Chevelle w/ New Medicine 05/23/12

The Castle Theatre – Bloomington, IL

Words/Photos by Concertchk

I’ve been a fan of Chevelle for twelve years and I’ve seen them many, many times. Yet each time still feels like the first time. For me Chevelle is all about the lyrics of singer/guitarist Pete Loeffler. When I see the band live what makes the experience so special to me is standing there singing his inspirational lyrics right along with him. Last night in Bloomington Illinois at the Castle Theatre was no exception as they rocked the house to a sold out crowd.

The Castle Theatre in Bloomington Illinois just started having concerts. Word on the street is that it used to be a theatre, then was turned into a comedy club and finally a music venue. It’s not a big venue, sure it has a balcony but the bike rack as the guard rail was a bit comical. No doubt I will definitely go back as it’s only an hour and half from my house. I tend to get to shows way earlier than the normal person, and it’s my feelings that if it is a sold out show you should be in line at 1pm, right?, I guess not as it was just me and a spider in line. By this point in the day, Chevelle’s bus and yellow Penske truck were already at the venue unloading for the nights show. I was impressed that the band and their humble crew were unloading all the equipment, but then again after having their gear stolen a few years ago perhaps that is the best way to go about things.  At this point the band knows who I am. Drummer Sam Loeffler (yes he is Pete’s brother) thought it was a good idea that I was there saving spots for friends coming from Ohio and Michigan.

Chevelle had two opening acts on this particular evening. One I honestly can’t remember the name of, a small local band that clearly didn’t leave much impression on me. New Medicine was the other opener on this night. Hailing from Minnesota I have seen these guys a few times and they never fail to put on a great opening set.

Chevelle started the evening with “The Clincher” and continued on playing hits from their six studio albums. They even went back far enough to play “Forfeit” which always gets the crowd going.  To me it seems that in a Chevelle PIT everyone wants to “fight”.  It’s hard to put into words the feelings I get when I was the three guys armed with guitars, bass and drums do their thing on stage. They may not be a big band, but they do put out a huge sound. Pete doesn’t try to sing exactly like the CD, he changes things up, and does different riffs, and they give each show their own unique twist. I suppose that’s why I go, you know you’re going to get a genuine performance. A one of a kind event with genuine tunes from three men who live to make rock music.

Chevelle does have a warped sense of humor with a tad bit of sarcasm thrown in there or good measure. Dean last night looked at me with eyes wide open walking toward me, and I just opened my eyes and looked right back at him. He walked up to me, and rested his head up against mine as he played bass. It was quite comical as he was dripping wet with sweat and so was I. Dean doesn’t say much on stage, but he is a good bass player and being used as a pillow made was the payoff of waiting out front since 1pm. You are not going to touch the stage if you show up after the openers have left the stage that is for sure. I had also decided that I wanted one of Sam’s drum sticks. In the twelve years that I have been seeing Chevelle, I’ve never gotten a stick. So I kindly asked him on twitter, figured heck if it worked for Morgan Rose from Sevendust, why shouldn’t it work for Sam Loeffler? Well it did, he rolled a couple out toward me and after grabbing and fighting with the guy next to me, it was mine. Yes it was a brutal fight but I hung in there and it was worth it.

The Set list from last night consisted of, but I think I’m missing a couple songs, I know I am, but the majority is listed below.

Set List
“The Clincher”
“Letter From A Thief”
“Vitamin R”
“Hats Off To The Bull”
“Sleep Apnea”
“The Meddler”
“I Get It”
“Send The Pain Below”
“The Red”
“Face To The Floor”


Eventually they will play “Safer Waters” I’ve been asking them to play it ever since the album came out several years ago. It’s off their fourth album Vena Sera it’s a beautiful song, but they need to practice it before they play it. Pete mentioned last night he was nervous playing “The Meddler” off of their sixth album, but managed to get through it.

After a Chevelle show, you never leave if you are a true fan as they will come out and hang with you, chat, heck I’ve even met their Mother and wives. They are truly a bunch of great guys. Sam and Pete asked us last night what songs we wanted to hear on the upcoming Carnival of Madness tour, they are coheadlining with Evanescence. Pete also shared some of the production plans they have for the trek.

Overall epic show, and already the second time I’ve seen them this year. No doubt there will be a third and a fourth and if I am really lucky a fifth. One of my favorite bands, I never get tired of rocking out to Chevelle from the front row.


Concert goer, Network Engineer, Midwest dweller.
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Thursday, May 24th, 2012 at 7:16 am.
Categories: Reviews.

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