Gories, White Mystery, Gentleman John Battles | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Fri., Oct. 22, 10 p.m. 2010
Price: $15
Along with the Oblivians (with whom they took a double-reunion tour of Europe in 2009) and the Devil Dogs, Detroit three-piece the GORIES set the template for the frenzied cave-pound of neo-garage rock—in 1986, when many current practitioners were learning to go potty, guitarists Mick Collins and Dan Kroha and drummer Peggy O'Neill were teaching themselves how to play. Their 1989 debut, House Rockin', is a sweaty-souled, liberating blend of hair-raising Sonics-esque howling, three-chord mayhem, and dexterously bluesy solos that manage to be both violent and (for lack of a better word) tasteful—at the very least they feel appropriate to the songs. Crude, trashy, and stripped-down—the band used no bass, no kick drum, and no cymbals—the Gories sound was less a souped-up hot rod and more a soapbox racer rattling downhill at unsafe speeds. But they got over on ballsiness and charisma for two more equally charged albums—1990's I Know You Fine, but How You Doin' and 1992's Outta Here—before calling it quits. O'Neill joined '68 Comeback, Collins went on to greater fame leading the Dirtbombs, and Kroha became Danny Doll Rod, bringing his signature guitar sound to Demolition Doll Rods—and all the while the Gories' legend grew. The band's reunion shows have been selling out across Europe and America, and it's a safe bet both their Empty Bottle gigs will too.

It's refreshing to see a true believer and rock 'n' roll lifer like GENTLEMAN JOHN BATTLES on the bill of a big show like this. One of Chicago's more obsessive raconteurs on the subject of music, as well as a Chic-a-Go-Go mainstay and Roctober magazine illustrator and writer, Battles isn't the kind of person to treat garage rock as a soundtrack to barfing Sailor Jerry all over a Scion. For him it's a way of life, not a lifestyle to be purchased, and you can't deny that the cat's worship of the comic-book/B-movie/wild-sounds aesthetic is sincere. With nothing but his croon and a blazing call-and-response stun guitar, he gives it his all whether the audiences are there or not—for a fine example, look up the YouTube clip of Battles's frenetic cover of the Dave Dudley trucker-on-speed classic "Six Days on the Road." You get the feeling the music is simply another way for him to proselytize about the trash culture he loves.

The Gories headline; White Mystery and Battles open. The Gories also play Saturday; see separate List item. —Brian Costello



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