By Finn Hewes
Feb 13, 2019
I walked into Space at 8:15. Doors were at Eight, and the openers had already taken the stage and were bathing the growing crowd in a slew of trance-inducing ambient post-punk rock. The Chicago-based three-piece call themselves Luggage, and as I write this article, they have just north of 500 likes on their Facebook page. Their sound was a bit rough around the edges and their stage presence felt somewhat reserved and calculated, but overall, they played well together and effectively warmed the crowd up for the main attraction.
One of Luggage’s Michaels (2/3) took his chance to fangirl, saying, “You’re about to see Gang of Four… we’re about to see Gang of Four… and you can see how much we rip them off.”
This closing comment garnered a few chuckles from the mostly older crowd, who had now filled every nook and cranny in the small venue, not leaving much room to shuffle around and take photos. Everyone seemed surprised to see me and asked if I knew the band through my dad. I got a few comments on my 35mm film camera, and the nostalgia it induced– back when the songs we were all waiting to hear were fresh on the airwaves.
After mulling about long enough for the piss drunk leatherjacketguy in front of me to drop two consecutive cocktails (9:18pm, in human time), some grips and the sound guy initiated a sequence of choreographed flashlight flashes—a language of their own. And I, a traveler in their domain! We took the cue to part, and through came the band, led by Andy Gill, the current lineup’s only original member.
Gill absolutely destroyed a Fender Squier. He slung it over his head and smashed it on stage, kicked it around a bit, and then pretended to piss on it. It was plugged in, by the way, so anyone who wasn’t 100% at attention before was now.
Gill picked the guitar up and, without stopping to retune, proceeded to plow through “Anthrax” to start the show. (Side note: At the end of the night, I saw the guitar on sale at the merch table—signed— for $120. A steal.) When the song was finished, Gill proclaimed, “Hey, I recognize like 20% of you!”
Clearly the Gang has established and maintained a strong and loyal fan base.
Overall the show was good. The newer members of the band were somewhat showy, to say the least. They seemed to be seeking out the cameras in the crowd, and I got a few dreamy eye-contact shots. My heart set aflutter!
Some of the older, “more hardcore” fans in the crowd around me complained that the new guys oversang. I thought the music was fine, but the stage presence admittedly felt aggressively arrogant, if somewhat forced.
The set list for the night included “Anthrax”, “Natural’s Not in It”, “Damaged Goods”, “At Home, He’s a Tourist”, “Ether”, “Paralysed”, and “I Love a Man in a Uniform”— Among other hits.
The show was enjoyable. Though it felt like a “best of” tour, the music was great. I’ll have to tell my dad.