Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chicago and back

Sunday night Sleepy Kitty roared up to Chicago to play one of our favorite spots in the city: The Whistler in Logan Square. There were a few factors in our favor on the way up:

1) This has been a picture-perfect week, weatherwise. The air feels like living in a Polaroid, like a memory in progress.

2) We finally discovered the time-melting powers of listening to comedy albums as we drive between cities. It's like a hole in time and space. This time up, on Kiernan Maletsky's recommendation, we checked out a Eugene Mirman album. Success!

3) The Cardinals are in the playoffs, and the playoffs are on the radio, and though both Paige and I have this weird superstition that us tuning into a Cardinals game makes them lose, we couldn't help it. The Brewers announcers, I must say, know how to bring the action and the strategy of the game into vivid focus. It was riveting, and when we pulled up in front of the Whistler with the Cardinals' lead freshly destroyed, it was all we could do to get out of the van.

The Whistler is great because they've consistently treated us and our friends and friends' bands with respect. The shows are free and the room is small but the drinks and the live sound are especially excellent. One reason we enjoy playing Chicago is that we've learned to appreciate how great it is when friends come out to see us, and there were friends from all over the city Sunday night. We're feeling like members of the Chicago music world as well as St. Louis'.

Meanwhile, Ghost Heart was playing a poly-rhythmic, heavily percussive set that included full-band harmonies and a musical bicycle wheel. They're from Grand Rapids, MI, and I gather they've made it to Chicago a few times now; hopefully they'll be back soon, or even make it all the way down to St. Louis. If we catch wind, we'll spread the word.

After the show there was a rendezvous at The Owl, a months-old bar a couple blocks further up Milwaukee, just below the Milshire (Wilshire?) Hotel sign Paige and I have loved for so long. The Owl is way more beautifully detailed and well-appointed than a 4AM requires, and it was the perfect place to finish catching up with Will Phalen,
Mike Musikanto, Big Science, Matt Woodward, and the other late-nighters. By the time we made it back to the Bailiff HQ, our homebase in Chicago, it was damn near 5 in the morning. Definitely felt like we'd made the most.

Monday morning was a meal and conversations with Ren, Kiera, and John about all manner of things. Paige couldn't stop complimenting the long-ago genius who planted those particular trees along Southport: every tree had gone bright golden yellow, and every breeze brought down little leaves like coins into the drifts at our feet. It
definitely felt like the city was flirting with us, showing off some of its finest details, and if we didn't have some posters we were looking forward to printing, I don't know how we'da gotten out of there. We did have both a Cardinals game and a Greg Geraldo album to bring us home, so the drive felt a good 2 hours shorter than it otherwise would have.

Thank you, Chicago. We'll see you again soon!

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