Hailing all the way from Queensland, Australia, garage punk band The Chats brought their raucous, rowdy show to Wicker Park’s Subterranean venue on July 15th. Although the band was a long way from home, tickets for the gig had sold out months prior despite it being a Monday night. When the day finally rolled around, the weather in Chicago had reached blistering temperatures, but regardless of the heat, enthusiastic fans still packed into the venue like sardines in order to hear some of their favorite songs— including the infamously catchy “Smoko” from 2017’s Get This In Ya.
Following support sets from Side Action and Rad Payoff, the eager fans couldn’t contain their excitement while the stage was set for the evening’s headliner; Everyone chanted in unison, beckoning the band to the stage. When the time finally came, the tension that had built up in the room snapped as soon as the first distorted guitar riff rang out into the venue. Without hesitation, the entire floor of the venue became one rambunctious mosh pit and fans thrashed their bodies around to the night’s opening song “Nambored.” The Chats powered through many of their fast-paced punk anthems as the rowdy crowd continued to mosh, turning the Subterranean into a sweat-soaked sauna. Towards the end of their set, The Chats treated fans to a cover of “Rock & Roll All Nite” by Kiss, which they joked was a new song they’d just written on this tour before playing it.
During every single song of the night, audience members hopped up onto the stage and flung themselves from the stage to crowdsurf, but none of the songs got nearly as intense of a reaction as their hit “Smoko” did— there was consistently at least three crowd surfers up at all times during that song. When the night ended and I made my way out of the Subterranean, the heat in the room had caused the floor to become slippery. I’ve been to plenty of rowdy shows, but The Chats by far put on one of the most intense gigs I’ve ever seen.
The Chats are on tour the rest of this year— see all of the dates here.