(Live Review) NEBULA, ATOMIC BITCHWAX + MORE - Reggie's, Chicago (3/8/23)
Review by: The Beard & Little Johnny
The 2023 tour rolls on as The Beard and Little Johnny hit stop two, and bands six-nine of the 2023 season. Tonight, we cover: Nebula, with special guests, Atomic Bitchwax, Cyclone Eye, and Satin Banshee.
The IPAs are poured and we are prepared to rock out once again. The Beard has a Permanent Funeral from 3-Floyds, while Johnny has Zombie Dust.
First up tonight:
Johnny just asked if it is more black metal like last week. I told him I didn’t think so. He said, “Well, it sounds like it with a name like Satan’s Banshees.”
“Satin little dude, not Satan.”
As it turns out Satin Banshee are a Chicago based band mixing punk, glam, and garage rock into their somewhat unique sound. Not bad. Definitely a garage rock feel to it with low production and not much show to speak of, but they are into it and they do jam. The drums seemed a bit tinny to my ears, but that could have been the room too. Vocals were rough, but they were also in keeping with the punk sound. Short set, but not disappointing. The Beard kind of dug some of the guitar leads and ranks them an average 75/100.
Next up was Chicago area rock band:
The Beard has switched from IPA to a Goose Island Peanut Butter Stout. $&@! Johnny!
Cyclone Eye seems pretty basic rock. The kind of act that entertains you at the local watering hole, but you aren’t about to buy a ticket for. I do think these guys could show up at any Chicago area bar and give a satisfactory set, but am I ever going to purchase a ticket primarily for them? Probably not.
Johnny wandered off after two numbers and he’s talking to the Atomic Bitchwax merch guy. Wait, does he have my credit card? Shit!
Cyclone Eye is decent and even has pretty clean lyrics and lines to their song structure, but nothing about their music grabbed me. While I did not in any way dislike it, honestly it faded into background noise and was thirty minutes of filler.
The Beard calls it 70/100.
Next up were Atomic Bitchwax ... which, by the way, Johnny determined was a “cool” name and did buy a t-shirt from them.
The Beard has heard these guys before and for a stoner psyche type band, they can go to a lot of different places in their music stylings, including really unique cover tunes. The Beard is intrigued about what they might produce tonight. Additionally, this place has really filled up for Atomic Bitchwax and turned into quite a solid crowd for a Wednesday night show.
Right off the bat the band launched into a very good cover of Edgar Winter's "Frankenstein" before going into their own stoner hits. Immediately you notice the tight guitar/drumming riffs between the musicians. Twenty five years together will certainly do that for a band. This is what makes Atomic Bitchwax so good. That interplay between the members is feel based. They read and feed off the others in the band and mesh into a groove that just takes off into its own places.
We, the onlookers, are just like “fuck it man, lets ride along.” Johnny just started vibrating and doing some weird not quite mosh thing. Hard to describe really, but he was definitely digging the sound.
Funny points in the show; The band kept asking for color changes each song. Red, blue, green etc. by saying, “Hey, how do we sound in Green?". Also, when someone yelled “play Devil.” The singer responded “We don’t have a song called "Devil", but okay.” Then they jammed for like five minutes and said “There, that’s now "Devil”". Funny stuff. When the singer said at the end of their set, “We got one more for you.” Someone yelled “Play "Devil" again.” Once more, that is just some funny #}%£.!
The Beard is going 86/100 for pure entertainment value. This was a fun jam metal band.
Finally, around 11:00pm, the night's headliner, Nebula appeared. The room was full and the smell was…let’s just say “sweet”, while the vibe was “visionary”. Johnny said “Dude, I think I might be wasted just standing here.” “Have some water little dude, we have an hour drive back home.” Damn IPA’s!
Nebula was formed from the remnants of Fu Manchu and most definitely represents the stoner feel with an approach that feels free-form, but is actually directed. They always know where in the song they are. It isn’t mindless jamming. Sharp snap drumming, heavy low bass and what is increasingly becoming quite the SERIOUS waft of Mrs. Mary Jane, (that emerged as soon as they started the first number), embody every new song.
Similar to Atomic Bitchwax, Nebula are a stoner/psyche act. This is a band quite at home in the doom/stoner world. They jam with minimal, but existing structure, but you still tend to just drift along on the waves of whatever particular riff they are playing.
The question of applying a grade is largely thinking “are they tighter than Bitchwax?”. And also “Does tight even matter in this style of music?” .The Beard will pretend it does, while sipping his pumpkin latte beer (that tastes a lot like I’m drinking a candle), and watching Johnny make cloud animals with his hands while swaying to the music being laid down by Nebula.
Compared to last week’s black metal onslaught, tonight has been a largely free-form, hit-the-pipe-and-take-a-ride kind of event ... but hey, it takes all kinds of music to make metal, so rock-on brothers.
The Beard is awarding Nebula 87/100 because after all they WERE the headliners.
Okay, time to grab the dervish that is Johnny and direct him back to the metal bus for the trip back home. Two shows down, countless to go.
Remember, you can find videos of all my shows on TikTok by searching The Beard0728 or just #thebeardandlittlejohnny . Reviews can always be found on www.themightydecibel.com
Until we journey again next week for show number three, this is The Beard and Little Johnny saying ... “Horns up!”