The Pieces/Urge Overkill
The Patio Friday, April 2 Chicago-based Urge Overkill reunited in February after a chain of personality flaws and industry comeuppance that served them a seven-year repose. The band had some early ’90s success with their version of Neil Diamond’s “Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon,” which Quentin Tarantino hitched to the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, as well as their own rock doozy, “Sister Havana,” which radio eventually killed. Of the original tri, singer/lead guitarist Nash Kato and bassist/singer Ed “King” Roeser are still around. Added to the mix is guitarist Mike Hodgkiss from the Gaza Strippers, and drummer Nate Arling from the Last Vegas, after UO’s original drummer, Blackie Onassis, wasn’t invited to the party. Amazingly, the band isn’t as wrung-out as most “reunion tour” atavisms. Though insufferably out of tune a few times, UO brought back quintessential arena rock, where Zippo lighters were born to flicker overhead. The timeline from 1985 to 2004 faded to invisible as Kato was ready for his close-up all night: a skinny, all-in-white human cigarette still sporting the UO belt buckle, logo-branded guitar and Adidas sweat-bands swaddling his wrists. They played a surprisingly loud and lively set and it wasn’t until near the end that I asked, “Are we there yet?” The Pieces opened and Vess Ruhtenberg was having a particularly “on” night with both guitar and vocals. The song “Accept Me” was heartbreakingly soothing and the band introduced several new, good songs. Of note, Vess expressed to me his “inseparable bond” with Nash Kato. He met Heidi Gluck in 2000 after her band, Heidi Gluck & The Accessories, opened for Nash’s band in Minnesota. Vess confessed, “I heard her swan voice, called her up and invited her to be in my band …” The Pieces played their typical great show, which I briefly discovered even sounded so from the bathroom.