emerge blinking into their deep blue lights and obscuring fog, they deliver astonishingly beautiful music. Even their technical fubars are well-placed: in the fiercest of twin-guitar duels, there is no sally that doesn't end up exactly the right spot, and bassist/singer Christine Garcia, the proverbial immovable object you've been looking for, thrums away at the foundation of the monolith like the sea around the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Just frickin' gorgeous. Every time.
I thought Psychic Ills were pretty great too--but I'd already got my serious schooling for the night. They were just dessert.