It was the early 80s and punk music was fading fast. Even The Clash had evolved into incorporating more diverse genres in their music as evidenced by 1981’s “This is Radio Clash” and 1982’s “Rock the Casbah.” Did they sell out? No, but they did change with the times … except not so much in concert. They were still a nasty punk band live. I recall my boss at the time telling me about attending a Clash concert in 1982 at the Aragon Ballroom, affectionately called the Aragon Brawlroom by Chicagoans. Back then, you would want to wear old shoes to any concert there as there would be puddles of beer and urine throughout the space. Anyway, my boss told me that he was close to the stage and was spat upon by The Clash. My reaction at the time was, “Lucky.”
Fast forward to the 2020s, and I swore punk was dead and buried. Oh, sure, there were supposedly some punk banks still around, but I didn’t think they really had embraced the punk sound as defined by Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, The Ramones, and early Clash. For me, punk was RIPing, until I heard The Chats.
The Chats broke through in 2017 with “Smoko,” which I don’t find very interesting. But their new album released last month kicks off with this punk gem called “6L GTR,” and it cranks.
That’s 2 minutes of raw punk power. The rest of the album that you can access for free online is more of the same. Maybe someday, this old man will be wheeled into a Chats concert, be spat upon, and have my nurse look down at me and utter, “Lucky.” But for now, they are playing a show in Chicago in October at a venue I’ve never heard of. Am I up for a road trip back to 1980? We’ll see. I may feel better having a nurse standing by just in case the time travel back to 1980 or the music is too much for my heart.
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