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Scratchie Records Christmas Party Saturday at Metro
December 22, 1996, 11:00 pm

Source: Chicago Sun - Times

Chainsaw Kittens, Fulflej, Wayne party at Metro; [LATE SPORTS FINAL Edition]
JAE-HA KIM. Chicago Sun - Times. Chicago, Ill.: Dec 23, 1996. pg. 30

It's tough to outshine members of the Smashing Pumpkins, but the Chainsaw Kittens did just that at the Scratchie Records Christmas Party Saturday at Metro.

Hosted by the Pumpkins' guitarist James Iha and bassist D'Arcy, who are part owners in the 1 1/2-year-old Chicago-based record label, the concert showcased three Scratchie bands - Fulflej, Fountains of Wayne and the Kittens - each of which had its own unique style, sound and look. The only thing the groups had in common was that they each wished Scratchie President Jeremy Freeman, "Happy birthday." Freeman turned 28 on Saturday.

While the audience gave rousing ovations every time Iha and D'Arcy appeared onstage, the fans were appreciative of each band's set. The evening's most potent performance came courtesy of Oklahoma's Kittens, whose music veered from thrashing guitars and primal screams to lilting pop melodies and almost-gentle vocals. Fronted by Tyson Meade, a punk elf of a singer, the band played at warp speed through a 40-minute set that owed more than a little to Iggy Pop's influence. Iha joined them for a song and the dueling guitars sounded fierce and wicked.

With his glam pants and much-too-tiny T-shirt, Meade was an eccentric delight who would purr like Catwoman between songs. So when he - along with two other men, clad only in boxer shorts - scampered onstage and mooned the audience during Fulflej's headlining set, it wasn't shocking as much as it was funny.

Fulflej was unfazed by the prank. More problematic was the technical difficulties the trio suffered, such as the uneven mix that made M.C. No Joke G and D'Arcy's duet almost inaudible. No Joke's voice is high and sounds pleasantly strained. He is as deft singing as he is rap-talking, Henry Rollins style. Their encore of "Nothing Compares 2 U" was sped up and punked out, and it took a few moments to recognize it as a Prince original.

Tongue planted in cheek, Iha introduced the Fountains of Wayne as "modern day troubadours who sing of hope and desperation." He wasn't far off. Guitarists Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood take the best of power pop, marry it to wistful lyrics and channel it through Collingwood's smooth vocals.
Smashing Pumpkins' D'Arcy (left) and James Iha welcome the Metro crowd Saturday night.; Credit: PHIL VELASQUEZ

Credit: Jae-Ha Kim