Event Review: The Mooney Suzuki
The Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL
Touring behind the new Electric Sweat (Gammon Records), NYC's The Mooney Suzuki hit The Empty Bottle's stage recently for an inspired set of maximum R&B.
Formed in 1997 by lead howler Sammy James, Jr., The Moonies specialize in stripped-down garage rock with an overt nod to British Invasion/Mod combos like The Who, The Kinks, and The Creation. For the past five years the group (which also includes lead guitarist Graham Tyler, bassist Michael Bangs, and drummer Augie Wilson) has built a devoted audience of garage rock aficionados, neo-mods, and indie rockers through constant touring (they've opened for seminal stompers like The Pretty Things and The Zombies), a startling debut (People Get Ready for top garage label Estrus), and the kind of word of mouth that most other bands would kill for.
All of the hard work and high praise paid off big time at The Bottle as The Mooney Suzuki followed strong opening sets by The White Outs and The Dishes (no strangers to the mod/garage intersection on either front) only to exceed the expectations of a packed house. From the wraparound shades to the menacing skull and spider backdrop, The Moonies have a switchblade aesthetic that predates their parents' teenage years. The sounds, however, are far too immediate to be considered retro.
The show was a shoulder ridin', sweat drenched rock n' roll funhouse of the highest order. The kids pogoed and go-goed wildly as the black-clad entertainment tore through hit after hit.
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