DS Show Review and Gallery: Motoblot 2023 Saturday with Labretta Suede & The Motel 6, Vang!, The Beat Creeps, and The Crombies. Chicago (06.23.2023)

The air was thick, but not yet due to the smokey skies from Canadian wildfires, which would eventually blanket over parts of the Midwest. Instead, this was your run-of-the-mill summer day-related weather condition. But sizzling could also describe the day’s musical acts. Vang!, The Beat Creeps, and Labretta Suede & The Motel 6 had the […]

The air was thick, but not yet due to the smokey skies from Canadian wildfires, which would eventually blanket over parts of the Midwest. Instead, this was your run-of-the-mill summer day-related weather condition. But sizzling could also describe the day’s musical acts. Vang!, The Beat Creeps, and Labretta Suede & The Motel 6 had the crowd sweating. The Crombies, brought its cool to provide a respite at the 10th annual Motoblot, a motorcycle rally and music fest.

Lucy DeKay of Aweful and Mystery Actions has formed yet another band. DeKay, along with Jay Howarth, Meg McDuff, and Elyse Dequina, introduced Vang! to Chicago with an explosive afternoon slot as its first-ever show. A Vang! bang you might say. The fiery set included “Bad Girl,” “Push,” “Demona 666,” and “Mannequins.” Vang! ended the set with “Let’s Ride.” DeKay said of that last song,

It’s about bikers! Haha perfect for Motoblot!

DeKay described the debut performance to me several days after Motoblot 2023 closed out,

I was so excited. Tiny bit of butterflies at the beginning and in between playing the songs, because Meg and I are shy talking on the mic believe it or not, was awkward but fun as fuck overall.”

For her part, McDuff,

I was nervous because me my guitar strings were loose, and I thought I was out of tune and my voice sounded like crap and it was so hot on stage I thought was going to pass out, lol.”

However, McDuff needn’t have worried,

But after hearing clips of what it sounded like from the audience perspective, it sounded good, and felt relieved.”

Vang! will continue providing opportunities for Chicago area punk fans to discover it with a pair of shows at Liar’s Club, on July 22, and August 4. You can also check out Vang! on the 5th of August at Jefferson Park Festival.

Labretta Suede & The Motel 6 arrived in its adopted hometown of New York City via New Zealand. But it made a stop in Dallas, TX on its way to The Big Apple. With its full-throttle approach to its set, the band seemed right at home performing among motorcycles from around the world.

While the entire band was a tight formation, the dynamic chemistry between lead singer Labretta Suede and guitar player Johnny Moondog, really stood out every time they shared the microphone.

Labretta Suede & The Motel 6 motored through a set list including, “Etiquette For Suckers,” “Teenagers Gettin’ High,” “Mean Mouthed Momma,” “Bait,” and “Crying Shame.” 

Labretta Suede revealed to me, some of the band’s history in the States, and mix behind the magic:

A few singles have come out on USA labels but I (labretta) am the driving force that drives the band. It’s the most juju strange & dangerous mom & pop/cottage industry brands around.

Check into the Motel 6 next chance you have, you may never want to check out.

The Beat Creeps brought the theatrics, with a bit of camp. Motoblot attendees were all there for it. As was I.

The band, comprised of Nic Roulette, Leilani Killgore, Ariel Dornbush, and Elliot Tanner, pummeled through its set, which included, “The Phantom,” “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” “Valley of Broken Hearts,” “I Don’t Want To Die,” and a rollicking cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “How Does That Grab Ya Darling?”

Lead singer Roulette utilized various items around the stage as props including a neon orange construction cone atop his skull. Several times he threw the mic stand and the mic itself into the photo pit. Of course, it is always a good idea to keep one eye looking through the lens and one eye on your surrounding whilst shooting a show, so I should note that those of us documenting the antics were never in danger of being struck such items. I also have little doubt that Roulette was at aware of his aim, to ensure no injuries, as well.

Instead, The Beat Creeps served an entertaining audio and visual feast to the crowd which heartily digested it. I look forward to a second helping sooner than later. It shouldn’t be too long a wait as the band plans to release a full-length album in 2024. Until then, the band, which self-describes, as, “Unapologetic garage rock and roll with a punk feel appeal to it.” That’s a pretty on-target description of The Beat Creeps.

Chicago’s very own two-tone outfit The Crombies, a staple of Motoblot, has always been a reliably fun band to see live. However, please know I am not at all suggesting its act has become monotonous. While there is a thread of consistency in the band members’ moves on stage, they possess the abilities to, nevertheless, make them seem fresh. The friendships amongst this band of brothers-from-other-mothers is obvious and results in a propulsive spark to The Crombies’ sets. Several play in other bands with each other, most especially Chicago’s legendary rock steady collective Deal’s Gone Bad (DGB). This day was no exception. Singer Mike Park, guitar players Vee Sonnets and Dave Simon, drummer Matt Meuzelaar, bass player Kevin Lustrup Anthony Abbinanti of the Drastics and who played with Sonnets and Simon in DGB (Park was the original singer as well) filled in for Karl Gustafson on keys.

Saturday’s set included a few The Crombies originals, “Unsavory Types,” “Sneaky Pete,” and “Putting On Airs.” The band also took the crowd through a tour of two-tone, ska, and reggae history with some classic covers. These included “Click, Click” by The English, “Little Bitch” by The Specials, Toots and the Maytals’ “Monkey Man,” and a mashup of two songs, “Chase the Devil” by Max Romeo and “English Civil War” by The Clash.

Abbinanti subbing for Gustafson was not the only different aspect to this year’s set. Unlike pretty much every other The Crombies Motoblot set I’ve witnessed, Simon did not ride the shoulders of a friend in the crowd. The fact that Simon was playing at all is a testament to his grit and stubbornness, as several weeks earlier, he broke his left clavicle when attending a punk show as a fan, not a performer. Even though Simon had very recently had surgery for the injury, with some visible black medical tape, he was able to tough it out. Surely it was not easy, as evidenced by the sight of him grimacing, and holding tight his injured wing post-set. So, from us at DS to D.S., we give him serious praise if not also a bit of concern. Ardent fans of The Crombies, and of Simon himself, need him back whole and I look forward to Simon once again playing atop shoulders at Motoblot 2024. Taking place again in this, per Carl Sandburg, City of the Big Shoulders.

Please check out more photos from the show. Also, stay tuned for coverage Sunday’s sets, by my colleague ManVsFriction, coming soon.

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