ShoesMaggie Mae's Gibson Room, March 15
Playing one of its first shows beyond the band's home base in nearly 20 years, this classic power-pop quartet from Zion, Ill., found itself beset by one technical glitch after another. Guitarist Gary Klebe's amp failed before the group played a note, delaying the show by half an hour. Opening with "Your Devotion" from 1990's Stolen Wishes, Klebe played through a monitor until a replacement amp could be procured. The band found tentative equilibrium with "Say It Like You Mean It" from its solid new LP, Ignition. Then they committed the cardinal sin of asking for more vocals in the monitor before launching into their best-known song, 1979's "Too Late," which crashed and burned in a squall of feedback, forcing the band to start over. By now they'd run way past their scheduled set length, but played on and eluded the hook. Despite haggard harmonies, Shoes finally (ahem) found their footing as the dynamic old nugget "Tomorrow Night" fed into the new, Stones-style cruncher "Hot Mess" and a sped-up take on "Capital Gain" from 1977's Black Vinyl Shoes. Here's to a bugaboo-free return engagement that doesn't take two decades to materialize.