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The Submarines live!

| February 25, 2009

The Submarines
Schubas, Chicago
Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Much like a Chicago summer, The Submarines breeze in and out with little fanfare, a heaping dose of sunshine, and the promise of wishful thinking turning into reality.

Unfortunately, the high spurned on by this cheery husband-and-wife duo wears off with resounding speed just as soon as one remembers winter continues its stronghold on the area for at least another month. However, within the confines of Schubas, the sold-out crowd can be forgiven for forgetting about shoveling and bulky outerwear for 90 minutes.

Blake Hazard, a vision in a thigh-baring, white-cotton eyelet dress, takes to peppering the mic stands, drummer J State’s trap kit, and pretty much any stationary object within a five-foot radius with bouquets of daisies. Wearing her hair in adolescent braids, Hazard resembles the Swiss Miss girl and possesses a voice as pure as the snow-covered mountains that now grace the hot cocoa brand’s box. Her foil, both onstage and off, John Dragonetti, appears indifferent to the effemination of his surroundings and quite happily allows all the attention to fall on Hazard.

It’s what any good husband would do – not that he has any choice. Hazard’s infectious laughter, zealous hammering on the glockenspiel, and graceful sleighbell-wielding make a case for the Carpenter’s classic, “Close To You.” The idea of Disney-ready bluebirds swooping in to perch on her shoulders doesn’t seem all that farfetched. The saccharine, yet ridiculously touching “Swimming Pool” and “Submarine Symphonika” – the closest thing to comfort food after a bitter he’s-just-not-that-into-you episode (but without the calories!) – resonates with all the lonely hearts searching for a happy ending.

On this The Submarines possess firsthand knowledge. The couple promptly parted after moving to Los Angeles and later reunited with a handful of love-sick tunes written in the throes of misery. These compositions eventually made up their debut. Their effusive sophomore release, *Honeysuckle Weeks* (Nettwerk), trades in happily ever after (or the road leading to the fairy tale resolution). “The Thorny Thicket” erupts in a boisterous chant of “love, love and the skies opened up,” while “1940” creeks and groans with vintage pizzazz. A reflective “Brighter Discontent” served as the only inkling of the sadness left over from their prenuptial period.

This return engagement to Schubas carries with it the bragging rights to a ubiquitous iPhone commercial. The song in question, “You, Me And The Bourgeoisie” enjoyed a thunderous response, complete with a round of good-natured, synchronized hand-clapping. On record, The Submarines lean on electronic flourishes. Despite a MacBook propped up on a stand at Dragonetti’s side, the sound effects took a backseat to the duo’s warm, handmade expressions – further enhanced by the addition of a maniacal, cowbell-driven drummer.

Janine Schaults

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Category: Live Reviews, Weekly

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