Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
Park West - Chicago
May 1, 1997
First Appeared in The Music Box, June 1997, Volume 4, #6
Written by John Metzger
dada made a splash in 1992 with the surprise hit Dizz Knee Land, and given the lack of radio play since, many people probably are unaware that the group is still recording and touring. The band followed Puzzle, its debut, with the outstanding American Highway Flower and last year, it released its third disc El Subliminoso. Yet, Dizz Knee Land is radio's song of choice despite dada's array of many superior tunes. On May 1, the band returned to Chicago with a performance at the intimate Park West, and it seemed better than ever. While its studio albums have been slickly produced, its live performances are full of all-out power. The trio (Michael Gurley on lead guitar, Joie Calio on bass, and Phil Leavitt on drums) has augmented its live sound with the occasional addition of a second guitarist, and this time, it brought Gurley's younger brother into the fold.
dada's live performances come off like a blend of Nirvana and Cream with a splash of Beatles-style harmonies, and in essence, it mashes the '60s and the '90s together into a cohesive sonic blast. Throughout the show, the band delivered several brand new songs as well as healthy doses of Puzzle and El Subliminoso. Its harmonies were extremely tight, especially on Mary Sunshine Rain, and it easily replicated its studio sound. In contrast, the music was a total assault as nearly every tune was furiously jammed. At times, Calio looked like Nirvana's Krist Novoselic, leaping about on the stage spewing bass solo after bass solo. Gurley provided excellent lead guitar solos, often dancing around the melody, and he managed to sneak a snippet from Eleanor Rigby into the middle of an outstanding version of Ask the Dust. Drummer Phil Leavitt gave each song a driving beat and carried a heavier stage presence than in earlier tours.
While speaking out against heroin use in songs such as the powerful Feel Me Don't You, the band played up its psychedelic musings on I Get High and A Trip with My Dad, pointing out the need to open up to the world and the people around you. The B-52's-style Here Today, Gone Tomorrow was squeezed into a cover of The Doors' Twentieth Century Fox. This set the stage for a brief flirtation with The Doors' The End before giving way to a raucous Dizz Knee Land that sounded extremely fresh — a feat that was incredibly amazing considering how many times the band must have performed this song in the past five years.
Box-O-Car opened the show with an average set of original material that sounded the same. Its lead singer tried way too hard to sound like David Lowery from Cracker.
American Highway Flower is also available from Barnes & Noble.
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Copyright © 1997 The Music Box