Sunday, February 26, 2006


Just back from a concert. I'd like to attempt to convey what I thought for most of the night. Going to a concert alone is something I've done only one other time (Mustard Plug at the American Music Cafe was the first time I've done that), and I've noticed that, coupled with not having a roommate, travelling to, attending and leaving a concert can be a nearly meditative experience. Except that there's beer falling on you and people screaming for an encore. But other than that, it's damned meditative.

So, in chronological order:

  • I didn't realize that I still have at least some conceptual problem with being on a train that's raised above street level. But I can't deny that I had kind of a shocked reaction to a dog running under the tracks. It might just be that I'm not cool with dogs and transportation, as there's only been, what, two(?) years since I ran out on New Year's Eve dressed like a buffoon, trying to catch that stupid dog only to have him run into the path of a truck whose driver thought the best thing, rather than slowing down, would be to attempt to "straddle" him. I still have no idea how he (the dog) got out of that alive.

  • On the subject of canines, the Bow Wow Lounge, which is just off the tracks of the Red Line is just freaking huge. For what's billed as a grooming salon, I can't imagine what's going on inside that requires the space that the buliding takes up.

  • The Olympic Closing Ceremonies were held today, meaning I can stop caring about Short Track Speedskating until February 2010 when they'll be doing that in Vancouver. Before that, though, are the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, and I think I might try out. If only because I can't fathom how I covered the 1.473 miles from the Belmont stop to the Beat Kitchen at 2100 W. Belmont being passed only once by a bus, at about 2000 W. Belmont (that is, about a block from where I was going). Clearly, I must be some kind of Superman, and will be trying out for all of the track events in Beijing.

  • The previously mentioned Kitchen of Beats (as opposed to the previously Soviet Kitchen of Beets) really doesn't want me to see any ska bands. Three weeks ago, they wouldn't sell me a ticket online or over the phone, and told me to just show up at the door. I was promptly turned away from the sold-out Toasters concert. This time, I fixed the issue I was having with the online purchasing system, bought the will-call tickets and showed up at about 6:15 for the 6:00 show, knowing that I had a spot reserved (they couldn't turn me away, as they account for all of the will call customers in their fire-code estimations) and content with the fact that I'd missed a bit of a band I'd never heard of (more about them later) who were opening for the band.

    Me: Hi. I've got will call. Murphy.
    Guy at Door: We're opening doors at 7 now.
    Me: Curses! Foiled again.

    It didn't actually prevent me from seeing the show and in my wanderings (as I didn't really feel like being in a crowded noisy bar for 45 minutes), I found a truly astonishing number of vodkas being sold in bottles shaped like rifles and stood outside. Worse things have happened. Also, I feel less like a schmuck this time, as I purchased online, and people were turned away. Good for me.

  • Flashlight Brown. Fairly standard stuff. Nothing too adventurous, aside from the devotion to finishing precisely the set they had previously decided to finish, screwing up the intro to the fourth song in their set five times before the guitar player finally changed the guitar that was acting up.

  • The Slackers were quite impressive, playing a very long set, revisiting some stuff from as early as I can recall listening to their music, and just an overall good act. Not much commentary here, other than it was hot, and I happened to be close to a wall, which meant that every time I was actually getting into a song, twenty people wanted to get out of the front and decided to proceed by shoving me to the side. :(

  • It's funny how shows tend to make me think about an incredibly diverse array of topics, most having nothing to do with the show at hand. Mostly how busy I am and how I really shouldn't be doing something as childish as attending a concert when there's purification of compounds to be completed. This time, I was distracted at several points by the idea that I'll never see the guy that introduced me to the Slackers (and the rest of ska) again. But that's enough of that morose stuff

  • I was passed much earlier by the bus on the way back (twice, actually), but walked the 1.whatever miles back. Good for me.

Overall, a good experience as my first show in Chicago. I'll do it again. Hopefully with something closer to the Red Line than the damned Beat Kitchen.


Jenna said...

Sounds fun!

I mean, not as fun as a Ray Davies concert. . .

Hal said...

Wait, that was a SKA show?

You idiot! Why didn't you tell me you were going to a ska show? I frickin' LOVE ska!

Next time, I'm coming with you, even if I have to chain myself to you.