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Re-Viewed: Clear Static / Shiny Toy Guns

By Julene McCoy in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 19, 2006 6:09PM

Having resigned ourselves to the fact that we’re living the 80s all over again, we snorted some coke, charged some bone-colored business cards on expensive cloth paper, and headed over to the House of Blues after stopping at the sushi drive thru in our DeLorean to see if our inner sixteen year olds would like what’s being offered the 2nd time around of the New Wave juggernaut.

2006_04_clearstatic.jpgBoth bands last night hail from the LA area and Clear Static were up first. When the curtains parted, there was the band with Jacob Shearer shirtless on drums, Tom Pederson cigarette in hand and sporting an argyle sweater vest, cutie Michael David on the left playing a huge guitar that seemed like it weighed more than him, the towering Rich Pederson on bass and Danny Kincaid sporting a faux-hawk mullet. (Chicagoist had never even dreamed that this sort of haircut was possible.) Straightaway the band jumped into “97 Lies” and we were off on our journey back to the future. Between songs Tom’s voice sounded hoarse, but while singing it was not as noticeable due to the background track that helped mask any scratchiness.

Clear Static’s set was only six songs long and included a cover of The Romantics’ “Talking In Your Sleep” that had a staccato delivery and the band rocking out more than during their own songs. Before “Make Up Sex” Tom yelled out, “Who likes to f**k?” and the teen crowd went wild focusing their pent up hormones into unabashedly dancing to the song. That’s right – dancing – at a concert. What a refreshing sight. It's so different than the normal shoe gazing Chicagoist has grown accustomed to at shows.

2006_04_shiny.bmpOnto the “best unsigned band” as proclaimed by the one and only Tommy Lee of Motley Crue, Shiny Toy Guns. As soon as the band started playing “You Are The One” we had fallen hopelessly and madly in love with the female vocalist Carah Faye. Her hair, the short skirt adorned in chains and belts, the fitted black blazer…what more could one want? Remember, we are reliving the Reagan era at this point and are very susceptible to fashion and life cues from music. It's much better than paying attention to politics for them.

Gregori Chad had the sensitive whisper into a needy scream down pat during “Starts With One”. There are many comparisons to be had for 80s bands from Til Tuesday to Depeche Mode, who they honored with “Stripped” by deconstructing the song and making it their own, but the band seemed to transcend all that. “Rocketship” sounded more Wax Trax-era early industrial than “Rainy Monday” which came off as though The Thompson Twins had taken steroids. Once the audience started dancing they did not stop all the way through Shiny Toy Guns’ set either.

Overall, Clear Static is 80s fun pop ala Duran Duran with the requisite songs that get stuck in one’s head, but they need to work on their stage presence. Shiny Toy Guns seems to have the whole thing down from stage presence to songwriting. Chicagoist, for one, welcomes back the music that make us shake our groove thing on the dance floor.