Review: The Orwells @ DC9


Chicago’s The Orwells stopped at DC9 at the top of November to “try and sell out a bigger venue after we release our album,” as their brutally honest front man Mario Cuomo put it. Joined by fellow Chicagoans The Symposium and local act Shirt/Pants, The Orwells unsurprisingly put on a show for the books.

Their set started with Mario Cuomo alone on stage, quietly cursing his bandmates as they slowly joined him one by one after fighting through their delightfully diverse DC9 audience. The sold-out show was packed to the brim. The band opened with their latest single, “They Put a Body In The Bayou.” The Orwells’ energetic fans are a testimony to them as a band, so the calm start threw me off a bit. There was much more listening than moshing than I expected, but that all changed just as fast as it came.


Riffs of their sexy track “Dirty Sheets,” were immediately recognized and sent the audience into a frenzy for the rest of the evening. They followed up with another song from their older works “In My Bed,” and a new song “Fry.”

As their set went on, they played an enjoyable mix of new, unreleased songs and fan favorites. The audience grew rowdier and rowdier with every song that went by. Toward the end of the show, Cuomo told a story of their first time playing DC9 to a crowd of maybe 20 people – some that were in that room again, now sold-out. The moment of reflection resonated with the other band members as they threw nods of approval and thanked the crowd.


The highlight of my night was their performance of “Mallrats (La La La),” and oldie but a goodie. At that point, arms were flying, fists were landing, and the floor was drenched in sweat… or beer… or both. If you were lucky and did not to slip and fall, your body was bouncing back and forth between two strangers. I managed to take a step back from the rambunctious group and peep frightened glances passed between the temporary security set up for the night and the workers behind the bars. Their uneasiness stemmed from a dip in the floor created by the 200+ bodies jumping up and down on the second level of the building; talk about bringing down the house. In true Orwells spirit, I jumped right back into the pit without a care in the world.


The same feeling I got after I saw The Orwells for the first time back in 2013 revisited me: peace. Their live shows create a space for you to feel free and let go of your reservations. The Orwells’ are guaranteed to make you forget about everything but them while they’re onstage.