The Goldstars at the Edgewater Lounge
Saturday, December 8, 2001, Chicago
I had been planning on going to the Old Town School of Folk Music too see the Handsome Family. I also could have seen Ryan Adams and Lucinda Williams at the Riviera. Instead, I went to a new bar on the far north side of Chicago to see a new garage rock band, the Goldstars. And I’m glad I did.
Unlike the majority of neo-garage bands, the Goldstars don’t have to double the tempo of the original sixties recordings in order to add energy to their covers, the bulk of which can be found on Rhino’s 1998 Nuggets box set. In fact, the Goldstars had originally called themselves “the Nuggets” and had planned on exclusively covering those songs. Fortunately, they decided against that idea and mixed in a handful of their own originals, most of which fit in perfectly between garage punk classics like the Rare Breed’s “Beg, Borrow and Steal” and Paul Revere and the Raiders’ “Just Like Me.”
It’s a strange anachronism for guys in their thirties to perform a style of music that was created for and by teenagers. I suppose you could say the same about rock and roll in general, but there is something about sixties garage rock that just screams, “Puberty!” And that awkward, primitive, savagery is what makes the best garage punk stand up over time. You can feel the hormones out of control when you listen to anything on Crypt‘s Back from the Grave series. While the Goldstars are all too good on their instruments to really mimic the raw intensity of the original recordings, they infuse the songs with their own power-pop freshness.
They might not capture the awkwardness, but the Goldstars nail the spirit of fun. From their chincie star-shaped necklaces to the glittery fringe covering up the organ, the guys in the band were obviously into putting on a good show. And they did.
And the Edgewater Lounge is destined to become a great bar. It was recently opened by the former owner of Chicago’s famous Augenblick, which was closed down by the condo-hungry forces of gentrification. It’s got a great vibe, and it will only get better once they install their extra taps for the draft Rogue Ale. Yum.