Chevelle at the Mod Club Theatre, September 25. Tickets: $12. Attendance: 450 Rating: NN Rating: NN
There weren't a hell of a lot of people in the drinking section of the Mod Club on Saturday night. Dunno if this was because the crowd was mostly underage or mostly Christian. Either way, I guess bar sales weren't exactly through the roof. Also, it should be no surprise that the one-act show started at 8 pm. Y'know, curfew and all that.
Kind of like the hard rock Hanson, Chicago's Chevelle are three brothers named Loeffler from a family of seven who were inspired to rock out by the likes of Helmet and Tool. They're Christian, and their first record was released on a Christian label, but apparently they don't play Christian rock. If you're over 18 and have never heard of them, don't feel bad. You're definitely not in the minority.
Onstage, Chevelle look every inch the clean-cut punks, and it occurred to me that I might have enjoyed something like this at 19 - bass-heavy, angry-sounding rock with metal riffs and elements of prog and emo and plenty of shifts in mood and tempo. Possibly. Who knows? That was the early 90s. In 2004 it just sounds boring and trite, and it was all I could do to stay awake.
The crowd, mostly middle-class white kids, looked like a casting call for a Hollywood frat party scene. (Yes, I know I made an observation about Kid Rock's all-white audience just two weeks ago. It's just a coincidence - I'm not race obsessed.) This is worth noting not because I have anything against the white middle classes (I used to be a member myself and hope to join their ranks again in the future), but because of the sheer homogeneity of the crowd. This is music for middle-class white kids, angry-sounding but really quite content with itself.
The boys play their instruments very well but lack stage presence. Without a sense of humour or dose of true rock 'n' roll angst, it was all a bit humdrum and watery. Oh, Pete , you can growl out that annoying emo scream, all right, but I'm just not believing it.
It's all good harmless fun for the kids, though, and exactly what you should expect them to like. After all, what were most grunge denizens of the early 90s but these same kids, only with long hair and plaid shirts instead of Vans and baseball caps?