Punk in the City is a biweekly feature introducing influential Chicago punk, hardcore, post-hardcore, pop-punk, indie, and rock bands that have had a big impact on my personal musical evolution (and the Chicago scene in general).
Think: Jawbreaker with a heavy socio-political lyrical stance, tighter, less predictable riffs, and that certain vocal and songwriting charm that only Brendan Kelly can bring to the table. These guys were fast and hard-hitting -- on par with TLA's A Guided Tour of Chicago. Their music embodied that exact Chicago working class penchant that has always been part of the tone for the city's punk rock scene. At times, the lyrics bordered on socialist tendencies (using "bordered on" loosely here), but they were always intelligent and artistic in their political implications.
The Broadways rose from the ashes of ska-punk outfit Slapstick and pop-punkers Tricky Dick, bringing together Brendan Kelly and Chris McCaughan (who would later form the Lawrence Arms). Interestingly enough, the Broadways played their final show at Record Breakers, an old mom-and-pop music store out in Hoffman Estates (in the waaaaaaaaaaay northwest suburbs) I used to frequent, which subsequently moved to the city and opened Reggie's Rock Club and Reggie's Music Joint. Score one for the burbs.
The Broadways only released one full-length album (Broken Star) and a collection of the rest of their recordings (Broken Van) on Asian Man Records, but what they lacked in longevity, they more than made up for in pure awesomeness. Much like their songs, the Broadways were a short, intense, and unpredictable burst into the Chicago music scene, but one I'm extremely grateful for.
As previously mentioned, Brendan and Chris went on to form the Lawrence Arms. Former Broadways members Dan Hanaway and Rob DePaola eventually formed the Honor System (a group that included Rise Against's Tim McIlrath for a short period of time -- yes, the Chicago scene is extremely incestuous). Keep your eyes open for a blog about the Honor System in the near future.
Check out a few songs from Broken Star below.
"Let's go shopping today / drive our fancy cars to the fancy malls and for lunch we'll have big macs."
- The Broadways, "15 Minutes"