Paul F. P. Pogue
The Melody Inn,
Monday, Jan. 9
Charles Levi and Chri5 Harri5 of Project 44 perform at the Melody Inn.
Some years ago, I came across a fairly obscure band known as Refused, who knocked out a series of post-punk records, including The Shape of Punk to Come, which tied together all the strands of punk up to that point and virtually closed the door on the old forms of the genre.
I got that same feeling from Chicago's Project 44, headlined by bassist Charles Levi, longtime member of My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, when they hit the Melody Inn Monday night. You may recall Levi and the rest of the gang from Thrill Kill Kult as the band playing in the club where all the people get shot up in The Crow. Project 44 paid tribute to that as well, performing the blazing "After The Flesh," TKK's contribution to the film's soundtrack.
The shape of things to come was certainly on many people's minds that night. "Welcome to the future!" DJ Copper Top said in her introduction, and she might have been onto something there. Lead singer Chri5 Harri5 echoed the sentiments late in the show when he screamed in between songs, "We're setting out to save industrial music!"
"Saving" a form has always been an interesting statement. Like Refused and The Crow themselves, Project 44 takes seriously the task of gathering everything that has been done before and sending it spinning off into the next logical direction, which in their case is a futuristic blend of punk, industrial and electronic. You know you're in for it when they blitz through a song, then the lead singer announces, "We're gonna speed things up a bit!" Sometimes the best way to save a genre or form is just do a damn good job at it, and Project 44 delivered, with their shrieking vocals and floor-throbbing basslines combined with tack-sharp suits-and-ties and a pissed-off attitude.