(Live Review) YOB + SUPPORT - Thalia Hall, Chicago (6/6/23)
The Beard & Little Johnny
Tonight, for stop 24 and bands 117-119 of The Reviews Never Stop Tour 2023 , your hirsute hero The Beard, along with the rapscallion of rock Little Johnny, are here at the great Thalia Hall (one of the best venues in Chicago) to be struck completely deaf and speechless by the monolith of the doom world ...
YOB with special guests Cave In & Yakuza.
Three Floyds brewery is tonight’s show sponsor, so we arrived early, and each had a couple “get ready juices.” The Beard tried the Hefeweizen and the Pilsner. Young Johnny had the IPA, and…well…another IPA. All were tasty, and thus, (fueled by this barley and hop elixir,) once again, the most respected review team on the continent, (as voted on by Beard & Little Johnny fans) is poised and ready to rock and review.
First up tonight is the unique and unusual sounds of Chicago’s own...
Forging a mix of metal, prog, avant-guard, and jazz, a Yakuza set really can go anywhere. These guys cite as their influences, King Crimson, Tortoise, and Napalm Death, so even though I’ve seen them twice before, every Yakuza set is a brand-new experience.
Their faster stuff from Sutra, (their latest release), is like a mix of jazz and almost a “No sleep till Brooklyn” sound, but then just as quickly as The Beard makes that assumption, the music morphs again. There are a few bands that defy definition, labeling, or tagging. Boris, The Melvin’s, and now Yakuza seems to be on that list. The Yakuza set was interesting, and I won’t bash it. Johnny thought anyone who played saxophone in a metal band was interesting.
Next up were Massachusetts rockers ...
Strong aggression but still kind of melodic. Pretty clear vocals. A little nu-metal sounding, but still good. Cave In have been around since 1995 and have flirted with both metalcore and alternative sounds through their seven album releases.
They have a tightness in their playing even though many of the solos seem like wild abandonment jams. There seems to be a space theme as evidenced by their cool planetary imagery back drop banner.
I like how the aggressiveness is barely contained, (like it could go wild any second.) Cave In is not really pit generating, but more like an Inter Arma with that harnessed rage thing. I came to like them, the breaks between the rage were melodies and they linked the violence together. A pretty well thought out musical attack by this band.
Headliners Yob have been doing their monolithic slabs of death/doom for decades. I have loved some and been bored by others. Thalia Hall though is a good venue to hear them. It can handle the volume and offers a killer light set up.
Right off the bat, they came out with “Ball of Molten Lead” from Illusion of Motion. This eleven-minute opening song killed in Thalia Hall with their acoustics, and great use of lights. All three members are so tight knit, they truly function like one entity out there and the song’s length is a part of its strength.
Vocalist/Guitarist Michael Scheidt finished YOB’s first song and says “well, thanks for coming. We got five songs left in our hour and a half.” Funny, but with YOB also true.
After following up with “Nothing to Win” from Clearing the Path to Ascend, and “Pain of I” from Elaboration of Carbon, it was time for “Catharsis” a twenty-three-and-a-half-minute epic from the album of the same name. If the Live “Dazed and Confused” was the sonic transformative song of the 1970’s, “Catharsis” is the equivalent of that from the 2010’s. The way that song moves and builds, it is as if the Easter Island Moai statues came to life and began singing and performing.
At one point Johnny actually sat down, shook his little head and said “Woah! That shit was HEAVY!”
“Sometimes little dude, you absolutely say it perfectly.” Already at that point it was the best YOB set of the four times I’ve seen them. The Beard cannot compliment the sound and lighting techs enough on creating audio and visual majesty with this set.
After “Catharsis” the band closed with "Adrift in the Ocean" from Atma. The Beard had to admit, he didn’t really know that one, and truthfully, nothing could have followed “Catharsis” anyway. Rather than exiting after their final number, Schiedt just said, “Instead of wasting your time, by leaving the stage when you already know we’re coming back out, we’ll just play the encore song right now.” (Ed: Supersuckers do that every show, except they face the drum kit and then turn around acting surprised that the crowd's still there!) This turned out to be “Quantum Mystic” from The Unreal Never Lived. Most fans love this one, but that song has never sold it for me. In my opinion, the opening four songs were spot on perfection, but the last two brought the performance down from perfection. That said, The Beard is STILL awarding:
New season leader. A perfect venue and a damn near perfect set. Sterling, absolutely sterling and the packed house let them know it. Schiedt is a remarkable vocalist/guitarist, but equal respect must be accorded to Aaron Reisberg who played the bass as if he was in a ninety-minute wrestling match with an octopus, moving all over the stage and pounding away relentlessly. Dave French is just an amazing drummer for this band and rode the perfect wave of hitting heavy, but never over the top. The Beard has to say, YOB, THAT was an awesome set of music.
June has started off hot, and the Beard does not mean the weather. Be sure to check out videos on both TikTok and Facebook from this one. YOB IS Heavy Metal.
Only a few days before we embark on show number twenty-six, so continue to follow us on The Mighty Decibel, Heavy Metal Canada, Chicago Metal Club, & DooM Metal sites,
Until next time stay YOB (the new definition of Heavy) and ...