Windy City Sensation with Flesh Panthers, Criminal Kids, Some Hearts, RMBLR and more

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Story and photography by Meredith Goldberg

Windy City Sensation returned to Chicago the weekend of July 16-17, taking over Liar’s Club for two nights of loud, rowdy cocktail rock with a twist of punk and hardcore. The iconic West Fullerton Avenue bar/venue hosted a host of bands, all competing for the title of most energetic set.

Of course, the music was pretty damn good too.

The weekend kicked off the weekend with beloved Windy City sons Bad Sons. The Chicago born and raised street punk team has two working modes in conjunction “Fast. Strong.” The group achieved its goals on both.

Although no exact stats are available at this time, Milwaukee may be the non-Chicago city with the most bands having played at Liar’s Club. Convert, the first of many Milwaukee bands on the weekend, followed Band Sons. Convert is made up of musicians from two different local scenes: punk rock and electronic music. Somewhat obscured by a very dense layer of blue fog, his performance nonetheless pierced through loud and clear.

Some Hearts is based in both Tulsa, OK and Los Angeles, Calif., whose member, Niah Bervin, joked was “weird I know haha”, found its way into the heart of the party crowd. opening with his energetic set.

Criminal Kids has been around for quite some time and has rightly developed a reputation for exuberant settings. From the regularity of the band’s appearances at Liar’s, it’s obvious that this is a favorite spot for them. He even recorded a live record there in September 2021. It all helped make the band seem very comfortable, among friends, on the compact stage at 1665 W. Fullerton. His performances did not disappoint.

From Criminal Kids immediately to a crime of another kind. Crime Line comes out of Norfolk, one of the cities that make up Hampton Roads, a metropolitan area in southeast Virginia. (Note: this is also where I lived for several years, so I know the area well) In addition to its naval facilities, Hampton Roads might be musically best known for local hip-hop legends Missy Elliott and Pharrell Williams. As shown in the documentary “Hardcore Norfolk: The Movie” (2011), he also has a strong punk rock heritage. The best known is probably Waxing Poetics. Crime Line continues this legacy with their exuberant performances. Lead singer Ray Braza may have been deliberately or perhaps unwittingly but bloodily inspired by Jack “Choke” Kelly of legendary Boston hardcore band Slapshot. Braza smashed his head with the blood streaming down his face and screechingly mixing with sweat to soak his white t-shirt which failed to stop him. Alas, it was unclear whether the tears completed the metaphorical holy trinity symbolizing the hard work it takes to achieve success.

Night 1 was capped off by the Dinos Boys of Atlanta, Georgia. Chase Tail did triple duty for the weekend. Tail is the lead singer of the Dinos Boys and RMBLR, with each group headlining their respective night. Additionally, Tail hosted the event. However, if he was exhausted at some point, it didn’t show.

Aces, from Milwaukee, kicked off the Sunday session with his no-flash thrash set. The group seem to be carried by their latest EP, released this year, “Raw Deal”, which includes the single “Outta Time”.

The Flesh Panthers are veterans of the Second City punk scene. Reverend Zombotron led the band with an enthusiasm that had the crowd slamming against the stages and walls surrounding the compact stage. The lively performance by the Flesh Panthers was one of the highlights of the Windy City Sensation 2022 weekend.

And then there was the Baltimore BBQT. Charm City’s 5-member team delivered a particularly exciting set. Gabbie “Sleaze-EG” Torres dominated both the stage and the floor. Sometimes, she appeared ready to slip right off the stage. Fortunately, the stage is built quite low to the ground. His bandmate, guitarist Alex Briscoe, evoked a whirling dervish with his almost continuous pirouettes. It remained in perpetual motion for the duration of the BBQT set.

Closing out the weekend, RMBLR left the crowd gasping and exhausted. Event organizer Chase Tail growled into the mic, cutting out the scene. At one point, he fell to the stage floor and started doing one-handed push-ups with ease.

Despite some brief technical issues with audio gear and guitar straps, the weekend was a bit chaotic. If there is a Windy City Sensation 2023, there will be high expectations to meet. I am convinced that the organizers can and will exceed these expectations.

Please see below for more images of Windy City Sensation.

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