Flannel shirts. Skunky, shitty beer. The blues. A bit of folk. A bit of country twang. Mismatched used car salesmen suits. Honesty. Attitude.
The Replacements are a Midwest band — there’s no denying it. So it’s probably no surprise that one of The Mats’ largest fan bases lies roughly 400 miles southeast of Minneapolis in the City of Big Shoulders — my hometown — Chicago. As The ’Mats gear up for a two-night stint at The Riviera — their first club show in Chicago since the early ’90s — let’s look at the boys’ connection to the Windy City:
- Chicago was the first major city to catch on to The ’Mats’ infectious blend of punk, rock, country and the blues (New York came second, my friends).
- Just-slightly-left-of-the-dial Chicago radio station WXRT (93.1FM) was one of the first US radio stations to actively play The Replacements. Their long-standing, late-night show The Big Beat was where I first heard The ’Mats on the radio. No coincidence then that ’XRT is sponsoring the 2015 shows at the Riv!
- Chicago is the birthplace of the electric blues, home to Chess Records. As Paul Westerberg said in a ’96 interview: “I approach my rock and roll or pop music the way someone else would approach blues. I try to keep it as bare, simple and real to life as possible. Because my true desire, my dream in life—which I have never before revealed—is to be the greatest blues guitar player in the world. There, I said it.”
- The band essentially broke up in 1991 after their Taste of Chicago gig. See below.
Listen to this live Chicago shit:
The Replacements 1984 at the Cubby Bear Lounge
Why you should listen: Their blistering, bluesy version of “Take Me Down to the Hospital.”
The Replacements Chicago Radio Interview 1987
Why you should listen: The DJ indulges the band by playing Sonny Boy Williamson’s epic Little Village.
The Replacements “last” show in 1991 at the Taste of Chicago
Why you should listen: Their roadies close out the set! The band breaks up.