DS Show Review & Gallery: Sparrowhawk, Petty Larcenists, and “Little Dave” Merriman. Members of Off With Their Heads lend local support. Chicago (04/23/2023)

Liar’s Club played host to two Minneapolis-based bands, Sparrowhawk and Petty Larcenists on April 23, 2023. The Arrivals‘ “Little Dave” Merriman, opened up with a solo set and his fellow Chicagoans, Off With Their Heads‘ Ryan Young and Kyle Manning, jumped on the Saturday night bill to provide closing local support for their friends from the Twin Cities.

Sparrowhawk, out of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN), gave a soaring performance. The band flew through its set which included, “Take A Bow,” “Colony Song,” “Blackberry Brandy,” Queen & Country,” and “Fool’s Mercy.” Ok, no third bird pun, I promise but it was a terrific showing.

Sparrowhawk is prepping to release its self-titled debut album this summer. Looking forward to it for sure.

Petty Larcenists, also from the City of Lakes, were rowdy and loud, and in the midst, pilfered the hearts of the crowd (hey, not bird related). Tunes included “The Last Time,” “Loud and Ugly,” “The Kids Back Home,” and “I Can’t Get High,” from its 2019 release “Stolen Chords and Lifted Riffs.” Oh, and the group has an of amusing set of “stolen” band logos too, including homages to the TV show, Law and Order, and the English Premier League among others. Check them, and the band, out now.

“Little Dave” Merriman, of The Arrivals, played a terrific solo set to kick off the evening. Armed with just his guitar, the set was both fun and tender. That latter adjective because Merriman has written several tunes for his just- turned-one-year-old daughter, including her theme song, “J.E.M.”

Who’s that girl? / Right over there / What’s her name again? / It’s Josephine / Elisabeth / Merrrriiiiimaaaaan

In another of the “Jo Songs,” “President of Space,” the proud papa lets his little girl know that the sky’s the limit,

You don’t have to be the President of Space / But I know you have it in you / You could if you wanted and I think that you’d do great.”

Getting verklempt at a punk show isn’t the most common expectation. However, it happened here and there isn’t really a need to discuss this in a “Coffee Talk” format. Merriman gave a very moving set while standing very still. But this Lullaby punk was neither syrupy nor cloying in the slightest. Just pure sweetness. Such a treat.

Merriman also performed “I’m Going Up Again,” and “You Know,” from his 2014 solo record, “Odd Bird,” on which he wrote all songs and played all instruments.

Merriman is working on a new album, or maybe two.

I’m going to do another one [solo record] and it will have children’s songs on it. Or I’ll do two separate releases.

Whichever way he decides to release the new material, Dying Scene will be there for it. I know I will be.

Ryan Young and Kyle Manning, from Off With Their Heads (OWTH), played a freewheeling closing set. In a Facebook post, OWTH described the show this way,

Oh yeah! We caught word our friends from Minneapolis were playing our friends’ bar in Chicago and didn’t have a local band. Sounds perfect to jump on.

There was a physical set list on the stage, though the musicians didn’t really follow it in any organized manner. No matter, because everyone seemed to be having a good, laid-back time as Young and Manning closed out the night among pals.

Just days after this show, OWTH kicked off the first leg (USA/Canada) of the “HOME Ten Year Anniversary” tour in Detroit, MI. Several stops have already been sold out. Make sure to grab tickets as soon as you can.

Please see more photos from the show below. Thanks & Cheers!

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