Thursday, May 29, 2014

Empty Bottles and Chicago Guys

The night was cool. Chicago was clearly confused about what spring meant, but the weather didn't seem to reflect anything like a real spring. We went back and forth between freezing cold and so hot that it was unbearable to breathe for a day, then would have a violent thunderstorm, and go back to the freezing, freezing cold.

Since I had planted my garden it had snowed twice. I'll admit that I was feeling rather done with the interminable changes in the weather. Yet, even though it was May, the weather chose not to cooperate in any reasonable way, meaning some days with a jacket and some days without.

May was turning into a busy month, with the ballet at the beginning, a show in the middle, and IML at the end. The show I was going to was These New Puritans. The Cloud Nothings were also playing that weekend, but I felt fairly sure that I was making the right choice when it came to the show. These New Puritans are a bit of a post-mod punk troop, with lots of nice drums, horns, and a duo singing lead that included both breathless female vocals and the more deep bass of a male lead. I was highly enamored of their last album, and the most recent also appeared to be quite good, so I decided to go for it. Plus, they were playing at the Empty Bottle and I hadn’t been there in a while. Prior to leaving the ballet I invited Faust to join me if he was into live music. He provided a non-committal maybe as he had plans for that evening. Either way, I was going to go.

The plan was, of course, to take the train. The Boy was out in Indianapolis and not expected back until late evening, but then he managed to make it home around four. He asked me when the train was, I said at five, and didn’t think much of it as I continued to clean the house. Until, of course, five when I was getting ready to go and checked the train schedule again to see that the train actually left as six.



“I don’t know why I keep reading the train schedule wrong on the weekends.”

“I told you to make sure you check the weekend schedule.”

“Yes, I know,” I said, exasperated. “And I did, I checked it twice. So, I don’t know why it’s wrong again.”

I missed the plentiful trains of my Korean home. After some discussion, in which I did say several times that I could, in fact, take the train, it was finally decided that the two of us would go together and have dinner in the city and then I would get left at the venue to enjoy the show. I found a little Italian place that did nice mussels, a good caprese salad, and some form of fish that the Boy liked. He left me full and well satisfied and I walked toward my bar, realizing rather quickly that I really, really, really needed a coffee. I’m not great after ten on a weeknight, and it takes work to push past ten on a Saturday night.

Coffee was hard to come by, but I eventually scored some. Much to my surprise Faust actually turned up, and so I had him watch my gear while I ran next door and got some weak, weak, weak ass coffee. WHO DRINKS THIS STUFF? Just because it is brown does not mean it is coffee. Granted, by coffee I usually mean two shots of espresso with an extra shot to wake me up just in case, so maybe it’s me. With lack of REAL coffee I tried to drink a couple of diet colas in the hope they would wake me up, sans booze, because I was feeling far too sleepy and didn’t want to end up passed out.

The first band was Matches, a one-woman act with an electric keyboard and the ability to spin really great sound. She had a lovely ethereal voice that floated above the myriad of chords she put on the stage. She had a sound that was reminiscent of Grimes, but somehow more mature, throatier and more real. There were lush waves of rhythm and beat that caused the body to sway, the toes to tingle. It was all rather lovely, and for an hour-and-a-bit-long set, hardly seemed like enough.

Between listening and dancing I snapped some pictures on my shiny new camera, and finally gave up the ghost on trying to get enough caffeine from diet soda and just got a vodka instead. The wait between the bands seemed to take forever, but it was pleasant and filled with conversation with Faust, who had not been to a show like this before. On this particular night the bar was not that crowded, and seemed comfortable and familiar in the dark places.

At one point I ran to the loo and when I returned I noticed that two Chicago guys were starting to encroach on the little table I had carved out. It is hard to describe them as anything other than these two Chicago guys. One was taller than the other, with dyed-blonde hair (or perhaps it just looked dyed blonde, it was so light). Of the two he looked more like Meatloaf with a spikey haircut, and his friend, who was shorter and stouter, looked for all the world like John Candy to me. It was an oddness,  but it was like two guys out of one of those old Bears skits from SNL, where any minute they might break out in explaining why the first band could be improved if Ditka was playing. While I painted them as a caricature, I was rather surprised to find that they had not just accidentally wandered into the wrong bar looking for a sports bar, but in fact, they had come out for the show.

“I love These New Puritans, and that first chick, she wasn’t bad you know,” said Meatloaf.

John Candy sat down.

“You don’t mind do you?” He asked.

“No, but if you gentlemen are going to be taking my seat for a bit I figure you should buy a girl a drink.”

Shameless? Me? Always.

They did buy me a drink and I left them to talk to Faust a bit about interests and music. Finally I asked John Candy what he liked to do. He said he liked to fish.

“What kind of angler are you?” I asked.

“Angler, get a load of her,” he says to Meatloaf.

“No, seriously, do you go for big-game fish, lake fish, fish in rivers? Fly fishing? You look like a fly fisherman.”

“I’ve been thinking about fly fishing but I haven’t done it.”

“You seem the type. You like the quiet, the meditation of fishing, but also the hunt, and fly fishing has those aspects.”

John Candy’s eyes got wide. “Honey, you should be a salesman, cause whatever you are selling I want to buy.” To Faust: “Where did you find her?”

Faust just smiled.

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