Duenow, Panoply Academy, The Impossible Shapes
The Melody Inn
Friday, Feb. 4
Making their first appearance at the Melody Inn, Chicago-based hillbilly hard-rockers Duenow opened the Feb. 4 hard rock show with their "Secular Whores of Babylon." Despite the yee-haw overtones of their act, it's well-written stuff.
The Impossible Shapes
Imagine the open raging diary of an intellectual redneck with massively Freudian ISSUES (one of the songs is about a dad calling his daughter on a phone-sex line), and you've got the general idea. Singer/guitarist Zach Duenow coaxed roaring rock licks from his acoustic guitar, and Dorothea Duenow provided excellent drum backup while carrying off the difficult yet aesthetically pleasing task of performing while dressed like a down-home showgirl.
Bloomington's Panoply Academy turned in a completely different tack, keyboard-heavy electronic rock, precisely measured and timed with long instrumental sections between the vocals. They have an intriguing experimental sound from the era when the new wave combined with hard rock, like those songs Led Zep would record after Plant and Page got into the heavy philosophy and mystic ideas.
The Impossible Shapes, from Bloomington, provided a great end to the show, with a mix of late punk and early alternative - in other words, heavy guitars with more than three chords and short, sharp songs with better lyrics. Okay, they're a little hard to quantify (what do you expect from a band with a name like that?), but they were a good balance between the different eras of punk and not-quite-punk: not as hard or loud as the Ramones, not as whiny or annoying as Green Day or Blink-182. It deserves an appellation all its own. Power-emo? Pop-core? I'll leave the neologisms to the experts, and just say that it's good, danceable stuff, a perfect fit for the Mel's laid-back demeanor.