Savage Beliefs All Ages Free Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sat., Jan. 16, 3 p.m. 2016

Small local archival label Alona’s Dream Records has long taken an interest in obscure, far-gone midwestern hardcore-punk (Rights of the Accused, Necros, Bored Youth, etc), definitely making it more of a passion project for founder Chris Gilbert than any sort of a cash cow. His newest venture, however, the complete (and short) recorded history of early-80s Chicago band Savage Beliefs, deserves an audience beyond the rabid collectors of boutique hardcore-punk seven-inches. Transferred from the original master tapes by Mr. Steve Albini himself—who according to Gilbert was a big supporter of the band, especially considering bassist David Riley was eventually recruited to play in Big Black—Big Big Sky consists of a brief discography of intricate and melodic hardcore-punk recorded between 1983 and ’84. (Included are the out-of-print seven-inch The Moral Efficiency of Savage Beliefs and a pair of recording sessions, one never before heard and another that turned up on the long-ago 1984 WNUR-sanctioned comp The Middle of America). The album transitions from a first half of tight straight-ahead punk (“Big Big Sky”) to a more polished back half that features poppier, lick-driven jams (“Zulu Time”) and a sound that would have gone perfectly alongside contemporaries like the Dead Milkmen (“Talking to the Man”). Outside the most basic definition of early-80s hardcore punk, Savage Beliefs showcased their talent and inventiveness as opposed to falling in line with the burgeoning scene’s mantra—which was often focused on being gruffer, louder, and don’t-give-a-fuck-ier. Last night’s show at Liar’s Club and today’s at Logan Hardware—where I happen to work a weekly shift, so you know—will be Savage Beliefs’ first shows since they re-formed in 2009 to honor the documentary You Weren’t There: A History of Chicago Punk, 1977-1984. And the same version of the band will perform: founding members Wes Tabayoyong (guitar) and Brian Gay (vocals, guitar) will be joined by You Weren’t There director Joe Losurdo (bass) and Anthony Illarde, former drummer for Rights of the Accused.

Kevin Warwick

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