There's nothing better than a hot summer show at Cal's in the South Loop in Chicago. The one-story bar/liquor store sits tucked tightly in the cavernous streets of the usually prosaic downtown area, where one might stumble upon gaggles of blue-haired, church-going suburban moms off on a night out on the town to see Wicked or something equally lame. Like an oasis for the thirsty, stripling music enthusiast, Cal's is there to serve up cheep beer and raucous tuneage on any given weekend night. With the city's stickiest bar floor, patrons are guaranteed to have to goose-step their way though a packed and sweaty crowd, which is gloriously better than it sounds and usually equates a great time.
This Saturday, Cal's is serving up a line up of bands that fit so perfectly together, it seems like all the stupid stars aligned themselves in a way that allows for a soul-quenching night of hedonism and 2 dollar Pabst. First up is The Yolks, a Chicago band whose matchless blend of 60s pop and 90s slop sums up to a superb amalgamation of perfectly timed and dumbed-up tunes that always shepherd in a welcoming night of loose sexual behavior, a tight slate of mixed drinks, and an infectiously soulful urge to dance like idiots. Cococoma have certainly been on a roll this past year. They've released a couple of singles: one on the legendary Goner label, a split with The Mans on Covert Pop and a full-length on the horizon. Their sound of perpetuating blasts that mesh the guitar and organ sounds in such a way, your knees will shake uncontrollably and when the vocals slam into their wall of fuzz, it comes up with a flavor of reciprocal party making.
By the the time Turpentine Brothers hit the floor, you should be drunk, have a girlfriend (or boyfriend) for the evening, and have plenty of explaining to do in the morning. This Boston 3-piece played the Dot Dash show last summer and beat out a sluggish yet snarling blues romp that conjures more of the nastier bits of the style rather than the lamenting hum-drum twang you might hear from other John Lee Hooker ampers out there. The headlining act, Headache City, has over the past year survived a line-up change, dropping the organ all together. Their new material, which is yet to be released, still holds to their peerless mash-up of dangerous and tuneful rock'n'roll and pop credo. Mike Fitzpatrick (whose also in Cococoma along with Lisa Roe) forks out vocals that sound insightful, sneering, and effortlessly gruff all at the same time. As a live act, they blaze past any expectations with energy that is as contagious as it is loud.