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Chain and the Gang, Basemint, Night Beats

Saturday, July 3, The New Frontier Lounge

Ian Svenonius, photo courtesy of Sarah Cass/MySpace

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It took nearly an hour and a half after the planned start time for a band to actually take the stage. I'm not ready to say that this was an entirely bad thing. In that empty hour and a half, the above average-sized crowd had ample time to get completely loaded, and that's more or less the vibe that these three bands demand.

Night Beats got up first and lit up the crowd with their rumbling acid rock. It was the first time that I had seen them perform, and I was pleasantly surprised. Psychedelic bands seem to be a dime a dozen around here, but Night Beats thankfully brought with them a heavier aesthetic - crunchy drums, thick bass lines, violently wah-infused guitar solos, all swirling together like a '60s light show.

Next up was local favorite Basemint. By the time they started playing, the dance floor was full of drunken, giddy Tacomans doing the Twist to Basemint's blend of indie rock and bright '60s pop. The vocals - frequently in three-part harmony - were kind of hot, lending a fuzzy shroud to most of the songs. Once they finished, the crowd was sweaty and amped up for the final act.

Calvin Johnson spun an eclectic blend of punk, soul, reggae, and Motown as DJ Selector Dub Narcotic, while Chain and the Gang got set up. Lead singer Ian Svenonius is a striking man: short, wearing a white suit and a big, fluffy pompadour, he reminded me vaguely of James Brown. When the Gang kicked in, he actually managed to follow through on that comparison.

Strutting the stage, scowling, tossing his microphone from hand to hand, occasionally doing a high kick, Svenonius made it immediately clear that he was here to give a performance. His backing band would jam lowly in the background, while Svenonius took on the persona of a crazed preacher, riling up the crowd with breathless speeches, before the Gang would crank up the volume and push the songs rolling down the hill.

It was a stunning performance, and it's a damn shame if you missed it.

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Comments for "Chain and the Gang, Basemint, Night Beats" (3)

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ed said on Jul. 05, 2010 at 2:57pm

i highly doubt the band behind chain was just a backing band. the female bass player is a petty good singer. saw them last year & they were sort of stiff & unconvincing. they were much better this time.
basemint needs to put a record out. they are too good not to have anything released.
oh the night beats were cool too

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ed said on Jul. 05, 2010 at 2:57pm

oops !! my website is

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Fintan Ryan said on Jul. 19, 2010 at 7:02am

Chain and the Gang are truly superb.

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