Cheap Trick treated a Beaumont Club crowd to a crisp run-through of its catchiest numbers on Friday, April 27, but a vocal portion of its audience grumbled on its way out the door. The group wrapped things up at around 10:30 p.m. after a fourteen-song set, making for a much earlier evening than many fans who arrived at 10 or later (and paid full price) were expecting. Even more unfortunate for the latecomers was the fact that Cheap Trick trotted out its biggest hit, “I Want You to Want Me,” early in the evening instead of saving it for the encore. The group closed its formal set with a strong, if largely stationary, rendition of “Surrender”; with the band’s best material spent, the encore was anticlimactic.
Power-pop fans who left the Beaumont hungry for more could have found a satisfying dessert either at The Bottleneck, where Moaning Lisa, Podstar and the Creature Comforts formed a formidable triple bill, or at The Hurricane, where the obviously Cheap-Trick-influenced Box-O-Car delivered a hook-heavy lead-in to an inspired set by onwardcrispinglover. Disappointed Cheap Trick fans would have taken solace in the out-of-control noise explosion with which onwardcrispinglover closed its performance. Drummer Billy Johnson hammered as if desperately trying to break his sticks, then singer/guitarist Byron Huhmann produced ungodly feedback that continued to echo, Nirvana-style, after the group left the stage.
The only group last week that could match OCG’s energy was the International Noise Conspiracy, which, like Johnson and Huhmann at the Klammies, played the singer-standing-on-the-drumset gambit. This time, the results were spectacular: A ceiling panel collapsed at The Bottleneck, showering the group with what its members jokingly theorized was asbestos. In its heyday, Cheap Trick, especially guitarist Rick Nielsen, might have engaged in such antics, but its members aren’t so limber after almost thirty years in the band. What’s more, drummer Bun E. Carlos probably wouldn’t stand for any footprints on one of the fanciest kits the Beaumont stage has seen, and Nielsen isn’t likely to risk a lottery-winner’s sum by being cavalier with his flashy custom-made guitars.