Recap: Evil Empire, Beat the Smart Kids at Quenchers Saloon

Phil Collins - February 2, 2015

Evil Empire

Evil Empire at Quenchers Saloon on January 30

Evil Empire headlined an all-ska lineup at Quenchers Saloon on Friday night. The local ska-core band has been playing shows again on a sporadic basis for the last couple years. It sounds like this lineup is getting tighter as they play more shows together. Evil Empire released the excellent album Does This Genocide Make Me Look Sexy? in 2006. Their lead singer moved out of state a little later but the band continued playing shows with the lead singer from Agents of Change for a time. They are now playing shows with a new singer, who brings an active presence and some Spanish lyrics to the stage.

The band recorded a few songs with the current lineup, which you can stream below or download from their bandcamp page. They played these new songs on Friday, as well as old classics "Scam," "Kill Me Please," "Turn the Gun," "Cult of Domesticity," "Cross This Line" and "Support Your Local Police State." I've seen Evil Empire twice now with their current lineup. The crowd at both shows seemed to be a mix of people who remember the songs from the old days and people who are more familiar with the new material. More importantly, the crowd has been into it both times: skanking, moshing and singing along. I'm just happy Evil Empire is playing shows again.

Beat the Smart Kids

Beat the Smart Kids at Quenchers Saloon on January 30. Photo by D. Brawlins

One of the bands that used to play with Evil Empire back in the day was another local ska band called Waste Basket. Their lead singer's newest band, Beat the Smart Kids, played just before Evil Empire on Friday. They just started playing shows in 2014 but they seem to play fairly often now. They sound like they are playing a lot, but of course Dom isn't the only member who plays in other bands. These are veterans of the local scene. Beat the Smart Kids plays with a full horn section and keyboards for maximum two-tone skankin action. Their next Chicago show is at the Mutiny on February 28th with Solution Unsatisfactory, Psycho Fight and Muggsy Bogues. Madison's 4 Aspirin Morning and locals Thirty Case Chase rounded out a solid ska show.