"Most people who are working, they're treated like shit, and they're paid shit, and they're doing stuff that they don't need to do, nobody needs the fucking result of it.
"If we all went on strike, and simply got paid for doing something decent, for decent money, then, well... Who knows what would happen? Stand up for your fucking rights, basically!"
Vocalist Dick Lucas, introducing "Work Experience"
On May 28th, 2023, the Subhumans made it to Chicago for the twelfth time in the band’s existence. A friend and I had tickets to the concert they had planned for late March of 2020, sadly that concert was cancelled due to COVID – a disease, which my friend, having avoided the shots because of their issues, is still being a bit cautious about three years later. I decided that the concert was worth the risk, and so I went.
The doors opened at 6 p.m., so when I showed up in 6:30, I expected to have missed a bit of the first band (Cop/Out), but it turned out that the concert didn’t start until 7:00. Cop/Out had a tight set, as did Canal Irreal, and while the crowd showed up for both bands, there was a definite increase in the crowding before the Subhumans took the stage.
The Subhumans started out blistering from the start, with "It’s Gonna Get Worse", "Evolution," and "New Age," then went to "Businessmen," "Work Experience" and "Apathy," before hitting the most recent release with "Fear and "Confusion." And so went the rest of the set – covering pretty much the full range of the catalogue.
There was plenty of the new stuff in the set along with the old – along with "Fear and Confusion," and "Terrorist In Waiting" from the Crisis Point album (which I think has a bit of the EP era spirit, even as the band showed its age a bit), they played "Internal Riot" and "Point of View' off the Internal Riot release from 2007; and at one hour, the band ended their set with the couplet of "Work, Play, Rest, Die," and "Religious Wars."
You said you'd look for another job
Well try it sonny you won't get far
Do as you're told and stop complaining
Being conned is part of the training
Crash course - learning how to lose
The band gave a spirited show throughout, with Dick Lucas (the lead singer) only beginning to look a bit tired towards the end of songs towards the end of the set. Nothing against that, though – at 62, he was a lot more active than I, given my commentary, when the mosh pit finally let loose three-quarters of the way through the set: “The 28-year-old me would have joined in, the 58-year-old me has chosen to stay back here.”
There were a couple other signs that the older age of some of the fans was taken into account. With the concert actually ending at Nine Thirty, there was plenty of time for the attendees to make it home and go to bed early, if that’s what they felt like doing. Plus, while the venue was loud enough, I noticed no noticeable increase in the sounds in my ears afterwards – something that I DEFINITELY remembered from some other concerts in the past, and which I know has ruined the enjoyment of others at other concerts.
So overall, I had a great time listening to a band which I had been a fan of since the '80s, and given how steady their touring schedule has been I can see the chance of me and my friend going to the gig together the next time they make it through.