Here's to the Working Class: Rocket Ship Up Your Ass!
One thing I always forget to write about here, for some reason, is the shows I go to.
On the 6th, I went with my old buddy Froegel to see Mucca Pazza at the Hideout. OK, first of all, the Hideout is an amazing fucking club; tucked back on a side street among the warehouses, at night it's the only place open for a half-mile or more. I once heard Kelly Hogan on the radio talking about the first time a friend took her to the Hideout; she said "You're taking me back here to kill me, aren't you?" It's a very small place, where the PBR comes in cans for a buck fifty and the bartenders are mostly local musicians between tours (Ms. Hogan herself has served my drinks on more than one occasion). There is no formal relationship between the Hideout and Bloodshot Records, but Devil in a Woodpile holds down a regular Tuesday night gig, and I'd wager that most of the rest of the label has played there at some time or another, many of them a few times a year. It's a perfect spot to crowd in and hear some great music.
So Mucca Pazza is . . . imagine that, after the apocalypse, the surviving members of various marching bands gathered together. Too traumatized to communicate except with their instruments, they formed a bond, and traveled the devastated countryside in their mismatched uniforms performing jazzed-up renditions of old folk tunes and obscure rock songs. With cheerleaders. At least, these were the images that I took away from the show. Now y'all might not know that I used to play the sousaphone in my marching band days, and I had the bleeding lip and the blistered feet to prove it; Mucca Pazza evokes those brassy days with a self-aware--but not self-conscious--geekiness. They're enormously endearing, and they also really jam.
This past Saturday, I went to a very different show.
Some of you will remember that back in July that a friend of mine, John Glick, was killed in a not-accident with two other local musicians. Saturday at the Metro, the Negligents, the Returnables, the Dials and Exo played a "3Friends" tribute/benefit show to honor the guys and to raise money for various charities in their name. Ms. Bowen was in town and kindly agreed to accompany me. Hanging around before the show, the atmosphere was weighed down with a lingering cloud of emotions, but once the music started everything was better. The performance by the Returnables--John's old band, with whom he used to perform the genius couplet that titles this entry--was cathartic to the point where I had that feeling, the one where you're on the verge of laughter and tears at the same time? Kudos to Brando and Co. for a fitting tribute, and to all the other bands. No better way to say goodbye that I can think of.
Finally, Monday night I walked over to the Charleston and met the aforementioned Froegel for an evening of music by my roommate Marianne's new band. That's right, aside from playing sessions with her cello for indie films and upcoming bands, Marianne's joined her fiddle force with two banjo players and a guitarist to form an all-girl old-timey band. This was their first gig, and they sounded goooood. The fiddle was tight, they have a nice vocal blend, and the crowd (and there was a crowd, even on a Monday, which meant we got stuck in the back) loved it. Their only problem is the band name, which I'm told is only temporary but in any case is so bad I'm not putting it up here. So if any of y'all have any suggestions for a new name, perhaps one with "Bucktown" or "Cook County" in it, leave 'em in the comments, and I'll be able to tell you who to look for.