Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I have nothing of substance to say, so I'll ask a question

Often times after I go to a concert I have a little obsession with the band I saw, especially if the show was good. Not this past weekend but the weekend before I went to two concerts. My obsession with Johnossi lasted approximately 24 hours, at which time my obsession with UNKLE began. That obsession has lasted over a week now.

So here's my question. If instead of seeing UNKLE after seeing Johnossi, and instead I had seen a band that I had seen before, who would I be more obsessed with now, Johnossi or the band I saw before?

That's a weird question. Here's a better one. Tomorrow night I'm seeing Art Brut and the Hold Steady. I've seen both bands twice before. I've had the little post-concert obsessions with both bands already. Will tomorrow night's show break my obsession with UNKLE? Or will it not make a difference because I've seen those bands before? And why? Discuss.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

For Chris

Remember: get into the living of this life, get involved and don’t forget to write it all down somewhere.
--Chris Pryor

You inspired me, even though I never told you so. Now I can't. My life is better because you were in it, albeit for a short time.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I can't believe it. Okay, maybe I can.

Still on a live music high: Saturday

I actually had to pay for tickets to Saturday night's show. My boyfriend is a big UNKLE fan, so when I saw that tickets went on sale I bought them as an anniversary gift. I was very excited about my gift, and I wanted to tell him right away, but he wouldn't let me. I even waved the tickets in front of his face, but he didn't look at them. He made me wait until our anniversary to give him the tickets. I stayed up to midnight to give them to him right away. He was very excited because even though he's a fan, he managed to not see any of the press announcing that UNKLE was going to tour as a band.

It was destined to be a good night when we found cheap food and beer right next to the venue (how had I not been in this place before?), and while eating managed to see the Blackhawks come from behind to beat the Maple Leafs and see Boston get a grand slam home run on their way to beating the Indians. But I digress.

We got inside before the opening act (Martin Dosh) and managed to get a spot right up against the stage, though way off to the right side. I don't think my boyfriend had ever been that close for a show before.

I loved UNKLE's set so much that I want to get on a plane and go to the rest of their shows in this country. I could still go to Vegoose and get home in time to see Art Brut and the Hold Steady on Halloween! I can! But I have no money, so I won't. But yeah, I enjoyed it that much. I want to see UNKLE every week.

You can see a video from the show here. I didn't take this video, as I said, we were right up front. It's not the best quality, but it gives and idea of what the show was like.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Still on a live music high: Friday

Note: This is not a review. I don't do reviews. Why? Because I suck at it.

Remember when I lamented the fact that there were too many good shows this month and I wanted to win more free tickets? Guess what... I did! The fine people at Flavorpill set me up with a pair of tickets to see Nico Vega, Johnossi, and the Shout Out Louds Friday night at Logan Square Auditorium. This was one of the shows I really wanted to see, and if I were to have bought tickets to one more show it would have been this one. Score!

My friend and I got there early, before doors opened. We saw John of Johnossi come out with his arm in a sling, which made me a bit nervous because the whole reason I wanted to go to this show in the first place was to see Johnossi.

I'm not fond of the Logan Square Auditorium, and this was one of the reasons I didn't buy tickets to this show in the first place. It makes me feel like I'm in my high school gym, and the stage isn't very high for as large of a room as it is. It was my second time there, and it was just as hot in there as it was the first time I went a couple of years ago. I hate hot. I must say, though, the venue doesn't seem quite as annoying when you are standing right in front of the stage instead of part way back.

Nico Vega came out first, and they were good. The guitarist reminded me of someone who would have been playing in the club Andie went to in Pretty In Pink.

Next was Johnossi. He did play with his arm in a sling, which I imagine had to be painful. If it was he didn't show it. I liked them a lot.

Johnossi Set List

Finally, Shout Out Louds. They were wonderful.

Yeah, I said this wasn't a review, remember?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Please don't hit me

There are good drivers and stupid drivers. There are good pedestrians and stupid pedestrians. There are good cyclists and stupid cyclists.

For the record, I do have a car, but I spend most of my time as a pedestrian. When traveling in the city I generally only drive under the following circumstances, otherwise I walk and/or take public transportation.

1. When I'm going to the supermarket to some other store where I will be making many purchases, where having a trunk is much more convenient than having to schlep tons of stuff on the bus or train or paying for a cab.

2. When I know that parking will be easy and free (or very cheap) wherever I'm going. This occurs infrequently.

3. I drive my boyfriend two and from work on Saturdays just to ensure my car gets one good ride a week.

I'm more of a pedestrian in this city than I am a driver. As a pedestrian I'm always annoyed at idiot drivers, and there are a lot of them in this city. Particularly vexing to me are the people who turn left on red even though they weren't in the intersection when the light turned yellow, and people talking on cell phones. I have noticed that most of the idiot drivers who have almost hit me, either while I was walking or driving, were on their cell phones at the time. At times like those I really wish there was a police officer nearby since these people clearly don't think that the law against using cell phones without hands free sets or speakers doesn't apply to them.

Lately, though, it's not the idiot drivers who are pissing off my pedestrian self. It's the idiot cyclists. Twice in three days I have almost been mowed over by someone on a bicycle who was riding recklessly.

The first time was Monday night, at about 9:30 when leaving the L station near my apartment. There is a crosswalk directly outside of this station, even though there is no street there. That particular traffic signal is for the crosswalk only, though there are actual intersections about 100 feet in either direction. This is a pretty busy crosswalk as it connects a busy transit station with a university campus. Anyway, my boyfriend and I were walking out of the station just as we get the walk sign for the crosswalk. We leave the station with the intention of going across the sidewalk, crossing the street at the crosswalk, and continuing down the street. The station has several glass doors, and I didn't seen any pedestrians walking down the sidewalk we had to cross, so we just walked out the station and made our way to the crosswalk. All of a sudden, from out of nowhere, a middle aged woman on a bicycle nearly hit us. She had to slam on her brakes, and it made the same screeching noise that car brakes make if you stop too quickly. That's how fast she was going. Did I mention she was on the sidewalk? Yeah. She was riding her bike that quickly down the sidewalk where she was to pass a busy transit station, a bus stop for several routes, as well as two restaurants loaded with college kids. After crossing the street I noticed she had slowed down and was riding closer to the street instead of the middle of the sidewalk. The fact remains, though, that she shouldn't have been riding her bike on the sidewalk at all.

The second incident was earlier today. Same crosswalk, only this time I was crossing from the opposite direction. The light turned red for the cars, and the crowd of us waiting to cross the street were about to go when we all had to stop because this dude flew through the crosswalk on his bike. He made no attempt to stop or even slow down for the pedestrians who had the right of way. In fact, I find this to be a very common occurrence. While there are many responsible cyclists out there, there seem to be more than a few who think that traffic signals only apply to them when there are no cars there to hit them. Who cares if there are pedestrians in the crosswalk? When I have a walk sign I shouldn't have to think about whether I should cross the street more slowly or whether I should run because the cyclist who is coming toward the crosswalk clearly isn't going to stop for me, and if I continue at my pace I'll be mowed down.

Oh yeah, that happened a couple of weeks ago. This was at an intersection where there was actually a cross street, but no cars were coming. I had the walk sign and was in a the crosswalk when a dude on a bike approached. He actually made eye contact with me. It was a like a game of chicken. If I kept up at the pace I was going and he kept up at the pace he was going we would have hit each other. But I could tell he wasn't going to stop, so I slowed down so he could go though the crosswalk. You know, I shouldn't have done that. He should have stopped for me.

I have no beef with responsible cyclists. I actually sort of feel bad for them. Chicago isn't the most bike friendly city on earth, and navigating its streets on two wheels must be difficult and sometimes downright scary. I try to do my part by leaving plenty of room for cyclists, and I always check to make sure someone on a bicycle isn't coming before opening my car door. Every time. As I said at the start of this post, no matter how one gets around the city, there are responsible people and there are idiots. And the idiots are really starting to get on my nerves.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Request stop that ho

hahaha awesome!

Perhaps we need to check out our own neighborhood more often

Last night was my boyfriend's birthday. He said he wanted a pint, and I told him to pick a place. He wanted to go somewhere we haven't tried before, and in the process found our new favorite Rogers Park bar, and some yummy Indian food.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

When you're drinking and you see the Sears Tower beeping...

Last night was such a beautiful night. The weather was perfect. It was cool, but not cold. It was cloudy, but the cloud ceiling wasn't too low.

I took the train downtown to meet Tim for dinner after he got off of work. We weren't sure where we wanted to eat, so we walked around a little bit. The area was buzzing, perhaps because people realize that before too long it won't be comfortable to leisurely walk downtown for a few months. The lights looked beautiful, and I was disappointed that I had forgotten my camera, as maybe I could have snapped a few nice evening photos.

After dinner we went to my friends' condo for game night. We still had time to kill before we were due to arrive, so we walked to their neighborhood since it was only about a mile away. We walked down streets we don't normally take and saw things we don't normally see. I love that I can discover something new every day in neighborhoods I'm in all the time.

My friends live in a high rise condo with beautiful views of the city, including the Sears Tower. I sort of feel like I own the world when I'm in their home because the city is just laid out before me.

We had a lot of fun chatting and eating and drinking and playing Scene It. We won the first game! Those of us who don't live there tend to spend the free moments looking out the window. One of the other guests became very excited, and pointed out to us that the Sears Tower was "beeping". We all looked out the window and saw that towards the top of the building it appeared that there was a strobe light in one of the rooms. We all tried to come up with logical explanations for him because he seemed a big freaked out by the flashing light. Perhaps a fire alarm had been pulled. We don't know. But every time he got up, he looked out the window and told us that the Sears Tower was still beeping. Jokes were made that he needed a helmet with some aluminum foil on it. We had all consumed a few adult beverages throughout the night, which perhaps made the quote in the title of this post seem even more hysterical to us. The reason why the sentence isn't finished is because we started laughing so he never finished it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Video from Patrick Wolf 10/9

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I love/hate October

October is my favorite month. Autumn is my favorite season, and my favorite autumn weather arrives in October. And it finally arrived last night. I'm much happier now.

The real reason I love and hate October is that it seems that so many musical acts come through Chicago in October. You would think this would only make me happy. It does make me happy. I'm always happy when I can see bands I love. But it also makes me sad for two reasons.

1. There will be a lot of shows now and maybe in November, but it will probably slow down a lot from December through February.

2. Financially I will be able to see fewer of these bands than if these shows had been more spread out.

I was making out a list of all the shows I wanted to go to in October, and it's quite a long list. I want to see some of these shows more than others. Some I would be more willing to pay for than others. Really it comes down to picking and choosing. As a graduate student with a modest income this is my reality year-round, but it seems to be worse this month concert-wise.

I got a boost Monday afternoon when I got an email saying I had won two tickets to see last night's Patrick Wolf show at Metro. We arrived late so we missed the opener, Bishi. She did, however, come out and sing one song with him, so I guess I did see her after all.

Anyway, here's my list of shows I want to see. I only have tickets to 2 of these, though I'm likely going to buy tickets to a third. The rest I will miss. This list is just for the rest of October, today through Hallowe'en. I can't be bothered to go back to the first of the month and document what I have already missed. Here's hoping I win more contests for more free tickets.

11: Interpol - Aragon
12: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Metro
12: Catfish Haven - Double Door
12: Spoon - Riviera
15: She Wants Revenge - Metro
16: Architecture In Helsinki - Metro
17: Justice - Metro
18: New Porongraphers and Emma Pollock - Metro
19: New Porongraphers and Emma Pollock - Metro
19: Bright Eyes - Chicago Theatre
19: Henry Rollins - Vic Theatre
19: Shout Out Louds and Johnossi - Logan Square Auditorium
20: UNKLE - Metro
21: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band - United Center
22: Drive By Truckers - Park West
23: IAMX - Double Door
24: New Young Pony Club - Subterranean
24: The Figurines and Dappled Cities - Schubas
25: The Weakerthans - Metro
25: Queens of the Stone Age - Riviera
27: Rodrigo y Gabriela - Riviera
27: Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello - Chicago Theatre
28: Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello - Chicago Theatre
28: The Decemberists - Vic Theatre
30: Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello - Chicago Theatre
30: The Hold Steady and Art Brut - Metro
31: The Hold Steady and Art Brut - Metro

See, almost every day there's a show I want to see. Ugh.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The leaves aren't dry enough

I'm feeling a bit out of it lately, and I think I finally figured out why: It's still too hot out.

The weather we've been experiencing in Chicago over the past couple of weeks has been unseasonably warm. Many people might find this to be a pleasant surprise. I, however, do not.

Autumn is my favorite time of year, and I feel like I'm missing out. I don't like temperatures in the high 80s in the summer, let alone in autumn. If it goes from summer to winter even more quickly than normal I will not be a happy camper. Maybe my brain is rebelling, knowing that things aren't as they should be.

I can't stress enough how odd it was to go to the Blackhawks home opener in shorts because it was in the 80s outside. Then I had to put on a hoodie when I got inside because, hello, it's an ice rink. It's one thing if your team goes far into the playoffs and it's June (ha!), but in October?

It's supposed to start cooling off soon. Maybe I'll get my groove back then.

Friday, October 05, 2007

What else should I have bought today?

It's unseasonably warm and humid. Guess what I bought this morning?

My new winter coat.

I love you, Chicago.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

How 'bout them Cubs?

brass band

So the Chicago Cubs start their playoff run tonight. Like any good Cubs fan since birth, I am optimistic to the point of being delusional.

If you didn't notice, this is your signal to roll your eyes and giggle at me.