They Came. They Saw. They Conquered: The Orwells at Underground Arts

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The Orwells | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN
The Orwells | photo by Tom Beck for WXPN

BuzzFeed can suck it. Punk rock is alive and well in the Millenial generation, and if you need proof look no further than The Orwells. The group of early-twenty-somethings who hail from the rural outskirts of Chicago grew up with a punk rock education that’s become increasingly prevalent among today’s college-aged kids. The group’s new album set to come out this February, Terrible Human Beings, will likely be the latest addition to a flurry of great garage-punk albums to come out in recent years.

It’s a list of bands that’s becoming ever more impressive, featuring acts like FIDLAR, Twin Peaks, Speedy Ortiz, Bully, Tacocat, Downtown Boys, The Summer Cannibals, and Philly’s own Sheer Mag. But without a doubt, chief among them is The Orwells. The Orwells have a more melodic take on punk than most other punk bands; it’s a sound not unlike that of The Replacements or The Clash. The band’s two albums to date are brilliant, but the band’s live show is what makes them stand out.

That show was on full display Friday night at Underground Arts. The Orwells kicked things off with the latest single from the new album called “They Put a Body in the Bayou,” sending the overwhelmingly under-25 crowd into a moshing frenzy. During the course of the show, lead singer Mario Cuomo, who sported a cheeky Trojan condoms t-shirt, stage dove, crowd surfed and danced with fans as the band plowed through favorites like “Mallrats (La La La),” “Who Needs You,” “Gotta Get Down,” “In My Bed,” “Southern Comfort” and “Dirty Sheets.”

Also on display were a few new songs, such as “Black Francis,” “Creatures” and “Buddy.” The only downfall of the show was the poor acoustics of Underground Arts’s Black Box stage. There were a few points throughout the night in which Cuomo took a minute or two off from dancing with the crowd to engage in some friendly dialogue, but you couldn’t make a word of it out. At one point while crowd surfing, Cuomo stole the disco ball attached to the ceiling. According to the band’s Instagram, he kept it as a souvenir. Why? Because punk rock is alive and well.

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