Archive for June, 2011

I saw Les Savy Fav at Green Music Fest last night. I’d always heard their live shows were great but I had never seen them before. They certainly didn’t disappoint. Tim Harrington was a beast last night. He was crazy and all over the place. He started by shaking the stage. He brought a dog on stage from the audience. He went into the crowd several times. He climbed a tent and rolled off of it. He crowd surfed on a chair. He even went into an apartment and went up to the second floor with a mic in his hand the whole time. He also did some singing. Anyways, it was a great show. I finally understand what everyone was talking about.

I just bought tickets the Sundowner show at the Volcano Room (Bottom Lounge). I’m pretty psyched, they are going to be selling Four One Five Two on vinyl.

If you don’t get your fill at Millennium Park next month, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists are also playing Fireside Bowl on July 26, 2011.

Someone finally uploaded a video of Slapstick playing “My Way” from their AMR15 performance at Slim’s:

Speaking of Slapstick, Brendan Kelly and his current band, The Lawrence Arms won quite a few awards from the Reader for their Best of Chicago reader’s poll:

And in completely unrelated news, I’ve had this song in my head all day:

Brendan Kelly plays the Double Door on September 9, 2011. He’s also playing this Saturday at Pancho’s along with Kevin Seconds.

Pitchfork released the set times for the festival. Check it out over here.

Green Music Fest is coming up this weekend. I can’t wait to see Les Savy Fav and the Thermals.

So I got back into town on Sunday after spending most of the week in San Francisco. I was in SF for the Asian Man Records 15th Anniversary Party (“AMR15”). When I found out that Slapstick was reuniting for it, I knew I had to be there. I signed up for the waiting list back in January. In February, I was able to get tickets to the Slapstick and Sundowner shows. Then, in April, they announced that the Broadways would also do a show and I snatched up a ticket for that one too. I was set, three shows in a city I’d never been to before. Of course, the concert tickets were just a small part of the whole package. I would have to fly to SF and book a hotel. I was pretty nervous about the whole thing. Was it going to be worth all the expense? Looking back, it was totally worth it.

June 15, 2011 – Slapstick, MU330, The Chinkees @ Slim’s

Slapstick played Wednesday night at Slim’s. MU330 and the Chinkees opened. Slapstick was getting all the hype for this one, but apparently it had been about a decade since the Chinkees had played a show. I was a big fan of them in college but I never got to see them. Mike Park and the rest of the band gave a great performance. I feel bad for Mike though, he was wearing a suit the whole time, he must have been sweating a storm. At one point, Mike invited Matt Skiba to come up. Matt was clearly drunk but quite hilarious. Mike graciouly requested that Matt skank to a song. The Chinkees played Operation Ivy’s “Bankshot” while Skiba skanked along. It was ridiculously awesome. Mike also talked about how excited he was about having Slapstick play and how he didn’t know if it would happen. He mentioned that Matt Stamps is now a lawyer in Seattle, crazy. It was obvious that Mike was just as excited about Slapstick as all the other fans there.

The Skiba skank:

MU330 came up next and worked the crowd into the frenzy. I always liked their sound, very different because it’s ska but with a lot of double bass drum. For “La” they invited a member of the audience to come up and play guitar, that was a nice touch. Also, you could tell that Dan Potthast really enjoyed the gathering. He told a story about how he would sneak into Skankin’ Pickle shows back in the day when he was underage by pretending to be their roadie. He also gave a shout out to John from “Hi My Name John” who apparently was in the crowd. Dan said he felt like he was on “This Is Is Your Life.”

Slapstick capped off the night and turned the place insane. I never got see them back in the day because I was too young. Regardless of how they played, I would have been pleased just to be there. Thankfully, the guys gave a strong performance. I guess Dan Andriano and Brendan Kelly have had plenty of time to hone their stagecraft over the years. It was weird to see all these guys onstage who I associate it with other bands, e.g., the Honor System, Alkaline Trio, and the Lawrence Arms.  It’s like Slapstick has become this retroactive super group. I normally would have gone crazy in the crowd but I was a little tired from walking around SF all day. I observed the show safely behind a strategically placed column. My personal highlight was getting to see them play “My Way” and seeing the back and forth between Brendan and Dan Andriano. There were a few appearances from drunk Skiba who came out to harass Dan Andriano and Brendan Kelly. Brendan remarked that Matt was so drunk that Brendan now knew how Chris McCaughan feels during a Lawrence Arms show. I guess a few wise guys in the crowd were shouting Lawrence Arms requests, Brendan thought it was kind of funny because it’s usually the opposite. He said he was glad that people were finally requesting songs by his current band. He also talked about how weird it was to be up there, having to sing embarrassing songs that he wrote as a teenager to a room full of people. It is pretty weird when you think about it. Regardless, I’m glad that Brendan and the rest of the guys indulged the fans for one night. Some videos uploaded to YouTube by the fans:

Some drunk rambling by Skiba:

Here’s a recap from Squid Pro Quo.

June 17, 2011 – The Broadways, Bomb The Music Industry, Ratasucia, Spraynard @ The Bottom of The Hill

The Broadways played a matinee on Friday at the Bottom of the Hill. Bomb The Music Industry, Ratasucia, and Spraynard opened. I didn’t get see any of Spraynard’s set because the line to get in was ridiculously slow. It was a little weird being at Bottom of the Hill because it was the only venue I had heard of before. Avail’s Live at the Bottom of the Hill is one of my favorite albums so I was quite aware of this place. The first band I got to see was Ratasucia, Dan Hanaway’s new band. These guys are faster and heavier than what Dan had been doing before. At some points they reminded me of the Misfit and at others like Soundgarden. The crowd clearly wasn’t familiar with the music but the band was great nonetheless. I’m sure I’ll see them some more in Chicago.

Next came Bomb the Music Industry. I was completely unfamiliar with this band, but I was clearly in the minority there. Most of the crowd knew the band and were eager to show it. The relatively calm crowd went nuts when these guys took the stage. I mostly just tried to survive while everyone else was going crazy. Towards the end of the set, the singer jumped into the pit with the mic in his hand and I somehow got sucked into it. They were a fun band, but I was saving my energy for the headliner.

I  somehow managed to get right up front for the Broadways. That was a mixed blessing because the crowd was losing it behind me so I spent the set just pinned up against the stage. Brendan was talking about how people ask him why the Broadways broke up and he said it was because no one ever went to see them. He said that probably every Broadways fan in the world was right there in that room. He also talked about how after Slapstick, he wanted to be in a super political punk band and that’s why they started the Broadways. I’m so used to seeing the Lawrence Arms live, it was kind of weird to see Brendan and Chris onstage while Dan Hanaway was doing most of the singing. With Ratasucia and the Broadways playing, this show was definitely Dan’s time to shine. I don’t think I realized how much Mr. Hanaway meant to the songs of the Broadways until this performance. The set was great and I’m glad I finally got to see the Broadways live. Anyways, here are some videos I found on YouTube:

Here’s a recap from Squid Pro Quo.

June 18, 2011 – Sundowner, Brendan Kelly, Kepi @ Thee Parkside

Sundowner headlined at Thee Parkside on Saturday night. Kepi, Mike Hale, and Brendan Kelly opened. This was my first time seeing Brendan Kelly solo. It was nice to hear some Lawrence Arms songs while being able to relax. Brendan also played a few songs from the Falcon. The songs were great but the stage banter was also entertaining. He explained the story behind a few of his songs, it was like a punk rock Storytellers. For example, he explained “Unicorn Odyssey” by the Falcon. He said that the song was about an old bandmate of his who lived under the bed of his girlfriend. This guy sounded super shady, he broke into his parent’s place to steal his old Nintendo. I guess he also took his gf to a Lawrence Arms practice right after she had an abortion. Brendan mentioned that she looked gray. The crowd greeting this one with an audible groan, to which Brendan replied “I told you they would be good stories, not funny stories.” The heckling from the audience was great too. Someone requested “Dance of the Doomed” but yelled out “Dancing With Dudes.” Brendan was more than happy to oblige, he played the song and changed the lyrics to fit the new title. While Mike Park definitely deserves the MVP for AMR 15, I’d say Brendan is a close second for playing shows with 4 different bands in 4 days.

For Sundowner, Chris did a solo set on electric guitar. It was pretty much like the last time I saw him at Subterranean. Nothing out of the ordinary as far as song selection. He did forget the lyrics to “Jackson Underground” and gave up on it halfway through, but otherwise he had a good performance. He mentioned that “Sea Of Lights” is loosely about the L&L on Clark and Belmont. You could tell there were a lot of Chicagoans in the audience because every Chicago reference got a cheer from the crowd. Anyways, a good show and I’m looking forward to the Sundowner vinyl release party at Bottom Lounge in a few weeks.

So yeah, AMR 15 was amazing. I’m pretty sure that Slapstick will never play another show, but if they do another one of these in 10 years, I’ll be there.

FYI, there’s a ton of photos, videos, and other things over at the AMR15 Facebook page.