(Photo via Gabe Rodriguez)
It would be understandable to be confused about what year it was Sunday night. Case in point, upon entering the Metro, a stack of Illinois Entertainer magazines were visible, with ’90s Chicago rockers Urge Overkill on the cover. It was an evening that saw Local H traveling down memory lane, performing its greatest hits in a room that’s hosted the band more times than can be counted over the years. Much like the group’s seven-night stand in 2008, Local H took Sunday night to revisit its ever-expanding catalogue before the group releases a new studio album later this year.
It could be easy to forget, given Scott Lucas’ forays into electro-punk (The Prairie Cartel) and golden-tinted Americana folk-rock (Scott Lucas And The Married Men) in recent years, but the two man machine of Lucas and Brian St. Clair know how to deliver heavy and unflinching raw-power rock that gets in, gets out, and gets the job done. From the jagged and angst-fueled “Fritz’s Corner” to “Everyone Alive,” which featured pummeling drumming from St. Clair and howling screeches from Lucas, Sunday night’s show drove home just how muscular Local H’s greatest hits arsenal truly is. “Half Life” delivered an immediate offering of guitar rock from the band’s overlooked 2002 effort Here Comes The Zoo, with a ferocious Lucas shouting over loud and humming feedback. Elsewhere, the meaner “24 Hour Break-Up Session” got by on low and grinding guitar work. Of course, nowhere was the testosterone as front and center as on “Hi-Fiving MF,” off the band’s 1996′s breakthrough album As Good As Dead, wherein the overblown power rock song called out overblown power rockers. It’s a testament to the track’s straightforwardness that a startling 15 years later, it still whips a crowd into a frenzy.
Not all of the evening proved as aggressive. Fan favorites like a slightly sped up “All The Kids Are Right” and the irresistibly simplistic “All Right Oh Yeah” still demonstrate Local H’s stronger power pop sensibilities. And “Eddie Vedder” remains one of the group’s catchiest songs, single or otherwise, while “California Songs” stayed topical, calling out “Fucking Katy Perry on the radio.” If there was any downside to be found in a Local H greatest hits set, it’s that the full scope of the group’s songwriting capabilities can end up overlooked, with more expansive material like “Summer Of Boats” or “What Would You Have Me Do” MIA. Nonetheless, a night loaded with greatest hits and fan favorites demonstrates just how impressive a catalogue the two-man unit has amassed over the years, with due credit to former drummer Joe Daniels’ time in the band. In a lot of ways, Sunday’s show served as a call back to Local H shows at Metro from years past. But with the band actively producing new material, it’s just as much as a refresher for what comes next as it is a nostalgia trip.
To get more Local H live, check out the group’s performance on the Live From Studio 10 Podcast on iTunes, or, catch the band live at the Cinco Division event happening tonight at Mothers for a set featuring unreleased material.