Shellac/David Yow as the Sex Pistols
Lounge Ax
Chicago, IL
10/31/98 (Halloween)

Perhaps more than analog audiophiles, members of Shellac, Steve Albini in particular, have developed a reputation of musical aesthetes, perhaps no better exemplified than the one-tone amplifier setups. That said, plectrum to guitar through that rig immediately identifies the band as no other.

Many of us have waited years for the seldom touring Shellac to make it through our towns or to have the opportunity to travel to see a show (it took me 13 years). With this build up held sacred by one half of the audience, and the other half simply satisfied with catching a killer rock show by some crack musicians, we have this Shellac concert in Chicago on Halloween 1998. Yet instead of the uni-knobbed amps and their often stated “acerbic” sound, presented were the now-dubbed “Shellac Pistols,” comprised of David Yow (Jesus Lizard, Scratch Acid) leading the trio, dressed in character and ready to kill it on equipment contemporary to the heyday of Lydon et al. There are accounts circulating describing the rest (I wasn’t even there so I’ll defer to the concertgoers), but to my ears it reminds me a bit of Suicide’s “23 Minutes Over Brussels” with the audience teetering from taunting to seething contempt of what history has shown to be a great show. In this case, it was far more benign than for Vega/Rev, and some actually enjoyed this show. Albini’s other forays into covers are well worth pursuing, including AC/DC’s “Jailbreak” (Shellac, Drag City 7″) and Kraftwerk’s “The Model” (Big Black, “Songs about F*ing”).

1. Holidays In The Sun
2. Bodies
3. Pretty Vacant
4. Seventeen
5. Sub-mission
6. New York
7. Anarchy In The U.K.
8. God Save The Queen

Sample: [audio:|titles=Pretty Vacant (Live)|artists=Shellac]

Download: Shellac – Chicago, IL – 10/31/98 – 218 MB


  1. Also remember Big Black covering Wire’s “Heartbeat”, Cheap Trick’s “He’s a Whore”, and Rapeman covering ZZ Top’s “Just Got Paid”. I’m sure there’s others I’m not remembering as well.

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