TROUBLE AT NIGHT CAP
||January 28, 2002
BY JIM DEROGATIS POP MUSIC CRITIC
Chicago's legendary Trouble is a band that has always managed to transcend
times--something that hasn't always worked to its advantage.
When the quintet made its early '80s recordings, its backward-looking
of classic heavy-metal values a la Black Sabbath and mind-blowing
noise in the spirit of 1968 couldn't have been more of a contrast to the
posing then prevailing in the world of hair metal.
By the time Trouble entered its second (and artistically superior)
Rick Rubin's Def American label in the early '90s, grunge had picked up on
Sabbath, but not the psychedelia, and the Everyman rockers still couldn't
as poster boys with the likes of alternative heartthrob Chris Cornell (a
inferior vocalist to Eric Wagner, as the Trouble faithful well know).
Now, after a six-year absence from the scene, Trouble is making a comeback.
group is gearing up to record once more, and it played a brief but intense
hugely anticipated show Saturday night at Night Cap on the far Northwest
Surprise: For once, the band seemed to be right on time.
In the so-called "doom" or "stoner-rock" movement, Trouble is now held in
prescient groundbreakers, their influence obvious on the likes of Kyuss,
the Stone Age, and Fu Manchu. During a potent 30-minute set, it showed that
older material has lost none of its considerable power--and indeed, the old
could still warp headbangers' minds as thoroughly as any 20-year-old
There was a hint of trouble with a small "t" when the band launched into its
new offering and in place of the timeless, tuneful, big-as-Mount Rushmore
licks, there was that awful but ubiquitous chunka-chunka rhythm that seems
power every nu-metal band currently on the charts. But then the anthemic
rolled around, the guitars returned to classic Sabbath/Judas Priest riffing,
was right with the world.
The quintet clearly hadn't anticipated the devotion it received from the
crowd--rather than a full-blown comeback concert, its appearance was a
tribute to a friend, Scott Davidson of Chicago metal powerhouse Rebel Radio
(1240-AM)--but the group returned for an unexpected encore of Sabbath's
"Children of the Grave."
As it raced into the unforgettable chorus, suddenly there was--nothing at
group blew all the fuses on stage, and the set ended in instant, ignominious
The optimist in me will avoid the metaphor this accident logically conjures,
that instead, I'm hoping 2002 is finally the right time for Trouble. Lord
metal and rock in general need it.