The Safes play the Coffeehouse

Campbell, Annicka

Last Friday, the Chicago-based band The Safes brought their riff-heavy brand of pop-punk to the Coffeehouse. They were preceded by Pete Snyder and Kristin Tamayo.
Pete and Kristin’s opening set was excellent, forcing members of the catatonic crowd up from their spots on the Coffeehouse couches and onto the dance floor – something largely unheard-of during most concerts at the Underground. Pete and Kristin proved to be a talented duo, regaling the crowd with their bass-less brand of indie pop.
The unlikely pairing of Pete and Kristin somehow just made sense. Kristin’s beats were the perfect accompaniment to Pete’s self-referencing and interestingly spasmodic lyrics. The two were charmingly self-conscious on stage, yet it didn’t show through in their playing. Their songs were solid and catchy.
The crowd thoroughly enjoyed their set. “Pete Snyder is an enigma to me,” remarked junior Stephanie Wille, who said the concert “rocked.”
While taking a break from the dance floor, Andrew Ritchie said “I think they were better than some of the opening bands you see at bigger shows. But I might be biased because I’m friends with them.”
Though Kristin and Pete haven’t officially chosen a name for the band, Kristin said that they were considering “The Blueberry Scones.” Pete and Kristin are definitely worth checking out before the end of the year.
The Safes showed up around 10:30 p.m., ten minutes after the previous set had ended. Unfortunately, most of the crowd had already wandered away to attend various parties around campus.
Although they are not very well known, The Safes have been written up in Rolling Stone, Punk Planet and the Chicago Tribune. The band consists of the three O’Malley brothers — Frankie, Sean, and Michael – and their drummer Doug James.
The Safes indulged the audience with a highly addictive brand of melodic, punk-inspired music that was reminiscent of the Mr. T Experience or No Use For A Name. Unfortunately, their new record, “Family Jewels,” lacks the physical energy of their live shows and sounds rather simplistic. But on Friday night, The Safes were energetic and inspired, despite the patchy attendance.
When asked if it was difficult to maintain a certain level of energy while playing for such a small audience, the lead singer, Frankie, responded optimistically. “I live to play music,” he said. “I play like that when we practice. I’d rather play for a small group of kids who are dancing than three hundred people just standing there, staring.” The Safes do best on stage, but if you’re into poppy punk, pick up their record or check out their website at