Smith Westerns, Bare Mutants | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Smith Westerns, Bare Mutants 18+ Early Warnings (Music) Sold Out (Music) Soundboard

When: Thu., Aug. 4, 9 p.m. 2011

In a culture supersaturated with "me me me," the "us us us" happening in Bare Mutants is pretty refreshing—a band of friends getting together to make music, just for the joy of it and the satisfaction of collective self-expression, embodies the best qualities of Chicago's music community. Formed by Jered Gummere (the Ponys) and also featuring Jeanine O'Toole (the 1900s) and Seth Bohn (Mannequin Men), the five-piece has a humble cameraderie and a quiet confidence. Four of the five members tend to be seated onstage—Bohn stands, because it's easier for him to play bass that way—and this in itself encourages the audience to focus on sound rather than spectacle. The band's music often seems to be picking up where the Ponys left off—waves of tension and release, layers of fuzz swirling around minimalist rhythm guitar a la Spacemen 3 or Galaxie 500—but Bare Mutants' aesthetic is clearly still coalescing. When they play a song like "Nothing Is Gold"—sung by O'Toole and reminiscent of those weird novelty numbers the Kinks got up to at the height of their foppishly alcoholic rock-opera phase—it's clear how much potential has yet to be tapped here.

—Brian Costello

Price: $16

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