Concert Preview: Local H (Saturday, September 7 with Purple Apple at Metro - A Farewell to Brian St. Clair)

Concert Preview: Local H (Saturday, September 7 with Purple Apple at Metro - A Farewell to Brian St. Clair)
Photo by Wade Hawk

Continuing a busy year that has seen them tour in support of their seventh studio album as well as a recent EP, local alt-rock duo Local H returns home to Chicago for a special show Saturday night at Metro to recognize the forthcoming departure of longtime drummer Brian St. Clair...

2013 has been an interesting year for Local H - one complete with ups and downs.

Following high critical praise of their late 2012, politically charged, seventh album Hallelujah! I'm a Bum and the release of The Another February EP, the duo started 2013 on a high note.

"I wanted to make this political record that wasn't just flat out a 'political' record.  I wanted to take these themes and sort of try to figure out how they relate to us on the most personal level...  the other thing was I wanted to make sure the record didn’t have a complete 'sell by' date.  I wanted to make sure that the themes would still be resonant after the election and still make sense.  And I think people can see the songs for however they want to see them" said songwriter, frontman and founding Local H member Scott Lucas when we talked about the Hallelujah! album last September.

As the band toured relentlessly in 2013, it was clear that the songs continued to resonate.  Judging from recent, live crowd reactions, even ten months after the last U.S. Presidential election, they still do.

But the ability to tour so vigorously that Local H has always hung its hat on was almost taken away without warning this past February in Russia.

"Here's what happened : [In February] after a date in Moscow, I was assaulted and robbed. [An] attacker came up from behind and put me in a chokehold until I passed out. When I came to, I was in a stairwell with all of my pockets empty. No phone, no wallet, no cash, and (worst of all) no passport... It wasn't until I found someone to ask for help that I realized something else was gone - my voice. When I opened my mouth to ask that person to call me a taxi, nothing but a scratchy croak would come out. I touched my throat and could feel that more damage had been done than I initially thought" said Lucas in a statement following the incident.

Local H - The Another February EP - cover art

Luckily, surgery was ruled out, Lucas healed and Local H was able to resume its busy touring pace.  And while it appears that long term damage to his vocals has been avoided, following initial red flags, Lucas was understandably concerned early on about whether the future of his career could've been in jeopardy. "The idea of that being a reality really freaked me out. No matter how bad my voice sounded, I never really seriously entertained the notion that I'd never sing again. But after that first diagnosis - I was f-cking freaked" said Lucas via email while recuperating.

Local H continued their tour following a brief hiatus on March 30th in Rosemont and between Local H and his side project (Scott Lucas & The Married Men), Lucas has toured since.

But last week came the announcement that after fourteen years spent as the drummer of Local H, Lucas's better half Brian St. Clair would be leaving the band to focus on his tour management and production company, Tour Time Productions.

"It's been great to play with Scott the last 14 years," said St. Clair in a press release announcing the amicable departure. "I'm very proud of my recordings and live performances with Local H. My sincere thanks go out to all the fans for their support over the years. It's been a great run, but all good things come to an end."

"I got to play with one of my favorite drummers ever - and that's awesome," added Lucas. "Brian's one of the best musicians I'll ever play with. I can't thank him enough."

St. Clair joined up with Lucas in 1999 following the departure of original drummer Joe Daniels and has gone on to play with him on four Local H studio albums, four EP's and countless live shows since.

Continuing on tour through mid-October, St. Clair remains with Local H for a string of east coast tour dates (make-up dates for shows cancelled in the wake of Lucas's Moscow incident) as well as a pair of local sendoffs: This Saturday, September 7 at Metro and Friday, October 11th at H.O.M.E. in Arlington Heights.

Purple Apple - Chicago band photo

Friday night's show at Metro will feature an opening performance by local teen, all-female, power pop quartet Purple Apple.  The youngest band ever to headline Metro and already veterans of Lollapalooza, the band is made up of three sixteen year old girls and their twenty-something former babysitter on drums - yes, seriously.

Wise beyond their years (and with the songwriting chops to prove it), songs like "Against the World" feature razor sharp riffs set behind ridiculously catchy, saccharine vocals and harmonies that snap, crackle and pop.  Think less about Josie & The Pussycats and more along the lines of Veruca Salt and you'll start to get the idea - And whatever you do, get to Metro early Saturday because their opening set is worth catching.

(Details on Saturday's Local H/Purple Apple show at Metro after the jump)

- Jim Ryan (@RadioJimRyan)

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Local H
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Metro

3730 North Clark Street

Chicago, IL 60613
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Saturday, September 7, 2013
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Doors open at 6:30PM

Show starts at 7PM

Also performing: Purple Apple

All Ages

$13 in advance/$15 at the door

Click HERE to purchase tickets
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