The Functional Blackouts / The Obsoletes
Thee Parkside
June 3, 2004

Review by Jake Thomas

I’ve been listening to a lot of punk lately, due to the influence of one of my long time friends who made me a few mixes (70’s Cleveland stuff and some other assortments). Since then, I’ve really been itching to see some loud, abrasive, unpolished rock music. Obviously, the first choice for such entertainment is Thee Parkside, and it certainly didn’t let me down this go-around. I was going specifically for The Functional Blackouts, whom I’d heard a couple of songs by and heard favorably compared to the Pagans; but I got there really early, enough so to catch the entire show by the first band, The Obsoletes. They were very poppy, and although some of their songs were a bit lackluster, when they were on it was great. They reminded me of old Replacements, Exploding Hearts, and similar such rocking pop music, with just a hint of punk to it. There was lots of harmonies from the bassist and guitarist, who both managed lead and backing vocals at different times.

Unfortunately for the Obsoletes, the Functional Blackouts came on right after them and blew the proverbial doors off the place. Now I only know a few songs by the Pagans, and obviously never saw them live, but comparing the Blackouts to them seemed like a reasonable choice to me from my limited background in this area. It was a giant, snarling mess of a performance, with their skinny Chicago-bred bodies contorted into all sorts of positions, all around the stage area, but it never seemed out of control. They kicked the show off with the only song I really knew by them, “Tick Tick Tick Tick”, and the performance of this one track alone would have been worth the price of admission; and it only got better from there. Words don’t really do justice to the performance, but the end result was a lot of sweat and a lot of smiles on the part of the crowd…I know mine didn’t leave my face until I fell asleep later that night.