it's been a hard clay's night

31 March 2014

I Don't Want To Spoil The Party

Old 97's - Metro Chicago - 13 November 2013 the end of an era and the start of another...

2 JAN 2014 
I don't really do resolutions, but I made a new year's RULE to create something everyday. This is today's contribution. 
I have put off relaying this particular story due to various circumstances, but my low grade OCD will not let me get away with not covering such a momentous adventure. Also, the tablet, while so very convenient in so many ways, just can't match the feeling of typing on the keyboard.

This was indeed an adventure in the making. Over the course of the newly past year or so, I made a slew of fan friends via the internet. There were discussions and longing for the right time to converge upon the front row as a group. I'd missed an opportunity earlier in the year to road trip and connect with these particular ladies. This time, it was destined! A Chicago show with new elbows to rub up front. How much I was looking forward to this!

And then my dear Granny passed away 5 days before the show. Huge Bummer of all Bummers. We had had a renewed closeness over the recent year, as I'd taken on being her companion and driver for medical appointments. Being her first grandchild, and a kindred spirit to boot, the loss took its toll for sure. It sucked for innumerable reasons, the most relevant being that she knew how much I looked forward to my music events. During our visits, she was always content to sit and listen to my rock & roll tales, complete with iPad pics or videos to illustrate the point. I looked forward to telling her most of all, so I saved stories up for our times together. She was a rapt audience and took great pleasure in my unfiltered storytelling. And by unfiltered, I do mean the vernacular or even the profane, if the word suited. And I took greater pleasure in her enjoyment or questions. We were cool like that. She was always a social creature and back in the day, she enjoyed kicking up her feet and tossing back a drink or two. Plus, in this family, we love our music.

Granny circa 1940's
15 JAN 2014
We buried her 2 days before this show. I'd already missed the Wisconsin show and the chance to see my friends from up there. Things were still a 'go' for the Metro, but wow, I can tell you here, I was less than enthusiastic about having to make a public appearance. To have my most favorite event in life, marred by that which makes life valuable, was a bitter pill to swallow. 

19 JAN 2014
It's her birthday today; I'm quietly celebrating by doing things she liked to do. Law & Order SVU, crossword puzzles, snuggling my dog, sneaking small chocolates...

The only thing that would have kept me from attending, would have been having her services coincide with the date. But we had wrapped it all up and while I knew I was still a bit too raw, this was an evening not to be missed. I could almost hear Granny's bluster about not daring to take the blame for me missing a show!
I think what was most disappointing for me at this point, was that these people didn't really get to meet the "Me" that I had anticipated being. I don't think I was outwardly mournful, but I know there was a cloud over my head til about halfway through the show. 
But, man, is it cool meeting people for the first time. We all probably had at least a good year of interaction via Facebook, so we were all pretty much up to speed on each other's lives. When the girls arrived to pick me up, it was like 'old' times hahha! Well, that was just Wende, I was already familiar with sweet Sheri and Tracy. Downtown, at a small hotel, we would be connecting with Leslie, Bert, Marie and a plethora of others who were all fun-loving, mouthy types. It would appear that we would all get along just fine. A bit of pre-partying at the hotel, led to taxicabbing it just over to Metro, where we passed the dinner hour at some bar whose clever name I cannot recall, but it was literally next to the venue. Suzanne (and her friend Mark?) also showed up, so that was a happy reunion :) 
Once I'd ingested enough pre-show sustenance, (which I always find extremely difficult!) I decided to go out and get in line with some of the girls. I saw Bill! That's when Jenna joined up. We passed the time bitching about the recent drop in temperature, what new songs we might get to hear and we even saw Ken and Jeff head back and forth from the Wrigleyville Dogs. 
Then it was TIME. 
We got in and staked the appropriate claims, we stretched out far and wide. Metro seemed smaller than I remembered, which I found strange. It was awesome. Trapper Schoepp and the Shades opened up the evening, and they rocked righteously! People reunited even further with other show friends and what a joy that always is.

24 MARCH 2014
Boy, it's taking me awhile to get this out. I just haven't had any storytelling motivation. Not that I do now, as much as guilt over not covering the occasion, AND it has been on my mind all week. 
Trapper Schoepp is highly entertaining. The band is tight and the music rocks. He is cute and sweet in person.
I took a sweeping look across the club, and it was like a moment in slo-mo. People, all revved up and applauding. People, sipping and/or swigging drinks. People, gathering closer for the headliners.
My friends, newly made or otherwise, bouncing in anticipation. Me, watching it all from some odd perspective that I was longing to shed. I belonged *here* tonight, why couldn't I just feel like it?
Soon that blah was washed away when the boys trotted out and got things started with 504. As usual, they were on point, crashing and bashing, everyone was screaming and singing. I got my required goosebumps. They played a couple of the new songs and threw in Over the Cliff, a fan favorite with ties to the area ;)
Wende expressed particular glee over hearing this one, and gosh we are spoiled having Jon Langford as a local, we hear that song often. It was the last show of the tour and it ended with a bang. The out of towner's seemed euphoric, job well done.
We tried to commiserate post-show, and we did get an outdoor, all the girls with Murry shot. But then we got scattered and the girl group regrouped elsewhere, hotel, food, etc. Once everyone left, I ran into yet another friend leaving the scene and he gave me his backstage pass. So I ran back in, I had a quick chat here and there, and also got a photo op with Alex Dezen from the Damnwells, who was hiding in plain sight. I may or may not have shaken hands and been introduced to Mr. Langford. hahhaha!
Alex and myself

Then I went back to the pub from earlier in the evening after I called for my ride. I was taking a car from the livery job I'd just quit. The lovely lady on dispatch had been waiting for my call and was sending my friend Tony T.  Sweet. I ordered a cider and figured he wouldn't be more than 30 minutes. Which was pretty much all the time I had to drink this drink and wait outside because the bar closed at 1AM??!! 
Thankfully, Tony was right on the money and he got a chatty earful because I literally had to down that  pint! I had given him full disclosure, though, and he was a sport and dutiful listener. 
We all got home safe and another fine adventure was on the books.

There's a new album afoot, and it's about a month away from release. Chicago and Milwaukee gig dates were just announced, so my heart is skipping beats on the regular! It is almost time to do my thing! 
Til then-----

No comments: