Totally Wired Fest This Weekend in Chicago

Human Eye 2005 photo by <a href=
Human Eye 2005 photo by Canderson.
posted Friday May 23rd, 2008

The Totally Wired Festival gets underway this weekend in Chicago starting tonight at the Abbey Pub on the City's Northwest side. In its freshman year, the fest boasts quite an impressive line up and features a striking array of acts that many underground music enthusiasts don't get the chance to see too often. Tonight starts off with local weirdo noise outfit, Daily Void. After pumping a good number of releases over the past year, it seems as though Daily Void is in full swing with their brand of anxiety-loaded art punk. Their live performances are insanely intense, pulling past the normal guttural growling and posturing with a stage presence that would scare any square into a life of drug-induced solitude.

TV Ghost, the Lafayette, Indiana outfit known for their murky concoction of Scientists meets the Cramps, also have a slot on Friday's bill. Their debut single that emerged last year on die Stasi Records created quite a buzz. Now that their first single is back in print and they have a 12 inch EP on the same label and looks to be putting one out on In The Red in the near future, it looks like we'll be hearing more form them in the coming months. The Austin, Texas band known as The Teeners have a spot on the bill also, and fit perfectly between TV Ghost and the next act, AluminumKnotEye.

The mysterious Wisconsin north woods band, AluminumKnotEye now has their digs set Milwaukee, but after kicking around the psyche-bucket over the past decade it's obvious where their troubled, treble-hooked hearts lay, and that's in the weird woods of a sludgy mire. Their music comes off as instantly classic and nods to everything from proto-punk to some kind of avant-alien strum. Their only official full-length release, Trunk Lunker, from 2004 was jointly released on Trick Knee Productions and Deadbeat Records, and is still available.

No underground rock'n'roll festival is legit without an appearance from the mastermind of modern noise punk, Timmy Vulgar. His most adored outfit, Human Eye carries on with his strange brew of futuristic and carnal bellows, and has definitely laid the groundwork for more many bands to follow down the same path of primitive and clamorous punk that wield an odd cloak of forward thinking doom in their music.

The headliners Friday, Mentally Ill, are a Chicago treasure known namely for their appearance on the legendary Killed By Death compilation where their hit "Gacy's Place," lent a pleasantly torturous, and rhythmically chaotic sound that was instantly recognizable. After enjoying a recent resurgence with the release of their Alternative Tentacles album in 2004, and their inclusion in the You Weren't There documentary, this band, originally from the northern suburb of Deerfield, Illinois, have solidified as a force to be reckoned with and their live performance at the after party for You Weren't There was amazing.

Saturday night is just as impressive as the first. The local act, Catburglars open the show and playing with the sort of break-neck paced punk that's highlighted with a perfect touch of obnoxiousness. Later that evening, another Chicago pillar, Headache City will perform, replacing Clockcleaner's slot as they canceled at the last minute. Headache City is no doubt on of the city's most treasured bands. Their blend of pop anchored rock'n'roll, hardened songwriting, and Mike Fitzpatrick's windy vocals equate to a sound that is as oddly winsome as it is infective.

Indianapolis hardcore headliners, The Zero Boys still put on an amazing show, and have set ears ablaze across the globe since the early 80s with a sound that's tight, intricate and unrivaled. Their debut album, Vicious Cycle was a testament to the fact that amazing musicianship does exist in punk music. Now, twenty eight years later, they are still mowing crowds over and leaving their supporting acts in awe of their energy. Don't miss these guys.

You can buy advance ticket from the Abby Pub here and be sure to get there early as the show starts at 8 sharp.