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Courtesy of Jory Lee Cordy

Garage rock revivalists The Orwells head to CoMo

Young midwestern rockers have true punk character.

By Patrick McKenna | Sept. 24, 2013

Tags: Concerts Downtown Columbia Music

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When: 9 p.m. Monday< br/> Where: Mojo’s< br/> Tickets: $12

Punk rock is not dead — fluttering a bit, maybe. Yet life is all too apparent for the beauty of raunchy rock ‘n’ roll, played best in dingy clubs or suburban garages with a group of exuberant teenagers looking for a night of thrilling musical wonder.

This claim can be backed by the up-and-comers who will be taking residency at Mojo’s on Monday: The Orwells. Opening for their companion punk-aficionados FIDLAR (standing for “Fuck it, dog. Life’s a risk” — truly punk rock), The Orwells have a growing popularity courtesy of their melodic blend of fuzzy, creative guitar riffs and outrageous live performances.

Made up of five teenagers, The Orwells started as a group of friends with a passion for post-punk gems such as The Strokes and the Black Lips, simply looking to entertain themselves in a boring Chicagoland suburb. Since those early high school jam sessions, the band has toured all over both the U.S. and the U.K., played at major festivals such as Lollapalooza and South by Southwest, and released an LP and two EPs.

The ties in this band expand past best friends. Lead singer Mario Cuomo and guitarist Dominic Corso are cousins, while bassist Grant Brinner and drummer Henry Brinner are twins.

“Growing up together has definitely made us more of a unit,” guitarist Matt O’Keefe says. “We started the band because we were friends and had nothing to do.”

That boredom, with a good amount of talent and effort, translated into their first album, Remember When, a collection of garage rock jams that had SPIN Magazine naming the band “Best New Artist of September” in 2012. With the slow moaning of Cuomo on “Under the Flowers” and sweltering energy on the high school rebel cry “Painted Faces and Long Hair,” Remember When gained immense popularity and started the band off early on a road to success.

Since their freshman album, the band has been writing new material on top of touring extensively. Touring, something most teens fantasize about, has gone from a dream come true to a fantastic reality for the band.

O’Keefe fully realizes the wonderful opportunity touring offers on top of playing music for the country.

“I wouldn’t have gotten to see half the things I’ve seen if it wasn’t for the band,” O’Keefe says.

Overall, the band’s live presence is what separates them from lesser rock acts. Cuomo has an act for taking his pants off while crooning lyrics of defiance and disturbed youth to fans. The rhythm section made of the Brinner twins adds to a tight sound with a side of punk chaos.

As a whole, the band delivers a punishing taste of rock with throttling energy that connects to fans with intimacy only punk rock can supply.

“Once you get kids moving and jumping off stage, you know they’re getting it,” O’Keefe says.

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