at Double Door, Chicago, IL, USA, March 11, 2007

With the advent of Spring returning to Chicago, the band Fu Manchu ventured out on a Sunday night to be headliners of a three-band act at the heart of the West side of Chicago in a “small”, in contrast to other headliner venues, Rock Bar called the Double Door. The Double Door holds a capacity of 473 Rockers. One of the Double Door’s most endearing qualities on the outside is its rather large neon sign stating its name, “Double Door,” in small letters on top of a really, really, really large neon word “LIQUORS”! So that alone should indicate the type of crowd expected on hand. A betting man would have estimated that the crowd in attendance was about 400 people, mostly standing. The demographics were an even mix of male and female … mostly a mature, older crowd.

If you’ve never heard of Fu Manchu, what you would have heard at the show this night was straight-up music best described as Stoner Rock, Surf-Punk, Desert Rock, or some combination of all three genres. To the uneducated, parts of it sound like Thrash with complex bass lines and occasional “psychedelic” sounds and melody lines. It’s a genre of music that is suddenly skimming the surface of quickly becoming “popular.” Ironically, this genre has been around, perhaps underground, for a number of years. Case in point, this Fu Manchu tour is in support of their latest full album, We Must Obey, and it is actually their tenth full release. So, why has it taken that long for some to first hear of bands like Fu Manchu? A question perhaps for another article.

When Fu Manchu hit the stage, they were well-received by the fans in attendance. The first thing Fu Manchu fans might pay attention to is what color and pattern of shirt guitarist/vocalist Scott Hill will be sporting. He has a history of wearing t-shirts with vivid colors, stripes, etc. and, no disrespect meant, looks like he’s wearing something grade school boys might have worn back in the 70s. It really helps add a touch to the whole “psychedelic tone.”

Brad Davis

Strangely enough on this night, fans immediately started blurting out song titles of the tracks they wanted hear. Front man Hill took all in stride, either ignoring them or casually laughing. That’s one of the great qualities of this band live … there’s not a whole lot of bullshit talk happening between songs. Hill just rattles off the title of the next song and the band starts playing it. This was the formula the band used for the whole ninety minutes that they played on this spring evening.

The performance itself rocked with guitarists Hill and Bob Balch doing a lot of Anthrax-Scott-Ian-style headbanging/thrashin’. When all is said and done, it’s hard not to overlook that Scott Hill is the center of attention as he moves around more frequently and thrashes more often than Balch and bassist Brad Davis. Drummer Scott Reeder proves that you can get a big, crashing drum sound out of a modestly sized drum kit. For straight up Rock, he sure seemed to put on a show that would befit someone drumming more complex, progressive music.

A quarter of the set list included tracks from the new release, We Must Obey, with the title track and the first single, “Hung Out To Dry,” coming across powerfully in this small bar setting. For the diminished stage space they had to work with, the band did a great job of taking command and delivering a powerful set.

Bottom line, even if you’re new to this genre of music, or have never heard of Fu Manchu, they are definitely worth catching at least once in your lifetime. Tonight the ticket price was $15 USD, and quite possibly you’ll never find a show that delivers such value as Fu Manchu did this night at that low of a price tag.


Pigeon Toe * Redline * Squash That Fly * Hung Out To Dry * Eatin’ Dust * Weird Beard * Shake It Loose * Between The Lines * Saturn III * Hell On Wheels * Grendel, Snowman * Anodizer * We Must Obey * Time To Fly * King Of The Road * Sensei Vs. Sensei * Evil Eye * Encores: * Laserblast! * Mongoose

Special Thanks to Gary Faulkner for notating the set list!


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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