A review of Parlor Mob @ Chicago's Bottom Lounge - OurVinyl
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The Parlor Mob @ Chicago’s Bottom Lounge

Concerts

On Wednesday, December 14, Parlor Mob (along with opening acts The Last Vegas, Waterstreet, and Young Distractions) played at Bottom Lounge in Chicago’s Near West Side. Having been an auto repair shop before turning into a concert venue/bar, Bottom Lounge still possesses a gritty garage feel – brick walls, exposed structural beams and wires crisscrossing the high ceilings, and large steel doors. Raw and understated decor, as to not distract from the bands.

By the time Parlor Mob took the stage, nearly 200 people had gathered. Established fans of Parlor Mob elbowed their way to the front, eagerly awaiting the start of the main act. The equipment was swapped out; the guys took the stage, and jumped right into the music. The set intertwined hits from their first album, “And You Were A Crow…” with songs from their sophomore effort, “Dogs,” demanding toes to tap, fingers to snap, and heads to rock. About a third of the way through the set, a shaking tambourine signaled the beginning of “Hard Enough,” and the crowds’ sharp head nods shifted to smooth shoulder and hip sways.

Into The Sun by The Parlor Mob

As the last notes of their final song faded, the crowd demanded an encore, yelling more vehemently as the band walked off the stage. After teasing us for a long moment, Mark, Paul, Dave, Sam and Nick reappeared, jumping right into “So It Was” and ending with “Can’t Keep No Good Boy Down.”

After the show, making my way backstage to find Dave (one of Parlor Mob’s guitarists, who I had been tipped off that he was incredibly personal and talkative). Finding him out back, dragging a cigarette with other bad members and a few girls from the crowd. We exchanged a few pleasantries and small talk about the band’s travels (they played Columbus the previous night, and were heading to Toronto later that night). When he finished his cigarette, he joined his other band mates, friends, and fans inside for a few beers before piling in their van and leaving town.

The show took place just a week after iTunes named their newest album “Dogs” the Rock album of the year. When talking to Dave I discussed their newest album with them. “Dogs” is a far cry from their Zeppelinesque first album “And You Were A Crow.” Their first album was soaked with blues and folk influences and yet their newest album screamed of metal influences. It is only natural to want to know what was it that had changed. Dave mentioned that there was a three-year layover between the albums and that they felt that “And You Were A Crow” had run its course. When they went into the studio to record “Dogs” they style had change solely for the purpose that they had been playing the same style for so long that they naturally drifted to trying new styles and techniques. This debunked my theory that the label, Roadrunner Records, a notorious metal label, had gotten their mitts on the group and asked them to change their style.

Having been a big fan of their first album I was delighted when Dave shared a rather neat story with me to cap off the night. Having previously mentioned that I was a fan of the group Band of Horses, and mentioning that their first album bared a resemblance to BOH’s sophomore album, and he had acknowledged that he was also a fan. Apparently the Parlor Mob recorded “And You Were A Crow” at Echo Mountain Studios in Ashville, NC right around the same time that BOH was there recording that very same sophomore album, “Cease To Begin,” which also proved to be a huge critical success.

In all, you are encouraged to check out the Parlor Mob if, for nothing else, they are a fantastic group of guys who are truly dedicated to their music. The rapport that they seem to be building with their fans by making themselves so available after the shows will go a long way for them. The music business has had the band on their radar since their first album was released back in 2007 and has been waiting patiently for them to break out. With the success that “Dogs” is having piled on top of what “And You Were A Crow” achieved, I suspect big things from this group. They have phenomenal stage presence and command the attention of the audience with their amazing sound.

Written by Molly Hermiller

SET LIST:
After All
Hard Times
American Dream
Everything You’re Breathing For
Hard Enough
Believers
Take What’s Mine
I Want To See You
When I Was An Orphan
Fall Back
Into The Sun
The Beginning
ENCORE:
So It Was
Can’t Keep No Good Boy Down