red lights


Conspiracy's politically charged
punk power, fervor from Fever

The (International) Noise Conspiracy / The Fever
Beat Kitchen
Chicago, IL
May 27, 2006

Story and Photos By Andy Argyrakis

When The (International) Conspiracy came to Chicago last fall supporting The Bravery, the group almost upstaged the dance derived headliners. That's because the Swedish based band unfurled with non-stop electricity, only building with intensity as its short set wore on and ending with a cannon bang of brash punk bravado. It's only fitting that this year finds them stepping up on the bill to leading position, though the relatively tiny Beat Kitchen was certainly not enough to hold the band's swelling fan base or members' raucous display of energy, movement and lead singer Dennis Lyxzen's uncontained microphone twirls.

The motion was obviously reminiscent of Roger Daltrey in his early days of fronting The Who, though the front man also evoked the emotions of a youthful Mick Jagger long before the "Beast of Burden" pop era. Stylistically however, the group was much closer to the new class of fellow countrymen The Hives (whose singer Howlin' Pelle Almqvist is also a Jagger disciple) the old school vibe of The Clash and the political bent of Gang of Four.INC Cuts off the group's latest Armed Love (which first hit America in October on Reprise) were ample, showcasing a fine collection of songs produced by Rick Rubin with additional appearances by Billy Preston and Benmont Tench (of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers fame).

Though those legends couldn't be present for just any old show, The (International) Noise Conspiracy poured so much effort into this endeavor that it could've very well been a no holds barred swansong to the uneducated outsider. But to anyone who's seen the guys before, this is simply the protocol for every night as each song sears with swagger, sweat and striking guitars. From the husky hand of "Black Mask" to the bold message of "Communist Moon" to the abrasive "Guns For Everyone," the gang entertained, shared opinions without coming across preachy and attacked their instruments as if they an object of war. Earth shattering renditions of "The Way I Feel About You" and "Armed Love" were also present, making one wonder why in the world this band hasn't made more of a significant splash in the States, though anyone who exited the cramped bar will surely spread the word in hopes that it deservedly spreads like wildfire.

Prior to that performance, The Fever made its return trip to town to a slightly more familiar reaction than last a late March gig at Double Door. During that slot before Electric Six, its latest CD In the City of Sleep (Kemado) had yet to hit streets, though it finally arrived at the beginning of May to solid reviews. Similar to the spring concert, the band was a bizarre but generally appealing amalgamation of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, elements of the psychedelic era and an occasional dance dribble akin to The Bravery or Kaiser Chiefs. It made for an exotic experience indeed, one occasionally steeped in self-indulgence, but generally appreciated for its refreshing, inventive, and at times, downright ingenious risk taking.

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