Review and Photos by Tony BonyataIts only been a little over four months since the Swedish rock band The Soundtrack of Our Lives took Chicago by storm, but, judging from their show last night at Chicago's Metro, not a whole lot has changed in that time period. And thank God for that.
TSOOL's lead vocalist Ebbot Lundberg is still as large and hypnotic as a house on fire. The dueling twin guitars of Mattias Barjed and Ian Person are still as dangerously out of control as ever, and their songs; prototypical examples of classic rock that can be found occasionally slumming through the seamier streets of Detroit, sit as comfortably next to The Beatles, Pink Floyd and The Who as they do with Iggy & The Stooges or Nirvana.
The exaggerated stage shenanigans of the two guitarists; preening, jumping, galloping and flouncing to their knees, made for an unintentional, yet immensely entertaining, comical foil to the larger than life, anchoring presence of Lundberg, who - clad in a roomy kaftan and hedgerow beard - mesmerized the crowd with vocals that turned from sweet sincerities to angst-ridden cries on a Swedish krona. And for those who may not have been immediately enraptured, the hefty frontman helped drive his point home when he later labored into the crowd and converted any doubters with his in-your-face message of "rock 'n' roll will save you (or at least, ours will, by God)."
Aside from the aforementioned high-strung stage personas of Barjed and Person however, the two actually served up some of the most inspired guitar solos, rhythms and unique six-stringed phrasings, that may very well eventually find the likes of Townsend, Richards, Clapton and Page standing at the gates of guitar goddom with welcoming hands.
Despite reaching back into their catalog on inspired takes of "Firmament Vacation" and "Four Ages," both from their 2001 album Welcome to the Infant Freebase, the bulk of this show relied heavily on their most current release and modern rock monsterpiece, Behind The Music. Songs such as the pounding "Infra Riot," "Sister Surround" and the Roman-knuckle lock between The Stones and The Who on "21st Century Rip Off," married brilliantly with the punchy pop of "Still Aging" and "Nevermore," as well as the more introspective number "Broken Imaginary Time" and the piano driven lullaby "Tonight."
"Yes we're taking over, and we might as well blow you away," Lundberg cried at one point during the show, and by evening's end there wasn't a person in the house able to argue with him.
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