How is it Roctober already??? To celebrate this raucous month, here are some photos from the Giuda show I had the pleasure of attending back in August. C and I were visiting family in Illinois when I learned at the last minute that the Italian glam band (featuring members of Taxi) would be playing in Chicago, roughly two hours from where we were. Knowing that they wouldn’t be in California anytime soon, we cut our trip short and high-tailed it to the Liar’s Club, just in time to catch their sweltering, stomping set. If you missed out on their 2010 debut Racey Roller, it’s been repressed by TKO Records. Even better, their new album Let’s Do It Again comes out on November 16. Don’t stop rockin’!
Tag Archives: chicago
HoZac Records, the untamed Windy City label, dipped under the radar yet again to pull together both new and legendary acts for this year’s four-day blowout at the Empty Bottle in Chicago (the one exception was perhaps power popmeister Dwight Twilley, whose songs “I’m on Fire” and “Girls” cracked the Top 20 in 1975 and 1984). I managed to catch 18 of the 19 bands (sorry, Population!) and was delighted by the following (in chronological order):
- Winter Bear (Milwaukee, WI): Refreshing jangly pop featuring Erin Dorbin (formerly of the Cave Weddings). Limited-edition cassettes are currently available on Etsy; debut HoZac 7″ is out in June.
- Buck Biloxi & the Fucks (New Orleans, LA): Primitive punk à la early Misfits (or the Spits)
- Unnatural Axe (Boston, MA): No doubt riled up about the alleged Christian group that was keen to shut down their performance (see the Huffington Post report), this Killed By Death outfit cranked out classics like “The Creeper,” “3 Chord Rock,” and “Summertime.” At one point, singer/guitarist Richie was so caught up shredding his sunburst Les Paul Gibson that he took a nasty backwards tumble off the stage. We feared the worst, but he bounded back on stage after a few minutes to continue playing, but not before he threw his guitar in my direction. Its headstock struck my lens, which in turn smashed part of my camera into my face (my brow bone still hurts and is swollen more than a week later!), but that was nothing compared to the blood oozing down Richie’s face. They polished off their set with the Plasmatics’ “Butcher Baby.”
- Wizzard Sleeve (Mobile, AL) with Quintron on drums: Sinister electropunk
- The Sueves (Chicago, IL): The only garage punk band to play the fest!
- Games (Brooklyn, NY): Catchy power pop featuring Jeremy Thompson (ex-Busy Signals, Carbonas)
- Pezband (Oak Park, IL): Technically proficient power pop—they were fun even though they didn’t do “Baby It’s Cold Outside”
- Dwight Twilley (Tulsa, OK): Master showman in a white suit; “Looking for the Magic” (originally performed with Tom Petty and the late Phil Seymour) was the encore
Incidentally, I somehow had energy for a Saturday afternoon show (Jook, Fake Surfers, Mac Blackout Band) at the Mutiny, and then another (The Beets, Wrong Words, Pink Films) at the Night Light in Oakland after I returned to the Bay Area, which brought my final band total to 22 that week. I’ll admit that capturing that many bands while getting smacked in the face by a guitar and being drenched in PBR and assorted bodily fluids requires a special blend of endurance and masochism, but there was a lot of magic to be had. Here are some of my favorite songs I heard during the course of those seven days (press the “play” arrow below if you’d like to start the soundtrack for this photo essay), followed by a smattering of snaps from the Blackout. Thanks, HoZac!
The mere thought of sifting through the thousand-plus underexposed / overexposed / blurry / out-of-focus shots I snapped at the HoZac Blackout two weekends ago was so overwhelming that I decided to ease myself into the abyss with the band portraits I took that weekend. Unfortunately, due to varying degrees of senility, tardiness, hunger, and/or exhaustion, I failed to capture all the bands that played. (Steven/Redd Kross, if you’re reading this, sorry I had to bail! Will you take a raincheck?)
In any case, here are the portraits I managed to wrangle over the course of those four days, starting with the opening-night art show and concluding with the legendary Roky Erickson (a wholly unexpected development, I might add). Incidentally, I displayed a bunch of prints at the art show but forgot to take a self-portrait that night. I also forgot about taking portraits by the time Cemetery and Mentally Ill played. I suppose if this mental lapse had to happen anywhere, what better place than at the Blackout.
In the next few weeks I’ll be posting photos of the actual performances as well as a revealing interview with the latest teen-pop sensation out of Minneapolis, Cozy. Stay tuned!
In tribute to the Nervous Eaters’ song “Get Stuffed” (see video below), I resolved to eat as much as I could while in Chicago for the HoZac Blackout music festival over Memorial Day weekend. No, the song isn’t about stuffing oneself in a gastronomical sense, but doing so is certainly the preferred alternative.
Unfortunately, I forgot I have trouble reaching my stomach’s maximum capacity whenever I travel. I can’t recall one single trip in which I had to unbutton my pants, waddle out of a restaurant clutching my belly in pain, or fall into a deep stupor shortly after a meal. Not even in Italy, where pizza comes in one size (12″?) and is meant to be consumed by one person—before continuing with the rest of the meal, which likely includes pasta, meat/seafood, salad, and dessert. And not even at Fresc Co in Seville, Spain, a branch of the all-you-can-eat buffet chain that seemed to be one of the few Spanish eateries that offers fresh vegetables and fruits that aren’t fried, deep-fried, or drowned in oil.
Oh wait! One time in NYC, after the Radio Heartbeat Power Pop Fest, I had two lunches two hours apart—one vegan lunch special at Sacred Chow, followed by $16 worth of sushi rolls and sashimi at Noodle Cafe Zen, one of those half-price sushi joints on St. Mark’s Place. I really didn’t need that second meal, but the goading and gusto of my visiting Italian friends created a moment of unexpected gluttony that I apparently remember with fondness.
Other than that, I seem to have a mental and physical block against gorging in destinations other than my home turf, which is not a bad thing. The last things I need are gastrointestinal discomfort and ill-fitting pants getting in the way of my rabid sightseeing or, in this case, hours of standing in front of deafening speakers with no indoor plumbing in sight.
So I failed my mission to stuff my face to the fullest this weekend (see rundown below), but did manage to eat well regardless. Thank you, Chicago! May I eat your deliciousness again soon!
[NOT PICTURED] 1:00pm: San Francisco Soup Company at SFO—Large Southwestern corn chowder in sourdough bread bowl. I ate all the soup (highly recommended if you’re looking for relatively cheap but filling airport food) and saved the dense, chewy bread bowl for the flight. Good thing, too—not only was our plane late, we sat on the tarmac for at least an hour before taking off.
[NOT PICTURED] 11:30am: Big Star—4 fried tilapia tacos topped with a smoky, addictive chipotle mayo, 1 spicy ejote (green beans) taco. I meant to eat only one fish taco but it was too good to stop at one. As for the green bean taco, the texture of a green bean just doesn’t work well.
11:30am: Yuca Cafe—2 poached eggs on challah bread with home fries (sausages went to M), a dish called “Rocky Mountains” on the menu. I ordinarily associate this food term with bull testicles, but if it means I don’t have to agonize over ordering something sweet or savory, I’m all for it. By transferring the eggs onto the potatoes and smothering the challah (flavored with cinnamon and vanilla and lightly fried) with pure maple syrup, I essentially had two breakfasts. OMG, can you hear me drooling all over again?
[NOT PICTURED] 1:00pm: Bake—1 chocolate chip banana cookie, 1 pretzel chocolate chip cookie. They were exquisite but too melty to be photographed.
[NOT PICTURED] 11:30pm: El Cid—3 grilled fish tacos, rice, beans, and 1,000 chips. The tacos here were a letdown after Big Star.
[NOT PICTURED] 12:15am: Longman & Eagle—Small plate of decadent beef fat fries that killed my craving for any more food. And then my moist pineapple upside-down cake with boozy cherries and toasted coconut arrived. It was flavorful but I was glad everyone wanted a bite.
12:00pm: Cafe Con Leche (Wicker Park)—Baskets of freshly made chips and salsa; huevos montados (poached eggs over thick sopes, or corn husk shells) with two kinds of salsa and black beans. It was satisfying but not mind-blowing. Perhaps I should’ve gotten a tostonillo instead, a sandwich that substitutes bread with fried plantains.
(This was the day we checked into Longman & Eagle. Check out their see-through shower; the frosted-glass toilet is right next to it.)
7:00pm: New Wave Coffee—Vegan chocolate cupcake, simple, moist, delectable. I can’t believe I didn’t get more over the weekend.
1:55am: Longman & Eagle—Small bowl of mixed nuts.
1:00pm: Longman & Eagle—”Market scramble of roasted Nichols Farm peppers, Werp Farms arugula, foraged mushrooms, and housemade fromage blanc” served over a croissant with home fries. Tasty! Since I didn’t have dinner the night before and knew that I’d probably skip dinner again, I also ordered Bananas Foster french toast with banana pudding, bourbon caramel sauce, and goat cheese semifreddo. I liked it, but the french toast could’ve been soaked longer for a more custardy texture.
12:00am: Rockin’ Horse—Veggie burger and too salty cajun fries. Thanks to Jason Morgan (of East Bay Grease, who have a single titled “Just Head”) for buying.
[NOT PICTURED] 3:00pm: Zen Noodles & Sushi (delivery)—Cambodian fried rice. I love plain ol’ Chinese fried rice, but adding basil pushes it to another taste dimension.
8:00pm: Boiler Room—Hummus with the best grilled flat bread ever (dense, chewy, almost like focaccia); too-tangy salad with pieces of grilled focaccia. It also has Jameson soft-serve ice cream, which 1 out of 4 people in our party liked. The bathrooms are like mini CTA trains!
1:00pm: Handlebar—Vegan biscuits with seitan sausage gravy and poached eggs. It was really toothsome but almost had too much gravy. M and I split the hot, gooey fried pies: one filled with PB&J and the other with blueberries. They reminded me of being at a county fair.
It seems like just yesterday that I visited Chicago for the first time, but, in actuality, it was six years ago this May, a trip that coincided with the fifth Horizontal Action Blackout. I’ve been fortunate to return to the Windy City at least once a year since, and will be back this weekend for the newly revived music fest, no doubt amped after a five-year break. Among the great bands playing are Nervous Eaters, the Spits, Tutu & the Pirates (Chicago’s first punk band), and a slew of HoZac hitmakers, including Mickey, Nobunny, Eric & the Happy Thoughts, Outer Minds, and Timmy’s Organism.
C has done a stellar job chronicling all of the past Blackouts, and will be showcasing some of his work at the Blackout Art Show on Thursday along with other talented folks such as Nathan Jerde (of the Ponys), Tim Lampinen (of Clone Defects, Human Eye, Timmy’s Organism), and Mark McKenzie (of Mickey, Functional Blackouts). My photos from the two Blackouts I went to were pretty awful, but they brought back memories of my little Canon A80’s painfully long shutter lag and the multiple flash explosions that saved a couple of my shots. Much as I miss the near-weightlessness of the Canon A80, I don’t think I can ever go back to a point-and-shoot—not even one with manual functions—at least when it comes to shooting live music. The Digital Rebel was a wonderful introduction to digital SLRs.
Here’s a random shot of the crowd entranced by Dead Moon. The bespectacled boy is Jeffrey Novak of Cheap Time; I didn’t know him at the time, and was surprised I recognized him. Also in the shot, to his right, is the singer/guitarist of the Mean Jeans, who was performing as rap artist C-Rex at the time—he looks exactly the same!
By the way, I really hope the Nervous Eaters play “Get Stuffed.”
Because it’s something I like to do sometimes.
(FYI: Here‘s the update.)