Chain and the Gang, January 2014




Chain and the Gang (literally) kicked off their tour at the Til Two club on Friday night.

Anyone who’s ever heard of Svenonius knows that the D.C. punk veteran is a consummate showman. Throughout the show, the former Make-Up frontman/founder of the Gospel Yeh-Yeh genre did high kicks, crawled on the stage, and cavorted with the audience.

Svenonius’ all-girl backing band didn’t wear striped jumpsuits like last time, but the lack of costumes didn’t matter. Svenonius is always the center of attention, and he comes dressed to impress.

Svenonius’ demure bandmates seemed at times to enjoy his performance, often laughing and smiling at his antics. But at other times, the band looked tired (no doubt because they’d just driven across the country). Despite being a little road-weary, the tight band kept the songs energetic and provided the perfect setting for Svenonius to do his thing: proselytize about anti-authoritarianism and Marxism in a half-serious, half-silly manner.

Highlights of the show included “Certain Kinds of Trash,” from In Cool Blood, “For Practical Purposes (I Love You),” from Music’s Not for Everyone, and, of course, the classic track “Reparations,” from Down with Liberty, Up With Chains.

All set long, the crowd ate it up. At one point, a fan even slipped a twenty dollar bill into Svenonius’ pocket. The singer seemed taken aback at first, but he didn’t turn away the tip. What good Marxist wouldn’t?

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