Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Devitalize: A Quick Review Of Chain And The Gang Live At Third Man Records

That D.C.-area legend up there, Ian F. Svenonius has been incredibly busy this year. He took a revitalized line-up of The Make-Up back on the road -- my pic up there is of Ian at the band's scorching set at the Black Cat back in May -- and he's dropped what amounts to a solo record from his sinister Escape-ism project, reviewed by me here, along with 2 studio releases from Chain and The Gang, also reviewed by me here and here. That would be a full slate for anyone but Ian has also dropped a live album from Chain and The Gang which I somehow overlooked until now.

The release, called, appropriately enough, Live at Third Man Records, is apparently out now via Third Man Records, appropriately enough. It is as close as you're likely to get to a first-hand taste of this rock shaman's subversive shtick on vinyl, or disc. The set is pure fire, with the players here -- Francy Graham on guitar, Anna Nasty on bass, and Jim Thompson on drums -- burning through these standards from Chain and The Gang with near-abandon and prodigious force.

And for all the moments here that bristle with that odd brand of Svenonius wit -- when you're not quite sure if he means a comment as a joking aside, or if he's about to start the revolution with a scream into the mike -- like "Why Not?" and "Certain Kinds of Trash", there are others here that seem to be the best sort of blend of Nuggets-era stuff with the kind of punk rooted in Ian's harDCore past, like "Devitalize", punched-up pop, or "Come Over", all amped-up energy. "Livin' Rough" and "Logic of the Night" offer live takes on the sort of tunes Chain and The Gang have been perfecting in recent years, while an epic "Mum's The Word" provides further proof of Ian's skills as a front-man and general rabble-rouser.

Look, I'm not usually a fan of live records but Chain and The Gang's Live at Third Man Records is full of such palpable power that I can only recommend this one highly. There's more energy coming out of this band, and these 4 players, than whole armies of other bands can muster, with the twin attack of Graham's guitar and Nasty's bass positively launching this one into the heavens. This release is as much as a showcase for their skills as musicians as it is for the vocals and delivery of Svenonius.

Live at Third Man Records is out now via Third Man Records.

[Photo: me, Glenn Griffith, May 2017]