Vinyl at the Hard Rock Hotel, Oct. 5

They had me at the Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood audio sample. The trio played to a sold-out crowd (one that wasn’t uncomfortably packed in like sardines—thank you, Vinyl). “I mixed a bunch of beer and a bunch of Monster energy drink—it’s kinda like Christmas!” singer/guitarist Pete Loeffler addressed the audience after kicking off with “Sleep Apnea,” then launching into “Hats Off to the Bull.” Whatever he did was working for him as his sound was just as strong as it is on their albums.

Chevelle didn’t disappoint the first time I saw them in 2005 on the Sno-Core tour (coincidentally at the old Joint in the Hard Rock), and they’re better now. Although, it could have been 2005 judging by the number of Chevelle classics in the set: “Vitamin R,” “Closure,” “The Clincher,” “Send the Pain Below” and even “The Red” during their encore. Noticeably absent? Their latest single “Same Old Trip.” Not only did reliving the oldies-but-goodies make for an enjoyable show, the intimacy of Vinyl allowed Loeffler a chance for some hilarious interactions with the crowd: “That was good like Grandma’s kisses,” he stated after “Jars”; “Our shit’s either broken or stolen!”; playing a few notes of a song only to stop and say, “I don’t wanna play this one, this one sucks. Have you ever heard ‘Letter From a Thief’? I heard it walking through the casino today”; “I write songs about different things: lost puppies, petunias on a sunny day …”; “Somebody who owns a red Ford Taurus is getting towed right now, license plate J., Edgar, Hoover.” Between the banter and the throwback tunes, Chevelle resembled your buddies playing a local dive-bar show. ★★★☆☆

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First Bloom


First Bloom

By Betsy Sharkey, Tribune Media Services

Sometimes an inexperienced filmmaker can use a helping hand from his cast. That’s exactly what Stephen Chbosky got from Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller and Emma Watson in the adaptation of his popular young adult novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Back in the director’s chair for only the second time, the filmmaker, like his main character, is a little unsteady on his feet. But thanks to his stars, the film—like the book—is a smartly observed study of a troubled teen’s first year in high school.