Post-Punk Band Ought Rouses Lincoln Hall

With each wave of his finger, Tim Darcy had the room move with him. “I am no longer afraid to die because that is all that I have left,” he sang while dropping his guitar and as rows of the audience chanted with him.

Post-punk four-piece Ought headlined Lincoln Hall last Friday, in support of their month-old third album, Room Inside the World. With off-kilter, scratchy guitars, the minimalist band often sounded like the Talking Heads but frontman Tim Darcy delivered his observations of the mundane with the dark melodrama of Nick Cave.

The band often fell into rhythmic pockets, as the drummer looked flat-out gleeful while playing “These 3 Things.” But the band is tight by orchestration backed by steady, hypnotic Krautrock rhythms. Each note felt intentional, even economical. Angular melodies juxtaposed with a deep, crooning voice.

Even with a recent release, Ought thankfully played songs across their three albums (thereby avoiding the annoying, disappointing thing that bands who have been around for years do: play mostly from the new album). Highlights included “Beautiful Blue Sky” and “The Weather Song,” and feeling the energy radiate from the band with new songs like “Disgraced in America.”

The best concerts book a bill, not just a headlining band. Snail Mail, touring with Ought, opened with an array of guitar rock, but the band truly filled the room with teenage Lindsey Jordan’s tremendous voice. As fun as their fast and hard songs were, the real treats in the set were the slower songs — they were more nuanced, flavorful, and, frankly, more original.

Good nights don’t last forever, but good concerts make you reflect on them later in the evening and the following day, like trying to remember a dream. As Darcy sang, “it was never gonna stay,” but I can almost still feel the idiosyncratic rhythms bounce in my step.

Colin S. Smith
Colin S. Smith

Colin Smith thinks that Chicago right now is the place to be for music. He works for Illinois Humanities, is a freelance writer, and plays psychedelic-pop songs with his band.

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