OFFICE – concert preview

9:45 p.m. Friday, September 19. Cicero’s, 6691 Delmar Boulevard, University City.
By Jaime Lees
Published on September 17, 2008

Largely the baby of songwriter/lead vocalist Scott Masson, OFFICE is all about catchy, ultra-hooky pop songs. Albums such as A Night at the Ritz hint at a bit of Blur here, a sprinkling of Elton John there and overall a less campy Scissor Sisters covering Teenage Fanclub songs. Live, the Chicago quintet’s electro tendencies are more pronounced — it relies heavily on lifting keyboard melodies and sick bass lines, à la John Taylor of Duran Duran. As such, an OFFICE concert is always a joyous spectacle, with even the crankiest audience members dancing and clapping along by the time the third song begins.

Yea Big + Kid Static

Yea Big + Kid Static
9 p.m. Thursday, August 14. The Bluebird, 2706 Olive Street
By Jaime Lees
Published on August 13, 2008

The last time Yea Big + Kid Static came through town, the Chicago indie-rock emcees rocked the floor from the beginning — literally: The duo cleared a circle in the middle of the crowd for the performance, ensuring that everyone in the room knew they were in for an interesting show. It’s rare that a rap group is both tight and funny (most groups seem to skew one way or the other), but on that night these boys had it all: smooth rhymes, funny stories and solid prerecorded beats — in short, everything you would expect from a professional touring duo, but without the pretension. Most important, both guys seemed serious about putting on a good show — but kept it loose enough so it felt like a nice, classic “Yo mama’s so fat…” joke wouldn’t seem out of place.

The Dials

The Dials
10 p.m. Saturday, July 12. Way Out Club, 2525 South Jefferson
By Jaime Lees
Published on July 09, 2008

The Dials have a history of creating hooked-out, grooving pop tunes. The Chicago quartet’s debut full-length, 2005’s Flex Time, was a pop revelation. However, the band members’ combined talent was never as apparent as it is on the new album, Amoeba Amore. Amore takes the band’s trademark sound — girl-group sugar on top of dirty garage spice — and layers on tighter thumps and speedy riffs. Add to that buzzes, pops and bouncy hiccuping, and the results feel like the band took only the best parts out of pop music history (’60s harmonizing vocals, ’70s blaring guitars, ’80s new wave synth licks) and squished them all together. And while the albums are impressive, the live show is where the band proves its worth: The Dials make it look disgustingly easy (and fun) with an energetic show that gets heads boppin’, feet tappin’ and even a few devil horns thrown.