Punk done good and LOUD

The Tyrades: Tyrades

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Bands like the Tyrades are why I wish I went to more rock shows than I do these days. Not big stadium rock events, but loud, raw shows in small venues like Empty Bottle, Metro or the much missed Fireside Bowl. Places where how close you get to the band is determined by how much you’re willing to push through the crowd. And where, even if you dutifully wear earplugs, your ears will probably ring for a few days after.

I only saw the Tyrades a handful of times—in getting ready to write this piece, I was sorry to learn that they’ve broken up—but they blew me away every single time. Their live performances were filled with the explosive energy and hint of danger that makes punk so exciting to me. Jumping, spazzing and careening around often tiny stages, they seemed perpetually ready to crash into one another or just fly apart right there in front of you.

The video below is actually made up of still photos, but it captures a lot of that explosive energy. It was shot, edited and produced by Chicago-based punk rocker and photographer Canderson.

Energy is one thing, though. The music has to deliver too. And it does. It’s been dubbed garage rock and old-school California punk. Whatever you call it, it’s what I look for these days in rock music: fast and LOUD. Short, punchy songs that get in, get out and don’t pull any punches—the nine songs on the self-titled album clock in at under 23 minutes. Lead singer Jenny reminds me a bit of the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Karen O, but with any girly tendencies stripped away. The guitar, bass and drums are tight, but not so locked down that you don’t get the sense that they could veer out of control at any moment. And that’s a good thing. The album’s songs are stylistically cohesive as a group, but not repetitive—not a given in punk music. There’s real musicianship here, also not a given.

The video below suffers from the same maladies that affect most amateur concert videos: poor sound quality [particularly in Jenny’s vocals] and a single point of view, for the most part. But it’s worth watching just for getting a sense of their live performances. Including how they dispensed with the “onetwothreefour” or drumstick hits to count off songs—the bass player would just shout “Go!”

The Tyrades may not have been “Chicago’s first and only punk band” as they were dubbed by their onetime label Big Neck Records, but they came damned close to living up to that charming bit of rock hyperbole.

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