Chevelle rock the House Of Blues

A review of Chevelle at the House of Blues on February 8, 2010

, Staff Writer

It was a bit of a throwback at the House of Blues last Monday as Boston welcomed a pairing of hard rock acts to the stage for a night of sweaty noise from Illinois-bred headliners Chevelle and emo-goth openers Sick Puppies.

Chevelle’s set mixed a few tunes from their latest release, Sci-Fi Crimes, and a collection of favorites from their previous four albums. Guitarist/singer Pete Loeffler led the charge with a severe scream to open with the new tune “Sleep Apnea” that kicked the crowd of mainly just-barely-drinking-age males into a whirling dervish. Maybe it was something in the air, maybe they were just pissed off about showing up early for Sick Puppies (more on that later.) Nonetheless, security stayed busy all night.

Total disclosure: I was incredibly skeptical attending this show. I tend to lump Chevelle in with other hard rock powerhouses of the early 00’s like Limp Bizkit, Staind, and Nickelback. You know, bands that suck. This was unfair of me. Chevelle does not suck. As they burned through an hour long set of songs like “The Clincher,” “Comfortable Liar,” and “The Red,” I found myself singing along just like I did when I was riding shotgun in my buddy’s LeBaron with the speakers cranked. Indeed, Chevelle may be a dark, brooding, adolescent angst-ridden rock band, but they’re good at what they do, and they give it their all onstage.

The pit kept whirling and kids kept getting picked up by security. The guitars got louder and the guy next to me took his shirt off. It was hot as hell and the club wasn’t even near capacity. Chevelle didn’t even look tired. For three guys, they put out a lot of sound and energy. By the time the set closed with 2002’s hit “Send the Pain Below,” everyone seemed almost spent but still ready for more. Chevelle did not disappoint, returning to the stage for “Still Running” and an animalistic version of “I Get It” from 2007’s Vena Sera.

Sick Puppies is a great band name. I love it. It’s clever, it’s funny, it conjures up images of my old dog after he stole too many hamburgers from the grill, its catchy. However, the name of the band is the most original thing they have going for them. Maybe I’m too old to appreciate nu-metal, post-grunge, emo, or whatever the kids are calling it, but I just couldn’t get into it. “My World’ and “What Are You Looking For” are updated power ballads, and newer stuff like “You’re Going Down” just didn’t seem to have any sense of development to them. Granted, it’s tough playing the opening spot to a band with a strong following, but it’s still important to get the crowd warmed up. Maybe it was an off night, but Sick Puppies fell flat.

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