Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., March 21, 2008
Naked RaygunRed Eyed Fly, Wednesday, March 12
Despite being a commonly cited influence in the development of 1990s punk subgenres such as emo, Chicago's Naked Raygun hasn't exactly touched off a wave of acts that actually sound like them. At their best, Raygun stood firmly at the nexus of post-punk and hardcore without succumbing to the rote convictions of either. Wednesday's showcase by the recently reunited band started off uncertain, with Pierre Kezdy's overly bright bass stepping all over the mix. Once the sonic issues were ironed out, the quartet locked in. Vocalist Jeff Pezzati stalked the stage with the angry conviction of a sullen adolescent as the band ran through a crowd-pleasing array of career highlights like "Vanilla Blue." By the time Naked Raygun got to "Wonder Beer," an erstwhile pit was swirling at the foot of the stage. Fans sung along on every "whoa-oh" and bounced off one another with the spirit (if not necessarily the youthful zeal) of a mid-1980s all-ages warehouse show. Minutes past closing time, the band pulled out a rabid rendition of "Rat Patrol" that encapsulated both the generalized fury and forward-reaching aspirations that 1,000 bands have since embodied. When the ugly lights came on, everyone looked about 20 years lighter.