Tag Archives: Chicago

Day 4 – Part 2 – The Hideout

The Chicago skyline view we had was inspiring. I had been texting with Susan and so I was doubly anticipatory of arrival. And indeed there she was when we pulled up. I start clapping and singing a made up song, and the rest of the band starts singing a made up song about Susan and it was glorious. Indeed she had scheduled a layover in Chicago on her way from New York to Seattle, a thing I was very much looking forward to.

It’s typical to see Susan in the audience, so the last few performances didn’t feel complete for me. Not only is it reassuring to see her familiar smiling face out in the audience, but she thoughtfully helps manage the things that I would forget or not have time for at all. I sure hope I do the same for her…

And true to form: she ordered food foe the band to be delivered so we didn’t have to eat energy bars. So thoughtful.

The Hideout is awesome. It has a Chicago alleyway in the back, with “Chicago” in graffiti sprawled in it. Joel thought of this much later that we should have gotten a Band Photo (Tm) against that perfect alleyway brick wall. I also discovered halfway through the night that there is a green room, besides the service passageway behind the stage. The green room is up some stairs behind a hidden door. It is in fact a Hideout (Tm), with beers, tables, and full bath. Sweet.

The bands are awesome on this night. First is Secret Means of Escape, a duo with guitarist Mike Shippy who has a crazy tuning and lots of bent notes. But it is done in a way that doesn’t seem dissonant at all. It is captivating and strange, much like the Hideout’s odd Americana decorative style and checkerboard floor.

The second band, Master Component, is also seemingly an expression of the venue itself. A duo of circuit bending and kitsch cowboy poetry and song. Very creative.

DAMA/LIBRA hits the stage with full force, a bit of an anomaly with our extended phrasing… Yet folks are responsive and appreciative! For the first time, I’m relaxed and fully in control, despite the missing chime-a-tron. The hand bells seem to fill in good enough, and they are no longer confusing. Yet, I notice an odd odor of melting plastic near the end. Well, doesn’t matter, everyone had fun and we made enough for gas money!

We load out in the 70% humidity, overpowering doe this Seattle wimp, and I bid my sweetie adieu as she has a 7am flight to catch.

The band does not stand for any of it. No no, I must spend the evening with Susan, they insist emphatically. We did not plan for this, as it could turn into a coordination nightmare. But no, we find ourselves jammed into the same cab and whisk off to the hotel.

It is a bittersweet night. Such a comfort to spend an evening together, to be regaled with Susan’s tales of a New York adventure… And yet I have only enough energy to shower, set an 8am alarm, and I pass out in exhaustion from loading hardware 4 times. She kindly lets me fade out, though I am sure it is equally frustrating to be in the same bed yet feel thousands of miles apart. In the morning, she is gone. No text yet from the band, so I reset the alarm, curl up in fetal position alone in a massive bed, and drift off to sleep again–more alone and cold than ever within a plush and well air-conditioned luxury suite hidden from band and soul mate.

Day 4 – Part 1 – WNUR

That night, we stay in a real house. It was such a delight to sit in a room. And that room came with air conditioning and cats! But really something other than a van is luxury at this point.

If someone isn’t in the very back sleeping, we’re sitting three across in the back seat, immersed in humidity. You only want to be in back if you’re sleepy, because it’s bumpy, loud, and filled with exhaust. Either way, you’re sweaty, and you never dry out. So glad I brought baby wipes.

So anyway, we crash out in their beautiful, air conditioned wood paneled home full of snuggling kittens, and get our first real showers in the morning.

Of course, Stuart had been up for hours, working on the broken chime-a-tron, and driving around looking for parts.

But without any success, we shove off for Chicago. Running late. Juice and energy bar for lunch.

Along the way, we try to stop at music stores, but they’re either closed on Mondays or out of business. Thanks for nothing joogle. Well, it was a great excuse to get out and walk and/or hobble around if you’re David.

We roll into WNUR with a deficiency of chimes, cables, batteries, and earplugs (this is why we can’t have nice things).

Guess what? We’re lost in Northwestern campus! So Joel jumps out and joins a clustered tour group, raises his hand, and asks for directions. The guide responds, “Isn’t it in that building covered in radio dishes?”

Yes, tour guide. Yes.

Stoked that its all on the same floor! We load in no time, and get set up. The building is shared with the video department, so we set up in a sound stage. Excited to play in a white room devoid of corners. We’re like the Beetles!

Since there’s no audience, we can set up in a circle, and we are inspired. Playing college radio takes some patience, as you are working with students and the equipment may be spotty. But the kids are completely involved, and take our complex nontraditional setup as a personal challenge. Even the DJ is helping to set up. Our friends are texting us, “Are you gonna play? I just hear Swedish music.” Ultimately, we play an hour late, but we had a blast, got some fun videos and photos, and I totally just played on the radio for the first time! Yeah!

At the end, I make a sign to let the control booth know we’re done. I think Stuart misinterpreted my motion, because he immediately laughs and says something that sounds like, Well that was fast!” (he said something else, but history is written by the victors.)

We are so late again, but that is now a way of life. We zoom toward The Hideout, too late for soundcheck–the iconic Chicago skyline before us.