crowd shot @ Subterranean (via GIAA's Facebook)

In 2008, God Is An Astronaut toured the United States for the first time and had their gear stolen shortly before returning home to Ireland. Their 2011 tour marks the return that they thought they may never be able to make, and both levels of Subterranean were packed with avid fans, many hungry for their first taste of the band's live show. Their relentless set covered the whole spectrum of post-rock, from piano-based songs with e-bowed guitar to driving drumbeats and synthesizers, even touching on progressive metal elements to take the intensity to the next level. I drew comparisons to most of my favorite post-rock bands at some point in the show, but the similar parts were tasteful and unique. They clearly aren't simply trying to live up to their own name, displaying a punk energy that sets them above the majority of the post-rock realm. Unlike many instrumental bands, they do not linger on sections to the point of exhaustion.

Upbeat Brooklyn indie rock trio Monogold opened with a set full of four-on-the-floor dance beats and shimmering guitar arpeggios. At times their style bordered on surf rock with reverb drenched, fast-picked guitar melodies. Their vocalists alternated between yelling and mostly upper-range singing, with an unnecessarily thick wash of reverb considering the amount of talent that seeped through.

I have to commend Subterranean for openly providing free water at their shows, unlike many other Chicago venues. Hats off to the bartender who responded to my thanks by simply stating, "It's a matter of public safety."