The journey to Joliet to see One- Eyed Doll at The Forge was fraught with terrors; like anyone who doesn’t live in Illinois, the thought of driving through said state brings a chill. Not because we’re scared to drive there, it’s just that the people who live there don’t seem to know how to.

Also, there’s lots of German cars there, and those people are just the worst. When they’re not hugging your ballsack, they’re cutting you off. It’s because of this that I just was not looking forward to to the trek to Joliet.

I was not disappointed. I left at 3:00, well enough time to get there for my appointed interview, and as it turns out, the finger of God decided it was not to be so! Five stupid (and really bad) accidents caused an hour delay. Like I said, Illinois needs to learn to drive.

We DID, however, get there, and what I beheld was a wonderful sight; I played this place back when it was called Mojoes, and I dunno what was different about it, but there just was a different tone to the whole thing which made being there a lot more enjoyable.

Unfortunately, I happened to miss the opening band’s set because I was having a sit-down with Doll Skin’s drummer, Meghan, who was just a joy to interview (check it out here).

I did, however, get to see Hi/Jack, who are from my hometown, and the last time I saw them was in a dingey dive bad in what we Milwaukians call “Westallica.”

Now, Hi/Jack are not a band who take shows lightly, they play amazingly at whatever venue they’re at, no matter the crowd size. That said, these guys broke out some serious artillery, because it was the best I’ve ever seen them play. They’re a duo punkish band with sort of this dirty rockabilly style to them, which will hit you hard if you’re not ready for it. Even if you’re not keen on the sound, their stage show was fucking phenomenal.

Next up was Doll Skin, a band I’ve been waiting to see for a little less than two years. They’re four tiny girls who bring a punk show that is rarely seen anymore! Very entertaining. They opened up with “Road Killa,” and rolled right through my heart with some stuff I knew, like “Baby’s Breath” and “Uninvited.”

Meghan made a point, during our interview, of saying that you can tell when bands don’t get along, and it was this point that stuck with me as I watched these four rocking out for the better part of an hour. At no time had I any doubt that they have a lot of fun together off the stage; they’re all just really good friends, and it really shows when they play. They impressed me so much that I pretty much cleared their merch table when they were done!

Closing out the evening was the goth-style horror punk duo One- Eyed Doll, whom I’ve seen before.

This is a band whose singer has always had me scratching my head, because I know character playing- every singer does it to some extent- but with Kimberly, you sort of stare at her and wonder if she really is a little mad. Be that as it may, she’s an insanely talented guitarist and singer whose punk roots make for a really cool show. Jason’s drumming is always fun to watch because he’s sort of the chain to Kimberly’s insanity- a much calmer cat to watch in the kit. They compliment each other really well, and every time I see them live, I leave with that same feeling.

One thing I wasn’t prepared for, though, was the addition of two live players! While they started their set the usual way, with Kimberly singing and playing, and Jason on drums, a bass player and guitarist joined them on stage, which meant that Freeman now had the liberty to leave the microphone, which REALLY upped her game. I’m all for the punk- style duo, but sometimes you just gotta’ give the singer some room to move, and the little madwoman did not disappoint. What was this sort of Helena Bonham-Carter kind of storytelling chick quickly became a crazy sexy cool snake charmer of a singer, and the entire place was enthralled.

This also enabled her to bring out a new instrument, her theremin! If you don’t know what it is, it’s sort of a hand instrument, using frequency modulation controlled by hand movements without ever touching the thing- used a lot in old 70’s movies(the original star trek theme).

The girl can play!

After the set, all the bands spent the next two hours hanging out with fans, and everyone one of them talked to whoever wanted to talk to them- at length!

We didn’t even get out of there until about 1:30, and for an all ages show, that’s a really cool thing.

All in all, it was a really fun night had by all.

 

Written by Hobbes Caltous for Bloodrock Media on October 8, 2017