DS Show Review & Gallery: The Brokedowns Record Release with Chinese Telephones, Dangerous Chairs, and Permanent Residue (01.28.2023: Chicago)

When Dying Scene last documented a live performance by The Brokedowns it was long ago. I jest, it was just about a month earlier, opening for The Arrivals on New Year’s Eve. This time, The Brokedowns headlined a sold-out show, with support by Dangerous Chairs, Chinese Telephones, and Permanent Residue. Big sounds in a small venue added up a lively Saturday night at the popular Burlington Bar in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood.

This event was the official record release party for The Brokedowns‘ latest release, Maximum Khaki, on Red Scare Industries. The band members – Kris Megyery, Jon Balun, Eric Grossmann, and Mustafa Daka introduced the fans present to many of the songs off the new album, including “Obey the Fumes,” “Ernest Becker at a Costco,” “Chakra Updates,” “Samurai Sword Decontrol,” “Honk If You’re Horny,”

The bouncy melodies in many of the tunes made for soft serve deliveries delivery of some stinging commentary.

Take for instance, “Ernest Becker at a Costco.”

Get in line for the offering you just can’t beat the price

Say c’est la vie to the sky-high fees

Say hello to paradise

I’m in the bargain bin

And I cannot decide

Between the shrink wrapped shit

Or the sweat shop skid.

It is an immensely infectious ode to “Big Boxes” and those who find themselves entranced by them. At least, in my interpretation, and personally the song reminds me of the documentary, “Walmart: The High Cost of Low Price.”

The playful song titles and droll lyrics in Maximum Khaki translated live, with an onstage cameo by Chris Sutter of Meat Wave for the tune “Keep Branson Weird,” added up to a killer night of punk music.

Chinese Telephones, out of Milwaukee, WI, and around since 2004, have shared a bill with The Brokedowns in the past, so it was no surprise they fit so comfortably in this lineup.

Just after taking the stage lead singer Justin Telephone put on a pair of very dark sunglasses. He informed the crowd he wasn’t trying to look cool. Rather, the eyewear was to protect him from the bright lights as he was still recovering from a concussion. Head injury be damned, he, along with bandmates Daniel James, Andy Junk, and Logan Stang ripped through “I Can’t Be Right,” “Crying in the Chapel,” “Back to You Again,” “Live Like This,” “Stay Around.” It was a rowdy and fun set. Hopefully, Justin Telephone will soon be fully recovered.

Chicago’s Dangerous Chairs, is comprised of “Little Dave” Merriman from The Arrivals, Jim Mertz, Andy Cline, Chris “The Kid” Landefeld, and Brian Fee. It’s a new group with veteran musicians and a 2022 debut album, Introducing Dangerous Chairs.” The record is loaded with evocative tunes. Among those in this night’s set were “Jeweler’s Lens,” “Slow Bleed,” “Regret Song,” “Statue,” and “Rooftops.” Just as The Brokedowns reminded me of another filmed piece of pop culture, so too did the Dangerous Chairs tune “Superman Is Painless.” It immediately made me think of a song from the iconic film M*A*S*H. An instrumental version of the tune also served as the theme for the equally iconic television adaptation. Turns out I had good reason. Per Merriman:

It’s a play on Suicide is Painless, the theme to M*A*S*H, along with the fact that he commits suicide in the song and also that he would always feel no pain.” That’s a pretty heavy description with lyrics even heavier:

Problematic Superman

As tired as he’s old

His emblem hides his broken heart

and his deeds all seem so cold…”

“...The only way to kill the man

Could only come from his own hand

And when we found him dead at least

You’d think we’d understood”

Apparently I was not the only one to think of the tragic story of the man who first played Superman. Merriman again,

“Andy, one of the guitarists, mentioned the George Reeves connection after it was named.”

Dangerous Chairs ventures into dark waters but does it so well. I am looking forward to hearing more from this group.

Permanent Residue, of Chicago, describes itself as “snotty pop punk.” The band, composed of Kate Manic, Jake Levee, Victor Lord Riley, and Vince Miller, wasted no time getting the crowd involved as it commenced the evenings proceedings. Lead singer Manic, with her furious vocals, led her bandmates through a pummeling set which included “Ogden Ave,” “Resignation,” “Oh Well,” “I Don’t,” and “Gilmour Girls.” Keep an eye and an ear out for Permanent Residue, a band that surely will leave its mark, not in name only.

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