Garage rockers The Orwells burst out of the suburbs of Chicago with their debut album Remember When, recorded while they were still in high school. They moved to a major label for their second album, Disgraceland, which was released on Canvasback in 2014. Now three years later, after having played some large festivals, appeared on national TV, and joined the Arctic Monkeys on tour, the Orwells have returned a bit more seasoned for their third album, Terrible Human Beings. The new album is a slight departure from the raucous garage rock of their previous releases and injects a bit of 90’s alternative rock, with a decidedly Pixies influence, in fact one of the new songs is even titled “Black Francis.” While there may be a bit more maturity and restraint creeping into the Orwells studio sound, their live shows remain wild and unrestrained as we discovered at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro NC during their recent run of dates supporting Terrible Human Beings.
The Orwells hit the stage with and launched into “Black Francis” with a ferocious intensity that set the pace for the rest of the evening. Charismatic frontman Mario Cuomo wasted no time engaging the rambunctious crowd, singing from the edge of the stage and leaning into the swirling horde of bodies. With barely a pause, they followed with “Dirty Sheets,” and somehow managed to ratchet the energy up another level. No longer content to sing to the crowd, Cuomo threw himself off the stage and into the churning mass, singing from the floor surrounded by the enraptured fans. Anchored by Henry Brinner on drums and Grant Brinner on bass, with Dominic Corso and Matt O’Keefe providing noisy distortion and serrated guitar hooks, the band matched the swagger of Cuomo, playing loose and rambunctious without ever losing the plot. The sixteen song setlist pulled primarily from the new songs on Terrible Human Beings including “Body on The Bayou,” “Fry,” “Hippie Soldier,” and “Heavy Head, as well as cuts from sophomore album Disgraceland such as “Southern Comfort,” “Gotta Get Down,” and “let It Burn.” The atmosphere had reached a fever-pitch with wild moshing, stage diving, and crowd surfing by the time the band closed out the set with “The Righteous One,” that included a mini cover of the Raconteurs “Steady As She Goes” followed by an extended “Double Feature” sung from the rafters of the club as Mario had climbed up on a ledge to serenade the crowd from on high. While the Orwells may be maturing, they are showing no signs of slowing down.
Fellow Chicagoans, the Walters opened the evening with a wildly entertaining set of sunny indie rock. The band mixed surf guitar riffs with 60’s pop rock melodies delivered with the wild uncontrolled energy of a young Iggy Pop and the Stooges. The band got the crowd up and moving from the get go, providing the perfect lead-in to the Orwells set.
The Orwells + The Walters @ Cats Cradle – June 6th 2017