The Submarines Pour Some Sugar in Chicago

May 23rd, 2008: As seen on Archive (PDF)

Blake Hazard brought her Pippi Longstocking smiles and threads to Chicago, batting her eyelashes to husband John Dragonetti’s guitar hooks from the duo’s heartache ditty, “Peace and Hate,” before blossoming into eight out of ten post-marriage-bliss ditties off April’s sophomore release, Honeysuckle Weeks.

Gone were the melodic diatribes of self-loathing and wrongdoings from the band’s last album, Declare a New State. Instead, Hazard sprinkled xylophone fills over lines like “Love is a swimming pool with no bottom” (“Swimming Pool”), while John emoted guitar sentiments, his eyes fixed on Blake’s.

It was almost too sweet, with a stage scattered with Malibu-lit flowers. If it hadn’t been for “1940,” an ultra-seductive jazz number slathered in strings and back-alley creep-up percussion, it would have been an evening overly packed with Hollywood-ending kitsch. But they still decided to close shop with the more reality-checked, Killers-type shuffler “Xavia,” sharing call-and-response verses with the crowd: “Everyone in this room / They’ve got troubles too / And secret stories and lives that we never knew.”

Supporting act Headlights, from downstate Champaign, IL, pulled a switcheroo and actually headlined the evening with a lights-out, three-guitar and tambourine assault, straight out of Annuals’ handbook, smashing home most of March’s Some Racing, Some Stopping.

We asked: The Submarines are a rock duo that’s married. To what song would you walk down the aisle?