Filter has made quite the comeback thanks to the critical success of their current album, The Trouble with Angels. As Saturday night's performance at Cubby Bear proved, the band and its current lineup were definitely at the top of their game as they bulldozed through selections from their catalog. Equally as impressive as their set was the opening performance from Sacramento's Middle Class Rut. Both bands helped heat up an otherwise chilly night in Wrigleyville.
In their last appearance this past August, the middle of Filter's was delayed due to technical problems with the lack of treble in the vocals. Luckily, such problems were non-existent this time in their 90-minute set. What existed was a very intense performance from Richard Patrick and company that began with the opening notes of the newer fan favorite "Drug Boy" and concluded with their introductory single, "Hey Man, Nice Shot."
Leading the pack, of course, was Richard Patrick as he shredded his voice over the punkish "The Take" and "So I Quit" while being able to maintain a contain a modest coolness to their classic, and the formerly audience dividing, single "Take a Picture" in which Patrick played rhythm guitar to guitarist Rob Patterson's distorted lead. As a frontman, Patrick provided a level of enthusiasm toward the material usually reserved for newer, hungrier artists not well-respected veterans. His enthusiasm for the material was further fueled by the fans' excitement during the set which included a fair share of headbanging and, with a little assistance from Patrick, two mosh pits during Short Bus' "Dose" and "Under"
Filter's current lineup is, without a doubt, the best lineup the band has had since the recording and touring for their debut and sophomore albums. Former Otep and Korn guitarist Patterson added a little of his metal pedigree to the older material whereas bassist Phil Buckman and drummer Mika Fineo more than provided an adequate rhythm to the songs, they were the muscle and meat to give the older and newer tracks a bit of thickness in their groove. For Filter to continue this renewed popularity, this should be the lineup to keep it going.
Sacramento duo Middle Class Rut opened the show with a blend of Jane's Addiction's grander, more epic type songs and the maximum rock sound of fellow guitar/vocals and drum/vocals duo, Japandroids. The band's songs were filled with huge choruses, spacey echoed solos and powerful drumming. To be honest, had you not seen the band, one would quickly assume that the sound came from a three-to-four piece band instead of a mere two people. Due to the nature of commercial radio, it is unlikely that Middle Class Rut will ever break but, in all fairness, the band's sound is a bit grander than what you'll hear from most commercial radio programming and worth the time to check out if they are playing at a venue near you.
For the second time since August, Filter proved that they are still as engaging, both musically and in performance, as they have always been. Better yet, it was a night free of technical problems and filled with two amazing sets. One was from a band that will be guaranteed to impress you upon initial visual and aural impact. In the case of Filter, it was a set from a band that never disappeared but managed to come back hungrier and fiercer than ever. To them, I say, welcome back to the fold.
MIDDLE CLASS RUT
and courtesy of guest photographer Richard Patrick