On April 15 and 16, 2016, Local H celebrated the 20th anniversary of their second album, As Good As Dead (released April 16, 1996), along with the surprise return of Joe Daniels on drums, with two sold out shows at Metro in Chicago. The weekend also included an intimate acoustic set early Saturday evening, for 100 weekend package ticket holders, that took place in the Top Note Theater, located on the fourth floor of Metro. Read our review and see photos of night one here and the acoustic set here.
Both Friday and Saturday night sets were billed as “An Evening With Local H” so there was no opening band. Due to Saturday’s show being all ages, the night started a little earlier. It was interesting to see quite a few younger fans in attendance. Some appeared to be there on their own, while others appeared to be with their parents. I’m curious to know if the younger generation are into Local H because of their parents or a relative or if they some how stumbled across that little band from Zion, Illinois all on their own.
Prior to the shows, Local H had posted on social media that 44 songs would be played over the course of three shows. As a result, absolutely none of the nine songs during the first set of night two were the same as the Friday set. To be honest, if you opted to not attend Saturday, you missed out. Overall, the band still delivered just under 2-1/2 hours of music including the opening set with Scott Lucas and Ryan Harding, the second set of the entire As Good As Dead album with Scott and original drummer Joe Daniels, and an encore set that included both Ryan and Joe on drums. It was quite a night.
Once again a local radio station personality spoke on stage to talk about JBTV filming all weekend for a future video and to introduce the band. She said, “This is the best weekend I’ve ever had,” and got the crowd to start chanting, “Local H! Local H!” After she left, almost immediately Scott Lucas and Ryan Harding appeared on stage to loud cheering from the crowd. Scott and Ryan started playing and eventually Scott sang the opening count off, “One, two.” Once he got to, “One, two, three, four!” the night had officially started with Rock & Roll Professionals, the first of four songs from Here Comes the Zoo. Next was Gig Bag Road, the first of three songs from Hey, Killer. This is such a powerful song live and is one of my personal favorites. I don’t know why, but I was a little surprised when they launched into Creature Comforted. Hey, I’m not complaining and based on the reaction I saw from the crowd, they weren’t either. They continued showing love for their Here Comes the Zoo album with Half-Life.
Once the song was over, Scott finally spoke to the crowd thanking them and welcoming them. He asked if anyone was at the Friday show. After the crowd cheered he joked that he missed the whole thing. He called out the crowd for looking a little subdued before playing two songs from Hey, Killer. Scott sang, “Hack actors choking on the scenery, mere grist to feed the machinery, fairy tales and useless fables, prayers at the children’s table, that ends with us dead,” from The Misanthrope and then the song really kicked into gear and that’s when the moshing started. This song is a bit of a roller coaster as there are some slower sections but the build up to the fast-paced playing make it exciting. There was no time for talking and they immediately went into the upbeat, dare I say, slightly poppy sounding Mansplainer. Don’t get me wrong though, these back to back songs from Hey, Killer show exactly how good Local H are in 2016. While the band has a massive back catalog of songs to choose from, they are still creating songs that are interesting and engaging.
Before I knew it, the first set was quickly coming to an end. What’s the saying, “time flies when you’re having fun.” Well, everyone was definitely having fun. Scott started playing those familiar opening notes and everyone started clapping and singing along with him, “Hands on the Bible, scared like a child, God holds you liable, for what you’ve done,” and pretty much continued singing along throughout the entire song. It’s always cool to listen to a crowd sing a band’s song right along with them. Local H fans love their band!
The final two songs of the set were from the Whatever Happened to P.J. Soles? album. First was That’s What They All Say , which to me has one of the coolest sounding intros. At the very beginning of the song, pretty much after Scott sang, “Yeah, uh-huh-that’s what they all say,” the crowd took over with the “Yeah, uh huh” chant and he let them repeat it quite a few times before he continued singing the next verse. Once again, the tones Scott was getting out of his instrument made the song, at times, take on a deep and twisted groovy sound. However, it was towards the end of the song where he really created some amazing distorted magic. Ryan’s drumming on this one was also pretty insane. The way he pounded on his kit, I’m surprised it’s not left in pieces at the end of every song. They immediately went into Heavy Metal Bakesale. Another ferocious fast-paced song that left everyone in the crowd hyped up. Scott thanked the crowd and mentioned Local H were next. I also saw Ryan throw a stick into balcony. I hope everyone up there was paying attention as it appeared to be flying pretty fast.
There was a much quicker break compared to Friday night and before everyone knew it, it was time for round two. At almost 9 p.m., Scott and Joe walked on stage to loud cheering and clapping from the audience. Scott addressed the crowd, “Ladies and gentlemen, Joe Daniels.” The crowd chanted Joe’s name briefly as he walked to the edge of the stage and shook hands with a bunch of people down front before taking his place behind his kit. Scott strummed his guitar before speaking to the crowd. “Alright, one more time. Let’s take a trip back to before we all had cell phones to 1996.” Same as the previous night, the crowd cheered loudly at his statement. They played the album in the exact same order as Friday night with Scott singing the opening to Manifest Density Pt. 1, “One, two, three, four. You’re on to something good.” I have to say, just out of habit of having listened to the As Good As Dead album many times over the years, the fact that they didn’t play High-Fiving MF next just seems a tad bit wrong. However, I get it.
They followed it up with another fan favorite, Bound For The Floor, which had people bouncing around and signing along. During Lovey Dovey, Gabe came out once again to play tambourine and of course kazoo. The intensity of playing from both Scott and Joe during I Saw What You Did And I Know Who You Are jumped up tremendously during this song. Both of them playing furiously as the crowd reacted in unison. There were more trippy effects from Scott that felt like we were about to take off in a space ship.
About halfway through Freeze Dried (F)lies, Joe’s kick drum pedal broke. He stood up and chucked the entire pedal into the crowd. I cringed. I couldn’t believe he just did that and I hoped that everyone in the area had been paying attention. Scott continued playing while Joe quickly switched out his pedal and the song continued. If you asked someone to name their favorite song from As Good As Dead, I’m not sure how many people would pick this song, but after hearing it two nights in a row, it should be played live more often than not. Side note on the pedal, after the show in the merch line, I spotted the guys with Joe’s pedal. Luckily it did not hit anyone, but he admitted there was a struggle and that there was pretty much no way he wasn’t walking out of the building with it.
They continued with Eddie Vedder and the song ended with those same siren sounding effects before launching into the abrasive, fast-paced Back In The Day. Same as Friday night, Joe left the stage for the beginning of No Problem, but came back to play when the time was right. Once again, with all eyes on Scott as he sang, I really wish I knew what was going through his mind. By this point, I would hope he felt it had been a pretty successful weekend. Based on everything I had witnessed, I don’t think anyone in the crowd would have anything to complain about. Chicago loves Local H! Scott continued into the next song, “A one-trick pony in a one-horse town,” from Nothing Special as the music gradually built up to him yelling, “What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with me?”
Local H fans love certain songs and Fritz’s Corner was no exception. At the very first notes of this song, the crowd erupted in cheers. They knew what time it was and the audience were more than happy to sing along pretty much during the entire song, including a small section of the song where Scott let the crowd sing alone. Scott was at the edge of the stage when all of a sudden I noticed he had grabbed someone’s phone and was holding it up filming the crowd and what appeared to be himself before giving the phone back. Considering his comment about cell phones at the beginning of the set, I was a little surprised at this action. However, it was a cool moment for that person.
With heavy guitar distortion and the accompanying massive drumming from Joe, they played what is probably the most familiar song in their catalog, High-Fiving MF. The song was full of plenty of feedback and the noises that only Scott can create so very well. After the song, Joe swapped out his snare and again showed the crowd what was written on the top, F–K TRUMP with a sad face. Scott thanked everyone for coming. “Thank you so much, really,” and mentioned they were going to bring out Ryan to play bass on the next song. At about the same time Scott started playing O.K., the crowd simultaneously started chanting, “Joe! Joe! Joe!” and Scott actually stopped playing and the crowd chants got louder. Scott joked that Joe would be on the Republican ticket and everyone could vote for him come November.
The space like sounds from Scott at the end of O.K. lead into probably one of the best versions of Manifest Density Pt. 2. The variety of notes played by Scott throughout the song, along with Ryan’s bass playing and the groove Joe was holding down made this an excellent way to end the AGAD set. In fact, Ryan’s playing in this song seemed even more amped up than the previous night as he was constantly bouncing around on stage, hair flying, and just rocking the f—ck out. The song ended with Joe and Ryan, one by one, leaving the stage which left only Scott and his pedals and effects to end the night.
While waiting for the band to come out for the encore, the crowd started a Local H chant. It wasn’t very long before Scott, Ryan and Joe walked on stage to finish out the night. Would they play any of the same encore songs from the previous night? Would they play something totally unexpected? Yes, to both. Scott asked the crowd, “You got some more left in you?” and everyone cheered and clapped a resounding yes. I can’t even stress enough how awesome it was seeing two drummers playing in Local H. They started the encore with All-Right (Oh, Yeah) and proceeded to tear the place down with their performance. Same as Friday, Scott changed the line in All The Kids Are Right. “You heard that we were great, but now you know we’re lame, since you saw the show…” He stopped singing and the crowd finished with, “…last night.” However, Scott changed it to, “…tonight.” There was a lot of constant crowd singing in this one and there were times when Scott would let the crowd sing alone. Same as Friday night, once Scott sang the line, “You hoped that we would rock, wished that we’d just stop,” they literally stopped playing. The crowd erupted in cheers. They waited a few seconds and started playing again to finish the song.
Once the song was over Scott repeated, “Thank you,” over and over to crowd. He continued thanking everyone for being so great to them and for making them very happy. Once again he thanked everyone at Metro before he asked everyone to give it up for Joe, which incited another crowd chant of his name, and then he asked for everyone to give it up for Ryan, which had the crowd erupting in more loud cheers and the crowd began chanting his name as well. There was nothing but love that night for both drummers. Scott joked that he felt like Caesar between the two of them. Scott asked everyone to give it up for Gabe Rodriguez and again, the crowd cheered loudly and started chanting his name over and over as well. Scott continued by letting everyone know, “It’s not lost on us how great you people are.” He thanked everyone for coming to the show and for everything they’ve done and expressed how much they appreciated it and how cool it was for them.
Overall the Saturday set was slightly shorter than Friday time wise, plus there was one less song in the encore, however, there appeared to be no complaints with the two songs that were repeated in the encore. They are fan favorites for a reason. Scott yelled, “One more song everybody!” and the night ended with Skid Marks from their first album Ham Fisted, that started with Gabe singing, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.” Unlike with most of the Local H songs Gabe helps out with backing vocals, where he’s on and off the stage in a flash, this time he pretty much sang all of the song with backing help from Scott. While Gabe sang Scott took advantage of playing near the edge of the stage. The floor was alive with people moving around and getting into the song. Similar to “Cha!” Said the Kitty on Friday night, it was really cool to watch both Ryan and Joe play this song at the same time, following the same pattern simultaneously.
Eventually Gabe left the stage and Scott lead everyone in clapping along. At one point, while the stage was bathed in red light, white lights quickly flashed on and off illuminating Scott, Ryan and Joe mimicking the intensity of the song. Towards the end, Gabe came back out. Holding onto the mic, rocking back and forth, he yelled into the mic again, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no” as Scott yelled along with him. As Ryan and Joe were killing it with their both larger than life arm swings repeatedly hitting the drums, Scott was moving in the same up and down motion headbanging right along with them. It was pretty cool to see them in unison like that. Eventually Scott dropped to his knees, and even bent the microphone down to be at his level as he yelled and ferociously played his guitar. He stood back up, played a bit more, then took off his guitar and turned around and went to the edge of the stage to crowd surf. The fans all gathered together to move him to the back of the floor. He didn’t attempt to try and get into the balcony again. Joe brought his son on stage and again they tossed drum sticks into the crowd.
To quote a line from the first song of the night, “Let’s hear it for the rock & roll.” Let’s hear it indeed! With two mind-blowing, crushing shows, not to mention the phenomenal acoustic set, Local H left their mark, once again, on the Chicago crowd. Local H start their national tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of As Good As Dead April 29 in Ferndale, MI. Find all dates and ticket links here. Get out there and support the band!
The entire weekend was professionally filmed by Chicago’s JBTV, with a release date still pending. However, you can pre-order multiple video options here.
View all of the photos from night two here.