"All Critics Are Frustrated Musicians -- Or Are They?"

"All Critics Are Frustrated Musicians -- Or Are They?"

Vortis, Meatbute, Bantu Knots

Fri, July 21, 2017

9:00 pm

The Hideout

Chicago, IL


Tickets at the Door

"All Critics Are Frustrated Musicians -- Or Are They?"
Sound Opinions family bands night
Thomas Hobbes might well have been thinking of Vortis when he coined his timeless description of a future dystopia as “nasty, brutish, and short.” Safety First, the Chicago trio’s seventh album, marks a powerful return to the group’s early style of political “agitainment” as well as trenchant observations on modern society, with most tracks clocking in at well less than two minutes.

As on 2013’s Modern Savage, the group features the combined energies of Tony Tavano (guitar and vocals), Louie Calvano (bass and vocals), and Jim DeRogatis (drums and vocals), who share equally in the group’s songwriting process and production. Regulars on the Chicago punk scene (at venues like Reggie’s, Township, and Quenchers,) and in neighboring states, Vortis maintains a strict weekly rehearsal schedule with almost religious devotion.

Formed in 2000 by Tavano, DeRogatis, Chris Martiniano, and F.T. (a.k.a. "the Fellow Traveler," Michael Weinstein, a professor of political philosophy at Purdue University), Vortis 1.0 released two albums via Chicago-based Thick Records, Take the System Down (2001) and God Won’t Bless America (2003), as well as the self-released disc Warzone (2009). Prior to the latter, the professor left to devote all of his creative/anarchist energies to his political writings. (Safety First includes a remake of “Free The Detainees,” a fan favorite from the Vortis 1.0 era, inspired by the government’s incarceration of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.)

Vortis 2.0 kicked into gear when Calvano joined the remaining three members, and this quartet self-released album number four, the self-titled Vortis (2010), as well as Things Won’t Get Better (2011), and a split seven-inch single with punk-rock gal-pals the Cathy Santonies. Shortly after that, Martiniano also left the band to pursue a PhD. Modern Savage, released in 2013 on Latest Flame Records, resulted in the band winning a contest sponsored by the CD manufacturer, which helped finance the pressing of the self-released Safety First. (The band members note without irony that this is the first time any of them ever won anything.)

As timely as an Occupy rally, with the biting intensity of classic Chicago hardcore, the 17 pummeling, frantic tracks on Safety First were recorded with engineer Dan Dietrich at Chicago’s Wall to Wall Studios.

Of Vortis’ last album, Modern Savage, Razorcake fanzine wrote, “Modern Savage has the brevity of the Ramones, with an occasional Big Black abrasiveness, and the aggressiveness of Dead Boys.”
Meatbute is Chicago's only Meat Loaf tribute band.
Bantu Knots
(with Sound Ops producer Ayana Contreras)

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Venue Information:
The Hideout
1354 W. Wabansia Ave
Chicago, IL, 60642