Uncle Acid @ The Metro, Chicago (US)

UNCLE ACID / RUBY THE HATCHET / ECSTATIC VISION

Date: 19th September, 2015
Venue: The Metro
Ticket: $25 / €22 (in advance) - $27 / €24 (day of show)
Promoter: n/a


DimK: Please allow me to toot my own horn for a bit and then say “I told you so” because UNCLE ACID returned to the US, and this time, were hosted in bigger venues. At least in Chicago, where I had a first-hard experience almost a year ago when Uncle Acid and his gang faced a sold-out crowd and made us craving for more. And we did get more because this US tour was in support of the brand new album “The Night Creeper” who had been spending quite some time spinning on my turntable, but let’s get first things first.

As it was the last time we visited the historic The Metro, finding a parking spot was equal to locating that fricking needle in the haystack... Anyways, we did the best we could but at the same time missed the first song by ECSTATIC VISION who took over the space-y stage while the venue, to me, looked close to be sold-out. The backline of the headliners left little space for the four-piece band to move around, but trust me, ECSTATIC VISION’s music was so rich that this issue didn’t matter at all. Their music was a fine mix of ‘70s psychedelia (think of early HAWKWIND) and strong groovy injections (you can call them Desert elements too) with different musical instruments involved, making the live experience rather special. And the band members did not hold still (as it usually happens with opening bands), so their energy bounced off the audience that responded with loud cheers and lots of clapping. Colorful flute, saxophone and Hammond melodies nicely filled up the entire space (and satisfied our ears, of course), while meeting the distorted bass and guitar under the dancing almost mystical drum groove. Ok, I’d prefer the vocals less echo-y (or whatever the effect was) but in hindsight I think this gave ECSTATIC VISION a distinct character that after a while sticks with you. Even though I wasn’t familiar with the songs, I had a great time and got seriously warmed up for Philly’s psych masters, RUBY THE HATCHET.

ECSTATIC VISION

Ecstatic Vision @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ecstatic Vision @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ecstatic Vision @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ecstatic Vision @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Ecstatic Vision @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ecstatic Vision @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ecstatic Vision @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ecstatic Vision @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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MariaV: Aside from the headliners, I was extremely excited to see RUBY THE HATCHET live, simply because their LP, “Valley Of The Snake”, released earlier this year, had rocked my shocks off. Of course and there are occasions when what you hear in an album has little (or worse, nothing) to do with the live performance, but fortunately in this case, it was the other way around. Yeah, the '70s-tinted songs got more power and the bass/drums groove was shaking the entire venue under the guiding vocals of Mrs. Jillian Taylor who proved to have a powerful set of pipes (with a tiny help coming from her vox-petals), getting everyone in the groove zone with the massive and addictive “Heavy Blanket”. “Thank you so much, we are RUBY THE HATCHET and this is our first time in Chicago, and we love it!” said the friendly singer before we were hit by the fantastic riffage of “Demons”, and even though this was just the second song of their set, I’d say they have won the audience right there! The old-school Hammond sounds, the wailing vocals and the fuzzy bass were the strongest ingredients in RUBY THE HATCHET’s fine ‘70s inspired blend, while Owen Stuart was hitting the skins like there was no tomorrow, supporting occasionally Jillian on backing vocals.

Speaking of bass, how awesome the intro of “The Fool” was, that got everyone moving at no time and kept it going with my personal favorite “Vast Acid”. To me, this is a perfect song for long night drives for shows like this one when all your troubles fade away being replaced by a party mood. “Oh shit, thank you Chicago. Are you ready for UNCLE? You’re up for a treat” said Jillian before guiding us to the slower and Hammond-driven “The Unholy Behemoth”. The mournful intro of “Tomorrow Never Comes” saw a lot of headbanging action by the enchanted crowd, dropping the curtain for RUBY THE HATCHET who I am sure gained lots of fans that night during their solid 45-minute set and hopefully they’ll treat us with a second (and longer) show pretty soon. You should check them out and especially their latest LP.

RUBY THE HATCHET setlist:

01. “Heavy Blanket”
02. “Demons”
03. “The Fool”
04. “Vast Acid”
05. “The Unholy Behemoth”
06. “Tomorrow Never Comes”

RUBY THE HATCHET

Ruby The Hatchet @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ruby The Hatchet @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ruby The Hatchet @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ruby The Hatchet @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ruby The Hatchet @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Ruby The Hatchet @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ruby The Hatchet @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ruby The Hatchet @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ruby The Hatchet @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Ruby The Hatchet @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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DimK: I was prepared to see UNCLE ACID under minimum lighting as it happened in the previous Chicago show, also considering the band’s anti-star attitude. But during the stage preparations, I understood that this would be a total different experience as a misty-covered back alley from London was moved inside The Metro, bringing along the Jack The Ripper aesthetics of the new LP. Of course, and the “Killers” cover artwork came to mind (don’t you dare to ask what-“Killers”), something that made the visual experience even better. The most recent hit “Waiting For Blood” brought Uncle and his Deadbeats onstage with a massive sound and a groove that took no prisoners; everyone inside the packed venue started moving / dancing and occasionally headbanging. The lights were not kept minimal, even though there were no spotlights on the band members’ faces (if you already are a fan of this band, you should know by now that Uncle likes to sing behind his hair) but that didn’t really matter because music was on the limelight, and my favorite “Mind Control” came too early in the set, since I was stuck inside the photo-pit. “Hey Chicago, how the hell are you? It’s good to be back” Uncle said and passed the baton to another tune from the new album; yeah, I’m talking about the riff-driven and heavy “Murder Nights” with the super-addictive double-lead singing.

Since this band likes to direct all the attention towards the music, there was minimum talking between the songs, so the setlist was tight with songs like “Poison Apple”, the super-groovy “13 Candles” and the old-schooler “I’ll Cut You Down”, getting everyone inside the venue involved. After all, before the latter song, Uncle requested “I want you to go crazy on this one” and I’m sure he was satisfied from the way the Chicagoans responded. This was one of the rare moments in live shows when the band and the audience become synchronized and the energy is getting recycled between the two parties, gaining more and more power. As it happened in the previous Chicago show, “Crystal Spiders” got a most enthusiastic response (I guess the constant beer flow helped a bit) but before we knew it and right after “Vampire Circus”, UNCLE ACID said their goodnights and left the stage. It took some time from the audience to start chanting for the band to return, making me think (once again) how spoiled the audiences have become nowadays. I mean, an encore should be requested / earned and not be taken for granted. Eventually, there was some cheering, so the four Englishmen came back and via Uncle admitted “this had been the best plane so far in the tour” and blasted off with the absolutely fantastic “Memory Lane”. And yeah, the groovy balanced was immediately restored inside The Metro, even though there were more than a couple of empty-heads who had replaced most of their blood with beer and saw it a good opportunity to start a couple of fights that hopefully were stopped.

UNCLE ACID closed another killer performance with the marrakech-grooved “Ritual Knife” and the spooky “Withered Hand Of Evil” which was introduced like this: “Crazy fuckers, we have one more for you, so go fucking crazy”, ending the show on the highest of notes. This low-profile band has managed to create such a strong following here in the States with their chilling music and the energetic shows, so I'll foresee for once more that things can only go better for UNCLE ACID.

UNCLE ACID setlist:

01. “Waiting For Blood”
02. “Mind Crawler”
03. “Murder Nights”
04. “Poison Apple”
05. “Death’s Door”
06. “13 Candles”
07. “Pusher Man”
08. “I’ll Cut You Down”
09. “Inside”
10. “Crystal Spiders”
11. “Vampire Circus”
12. “Melody Lane”
13. “Ritual Knife”
14. “Withered Hand Of Evil”

UNCLE ACID

Uncle Acid @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Uncle Acid @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Uncle Acid @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Uncle Acid @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Uncle Acid @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Uncle Acid @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Uncle Acid @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Uncle Acid @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Uncle Acid @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Uncle Acid @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)
Uncle Acid @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Uncle Acid @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Uncle Acid @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Uncle Acid @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Uncle Acid @ The Metro (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

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Date: 10th June, 2012
Venue:
Mayne Stage
Ticket: $23 (€18)