3.28.08: Beat Kitchen, Chicago w/the pAper chAse: "'Big Guns' By Skid Row is a song about firearms"

It always seems to throw people when i tell them that i still get nervous before shows sometimes. "Really?" they ask? Yep--i, who is generally pretty damn comfortable on stage and has been doing this for years, still get nervous before certain shows sometimes. And for some reason, this all-ages show at the Beat Kitchen had butterflies churning in my gut when i woke up at 7 AM. I've never had them THAT early.

But we were of the opinion that this could be a huge show for us. All ages, Chicago, with one of our favorite bands in the known universe. The room was sure to be packed wall-to-wall with impressionable youngsters with disposable income, right? So we worked overtime to finally re-stock our merch: buying more copies of Hot Nuggets! and No More Music from our label pals and finally ordering a new run of t-shirts. So we arrived at the Beat Kitchen ready to win over a ton of new fans and move some units.

Ah, those silly expectations.

By the time we started playing at 8:20 PM (ten minutes earlier than the advertised start time of 8:30--um, er? There was some explanation about new liquor laws in Chicago dictating an earlier end time for all-ages shows, but still...10 minutes was going to save the night? Eh, whatever. The Beat Kitchen's been good to us so i won't bitch too much), we discovered that apparently Chicago trains their people at a pretty early age to arrive late for shows. We started playing in front of about 20 people or so, and by the time we had finished, several more had trickled in. But by the time Reds and Blue finished and the pAper chAse started, the place was wall-to-wall packed, as expected, with i'd guess about 20% of those people actually seeing us play.

This is something i'll never get--i think if the pAper chAse had played by themselves with no openers, a good number of people would have thought "what the hell, $12 for one band?" Yet they're fine just showing up on time to see them and no one else, i guess. I dunno. No sense in bitching about it, and at the end of the day, i'm not really that bummed--just bemused by the average concert-goer's willingness to not get their money's worth. I mean, it's very rare that an opening act wins me over in the first five minutes of a show...i get that. Very often they're not much to write home about. But it's still nice to give 'em a chance, ya know? I mean, you're spending the money on them.

Anyway. I can't control other people's habits, so no sense in wasting time thinking about it (even though i just did). As for our set, it was fine. We were solid and played well, and those people that were there for us enjoyed it (i even heard laughter during our between-song banter, so ha!). So mission accomplished to the best of our ability. A few roadblocks like Rev.Ever breaking a bunch of guitar strings didn't really derail us at all, and playing was fun, although i got tired out really quickly for some reason, be it lack of sleep the night before or the Beat Kitchen food not agreeing with me. Not sure.

Reds and Blue were enjoyable spacey keyboard indie rock (confidential to white, wrench, conservatory.: you should probably get in touch with Reds and Blue about swapping shows), and what can i say about the pAper chAse? As usual, they were ungodly and incredible. They opened with a pair of new songs that felt 8 minutes long each and still had me grinning and giggling like a doofus at the pure musicianship being shown on stage. The more and more i see that band, i can't help thinking, "John is a fucking genius. And he's a fan of OUR band? Really? How? Why? The amount of talent we have as musicians probably fits into his pinky finger and he's told me he loves us? What?" It's truly humbling and weird and awesome to think about that.

The show ended by 11 PM, so we were able to jaunt over to Quenchers in time to see our pals Bear Claw, but unfortunately miss the Conformists. Ah well. Bear Claw were excellent as always, and we got to say hi to some Chicago pals that decided to spend the evening over there instead (which, hey, it was free and the bands were awesome and we had played in town three weeks prior, so sure!).

Oh, and our merch sales? Two t-shirts sold to friends. I couldn't help but laugh at all the effort we put into re-stocking the shelves. The good news: we have plenty of t-shirts for sale next weekend in Madison and Milwaukee!