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Blind Shake, Cococoma, and Dante & the Lobster storm the Turf Club

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Tour-tight. That's what you call a band who spends every day on the road for weeks, sometimes months at a time, playing every night, and sometimes every day while driving in the van. Tour-tight can take an okay band and make them impressive; when you take an excellent band like the Blind Shake, it's going to make them the music equivalent of brain freeze from an ice cream cone--so damn good your head wants to explode. The Blind Shake finished their latest tour with a birthday show for Srini from France Has the Bomb at the Turf Club, and I knew this was not to be missed.

Dante & the Lobster fired up the night with a set of 60's pop-and-psych-influenced songs. Strongly crafted pop structures stood out although the single guitar and keyboards carrying the melody this particular night seemed a little thin--I kept wanting to hear these songs standing atop a huge wall of sound.

Cococoma quickly became the second Chicago band I saw this weekend to totally blow me away. Garage rock isn't known for having a lot of room for creative nuance but these folks have such a distinctive sense of songwriting that it was impossible to ignore. Two guitars (with occasional keys), bass, and drums laid support for the drummer's almost Joey Ramones-esque vocals while the other three members pitched in with multiple harmonies and backing vocals, making something that I'd call flat-out pop if it wasn't so damn rocking.

If you haven't seen the Blind Shake before, you're missing out. There's such a plotted asthetic to this band, from the shaved heads to the duct taped decorations applied to their matching running jackets, it would be easy to miss their music if it wasn't so damn mindblowing. The Blind Shake commit every ounce of their being to their music and their live show. They're aggressive, intense, alternating between melodic and atonal, all the while physically giving every ounce of themselves to their show. The uniforms, such as they are, just give resolve to the sense that these guys are more serious about their 30 minutes on stage than some people are about their whole lives--it's like watching commandos storm a room full of people and proceed to rock your faces off.