Location: Double Door
Bands: Arks, Aleks & the Drummer, J+J+J, Sally, and the Machine Media DJs
Drinks: Reasonable-ish, but more than I can afford right now
Things I missed to be there: Mass Shivers and Lazer Crystal at the Hideout; the (supposedly) last show ever at Nihilist with Carrezza, U.S. Girls, The Opera Company, and Dewayne Slightweighht; other things listed within the post
Reason for going: I am a "Machine Media DJ"
So my friends are putting on a festival in conjunction with their paper. Two shows tonight. Two weeks altogether. Two people and whoever offers to help. Luckily for tonight, there's only two other games in town, but both hit a little close to home. The first event is a reading at Quimby's Bookstore. It's modestly attended, actually fairly well for a reading, but it has two things going against it. Because it's just the first of two things, it has to start on time, which means that more than a few literary degenerates show up once everyone has packed up and gone outside to smoke. The other is the Printer's Ball. The Printer's Ball is a nomadic annual literary event, now in it's third year. A few years ago, it might not have been conceivable to have a big, official book-themed dance event on 35th street, away from all the usual art community haunts, but after last years' Ball packed the Double Door to capacity on a weeknight, they needed something bigger and farther away. Apparently, before the event got busted (more on that craziness soon), the event drew around 1000 people.
The other event was another homespun festival, Mauled by Tigers Fest 2, happening just down the street at Subterrranean, and featuring The Arrivals, The Chinese Telephones, Vena Cava, Canadian Rifle, The Potential Johns, and Lefty Loosie. This show had a pretty big turn out but I think we ended up even, despite the overlapping crowds of punks, rockers, and tattooed dance party motherfuckers.
The first act up was a surprise to everyone. Instead of the solo singer-songwriter electronica act that everyone was expecting, Charlie Deets came out with his band Sally, an unpredictable indie rock act that did their best Godspeed You! Black Emperor impression with a set that consisted of one long, weird, twenty-something minutes-long song featuring Charlie Deets' almost feminine voicve and all the odd changes in time signature and weird riffage you'd expect from a song of that length.
Aleks & the Drummer played next, straight out of an interview in one of the big-name papers. At this point in time, they're being posited in a lot of places as Chicago's next big hope. In and of itself, that's not saying much. Usually, it could be considered as much a curse as it is a blessing, but there's something kind of noteworth about Aleks & the Drummer, in that they aren't a traditional rock band or hip hop group. They're a bilingual (and trilingual, if you're willing to count gibberish on the same level as Polish and English), organ-and-drum duo that has songs that might fit in a discotheque and songs that might fit better as a mourning hymn.
Their show was different at a real venue, as opposed to to a party space. Everyone was really hesitant to dance, as if they were unsure of how, so they stood behind an invisible line ten feet away from the stage. Aleks & the Drummer wore their defenses down, so that by the time J+J+J took the stage, people were tapping their toes like Snoopy in the Charlie Brown Christmas special (seriously).
J+J+J are a suburban dance band, a guy and girl who're about to get married, on electronics and synthesizers, singing songs about ski ball and high school makeout parties that would be apropriate to listen to during either. Their most recent album title is a pretty apt description of the nerd dance party they provide in the middle of the rest of the world: they hump while we go nuts.
I think I would've liked Arks more on paper than I did closing out the show. I know I like the tracks on their myspace page more. Online, some of their songs sound like an odd mix of System of a Down and The Cure, but live they seemed like an indie-ish metal band. They do get scene points for having Paul Hornschemeier of The Holy Consumption comics collective on bass, but luckily, I don't think they're the type of band who give any sort of a shit about scene points. Unfortunately, as much of a shit as they gave about rocking out on Friday, rock'n'roll, even with elements of thrash and new wave, seemed a little boring closing out the night.