Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chicago Revisited

After all the fun we had playing at Reggie's Music Joint, we knew we would have to return to Chicago as soon as we could. Luckily, long-time Carbondale friend and debonair drummer Mike Bruno, along with killer keyboardist Kevin Kozol offered generous hospitality in their Lincoln Park apartment for a beautiful Chicago weekend. We had to say goodbye to Matt in Madison for a few days as we headed back into the big city. The crazy times are almost too much to tell. 
The weather was beautiful, the food was delicious, and there were amazing and free events around every corner. We first went to see Mike and Kevin (who, along with bassist Colin Scott, form Spare Parts) as they took to a lovely intimate stage in the back of a venue called AliveOne, replete with $12,000 in very controllable stage lights. We were all blown away by their tight, funky, and crazily metered jazz fusion all set to timed, multi-colored lights streaming through machine-generated fog--a great way to start our visit! The night continued with an unforgettable trip to the historic hot dog stand "Wiener's Circle" which was certainly too racy to post on this blog. For a small idea of what we unknowingly got ourselves into, I recommend this short documentary from This American Life. Please note that it may contain language and other material too graphic for children under the age of 18.

The next day, we had our first chance in a while to sit back and relax. Mike prepared us a scrumptious breakfast of eggs, hash, bacon, etc and we graciously licked our plates clean. A trip to the Chicago Music Exchange with Carbondale native Jon Merz caused roughly the same amount of salivation, as we drooled over walls and walls of guitars we could never afford but had no problem playing. See pic below for a two string bass which is entirely clear and also happens to light up neon green.

With the sun shining full force and the temperature resting in the lower 70's on our last full day in Chicago, we had a full afternoon of frisbee, baseball, and free blues at the Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park. The night held more fun surprises when Paul, Andrew, and I decided to sport our tour clothes (mostly brightly colored thrift store finds from the women's section) in some of the more fraternity-centered bars in Lincoln Park. Results were a mixed bag to say the least.

The next morning, after a delicious breakfast at Nookie's with the boys of Spare Parts we took the short drive up to Milwaukee, with the windy city at our backs, off to more adventures. Thanks again for showing us a great time, Mike and Kevin.

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