He fills his head with culture-He gives himself and ulcer:Best of 2007~part 1

Hmmm, where to start? Well, I'll just say this: I liked 2007. Quite a bit actually. Aside from a few downers (panic attacks, the KG trade, the 35W bridge collapse, the passing of Mittens the cat), 2007, was for the most part, really good to me. Of course I "lost" a few peeps to new bf/gfs, marriage, new jobs, new locations, growing up, and mental illness. (Relax, it's all in good fun.) I aint mad at nobody though. People are people and they do what they gotta do. Besides, true friends will always come around again anyway. I thoroughly embrace the fantastic life that is being a single man in his early 30's. (Believe me; it's waaaaaaaay better than you'd think.) I met some great new people that let me into their lives. In return, I gave them a small glimpse into mine. (Sorry, I'm a selfish and guarded man.) I also reconnected with some old acquaintances and built new, (hopefully) lasting relationships with them. For that, I am truly grateful. Ok, fuck this self-reflecting bullshit. Let's talk about some wicked-awesome stuff. Ladies and Gentlemen, without further adieu, I give you the very best "best of" list you will see this year:
~HotDogDays!!!~Best of 2007~!
(part 1)
...let the ellipses roll...in no particular order...

"Miami Rain" via virtualmatter
Uploaded by virtualmatter

...Concert-Prince's performance at the Superbowl. I couldn't tell you who won the game, let alone who even played, but I will never forget the halftime show. I didn't make it to any of Prince's 3 concerts in 24 hours, this summer, here in the TC. Not without trying though. I cut in line for the First Avenue one, but as I got closer to the front, was kicked out, thanks to some vigilant folks that had been waiting since the night before. I didn't put up a fight. In fact I probably still could have gotten in, even if I went to the back of the line. However, I felt so shitty about trying to cut in on people (and getting caught,) that I made myself go home. Anyway, the halftime show was so good, Prince ran a commercial during the Grammys, thanking everyone for watching it. How weird slash cool is that?..CD-Representing Seattle and Oldominon: Greyskul's second Rhymesayers release Bloody Radio. Still rockin' it on the regular...Movie-Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. Opening the film with a shot of a butt-naked, fat Philip Seymour Hoffman doggy-styling Marisa Tomei is a nice touch. As are Tomei's pencil eraser nipples. I went with my mom. A little uncomfortable. But nowhere near the time we went to a play together that was acted out almost entirely in the nude with multiple simulated sex scenes. Anyway, this movie was dark, twisted, and uncomfortable and I liked it. Plus, who knew Ethan Hawke could still act?...Movie-Blades of Glory. A Will Ferrell composite character plus Napoleon Dynamite plus sequined figure skating outfits equals good comedy. I'm not sure if the two girls I went with were laughing at the movie or laughing at me, laughing at the movie?...Bar-The Cedar Inn. Yes, I put a bar on the "best of" list. This south Mpls place is a little jem. Checkerboard racing flags are used as table cloths and pictures of bikers and their Harleys line the walls. Beer is super cheap and the staff is so trusting that sometimes you may have to remind them that you have a tab at the end of the night. And the regulars; oh man. There is the foul mouthed daughter of the owner, the heavily bearded, poopy smelling man in a conductors hat that only comes in an hour before close, and the guy who claims he's not a racist but always refers to non white people as "the blacks." The coolest guy I've met there is a gentlemen whose last name is Kraft. He and his wife bought me and my friend a couple beers before showing us his tattoo. It's the Kraft cheese logo on his bicep! That so rules!...to be continued...


Midnight Service...

..and I'm glad I was there.

Austin TX~Epilogue. Thankfully all the travel to and from went fairly smooth and was not horrendously long. The accommodations at my sisters place made for some great comedy over the weekend. (Especially the air mattress. On our final night it was losing air at record speed. We were up once an hour. At one point, Jason got up to find the hole, which wasn't hard, while I milled about looking for some sort of tape. No suck luck. Jason, brilliant dude that he is, chewed a piece of gum and placed it over the hole. That saved us for a couple more hours.) Anyway, that being said, I can't stress enough how very thankful I am that my sister gave us a place to stay. Her hospitality is very much appreciated. She also let us use her bikes. Not having to rely on other people for rides and cruising through town in beautiful weather was boss hog fantastic. I was pretty impressed by the fest as well. Having seen the Murder City Devils several times before they called it quits and at last years Seattle reunion, I can say that these two shows were among the best. On top of it all, I got to see family I hadn't seen in a couple years. Nice!

I didn't pull out the camera as much as I had hoped, but here is some thee.ography from the trip:

On our way-light rail

My sister's place.


late night bike riding...and posing.

This is the gecko that comes to visit my sister.

Austin graffilthy

We kept seeing this dude everywhere. Jason referred to him as Juan Valdez. The guy with the baby is the one that jumped onstage during the Angry Samoans.

There was actually another gentleman wearing this shirt too, but we couldn't track him down for a 3way dance.

dead soldiers at the Mohawk.

end notes:
I didn't take any pics of the bands. (Not good ones anyway.) You can find plenty on the comments section of the MCD's MySpace page. Some videos are up here.

After doing a little research I found out the tall, bearded, pork-pie hat wearing, Kim Thayil looking photographer was hired by the organizer to take shots for the fest. His name is Houshang.

The other bearded man; the one that was irritating me because he was on stage, throwing his arm around everyone in the bands and singing along is this fellow. I'm not really mad at him anymore. He was just having a good time.

A lot of people traveled to see these shows. In the Austin airport, on our way home, we saw many, many, many peeps that were at both the fest and the Mohawk. Including the Murder City Devils themselves. Bass player Derek was in line to get himself a sandwich. I found this funny because I know he does a food blog...or used to anyway.

geek alert~to the best of my knowledge, these were the setlists:
the Mohawk
idle hands
rum to whiskey
bear away
i drink the wine
dancin' shoes
bride of the elephant man
one vision of may
someone else's baby
press gang
mutter museum
dancehall music
18 wheels
murder city riot
broken glass
i want a lot now

FunFunFun Fest
dancehall music
idle hands
in my heart
bear away
drink the wine
bride of the elephant man
dancin' shoes
rum to whiskey
dear hearts
somebody else's baby
left hand right hand
press gang
murder city riot
midnight service
18 wheels
broken glass
i want a lot
one vision of may
fields of fire


We make a choice. We make it every day...

...To get up in the morning. To bear away.

We don't really have a choice today. The (not so) trusty double decker air mattress Jason and I have been sharing has sprung a leak. This requires us to get up about once every hour and half to "top it off." The comedy of it all is keeping us going. Insentient giggling every time we wake up and fire up the pump. Immediate release of my bowels is not quite the necessity it was yesterday so I am able to ignore the fact that my back is touching the floor and sleep through it. Jason however, may or may not have had to take a plastic bag and napkins and head out back. I vaguely remember him muttering something about "all this Mexican food" and asking for the key to the shed. Eventually we get up and shower, after my sister takes off for the day. My brother and his girlfriend pick us up and we head back to the same place for breakfast as yesterday. Weird. After some fajitas, its off to Waterloo Park for the second day of Fun Fest. I think we're moving even a little slower today than we were yesterday. We get to the stage near the end (thankfully) of Complete Control's set. Pretty generic punk rock. CH3 is next. More of the same. I love punk but I'm pretty much over this kind of stuff. Seems to be a whole bunch of the same people here from yesterday and from last nights MCD show too. We go over to the quirky hip-hop and indie dance rock stage. People are bugging out to some DJ. Great place to people watch. There is a dude with long curly hair and really short shorts on. He's wearing a hot pink shirt that says Pool Boy on it. He's doing some really strange hippie dance. Funny. There is a vendor here selling old western shirts that have been embroidered with new designs. My favorite is a shirt with, on one side, a baseball player taking a big swing, and on the other side, another baseball player getting his head decapitated by the ball. Back at the punk/metal stage The Saints are on. I think they were supposed to be punk but its more like blues and classic rock. Not good. Old timers Youth Brigade finally come on. Other than the movie Another State of Mind, I have never seen them. I am quite impressed. I probably wouldn't go see these guys if they were headlining their own tour but I respect them for staying in the game so long and sticking to their guns. A band both Jason and I have been very excited to see plays next. Poison Idea from Portland, OR. I have the album from '86; King of Punk. Everybody knows these guys were a bunch of fat-asses. Truthfully only one of them is, these days. Original guitarist Pig Champion is dead, so that leaves just lead vocalist, Jerry A as the resident heavy weight. This fest is chock full of these old fucking bands. Again, I'm not sure how many guys here are original members. They kind of get off to a slow start but definitely pick it up fast. Jerry A seems to be having a pretty good time. He says several times that he has the ghost of Bill Hicks inside him. He must have the set list in his pocket because he keeps pulling out a crumpled piece of paper and looking at it between songs. Not the best band in the world to look at but they definitely rock it, hardstyle. Man, that was sweet. River Boat Gamblers are up now. No thanks. Time to take a breather and do some more people watching. Fucking Skeletonwitch shirts all over the place again. Fair amount of skinheads again as well. That tall bearded photographer is everywhere too. Saw him last night at the Mohawk too. Lots of gorgeous girls here in Texas. I recall that being the case last time I was here a couple years ago. Nice to see that hasn't changed. We grab slices of pizza and head back to the stage. I am curious to see what Lifetime is like. All I ever hear about these guys is that they are pioneers in the melodic emocore genre or whatever. Well, at least I can say I saw them now. That's about it. I may have enjoyed this in the 90s. Maybe. Not now. Kids love 'em though. I'll take Jawbreaker if I'm in the mood for this kinda stuff. Against Me! is coming up. Although I'm afraid to tell Jason, for fear of being called a pussy, I admit I am looking forward to seeing them. I have seen Against Me! a few years ago on the Warped Tour. I remember thinking at that time, not knowing anything about them, that I felt like I had missed out on something. The energy on stage was over the top and the kids were rabid for them. Still it never occurred to me to go out and get any of their stuff. Lately all I seem to hear about them is that their hardcore fans are claiming sell-out and slashing their tires at tour stops and stuff. There is also the story of band leader Tom Gabel's violent attack of a former fan or something. Whatever, I'm not really worried about all that shit. I've heard the new album and I didn't think it was all that bad as far as melodic punk goes. Dang man, these dudes really have a ton of energy and they are all screaming at the top of their lungs. Tom has a really strong voice and its translating well from the stage. Everyone is jumping on stage and tons of people are singing along. There are a lot of people (old fans probably) that are clearly trying to act like they aren't into it. Funny. Stage hands are literally pushing kids off the stage. Good fuckin' show. I'm gonna check the public library when I get back to Mpls and see if I cant play a little catch up on these guys. I gotta mention this one dude. He's this big bellied, bearded man that has been on the side of the stage all day, as he is now. He's been obnoxiously singing along to all the bands and its fucking distracting me. I can't stand guys like this that think they're part of the show. Dude, I realize you're having a good time and you want us to know it, but shit man, you're fucking irritating as hell! Excitement in the air now. Murder City Devils are up next. They are going to blow this place up. Good time to grab some beers. Wouldn't seem right any other way. They open up with Dancehall and then on to Idle hands. My initial reaction is that they, like all of us that were there, are a little slower to start than last night. Doesn't take long though, and they are again on fire. At one point I actually say, out loud, "Holy fuckin shit!" Spencer seems a little speechless for a moment; repeating "This is nice, this is nice" over a few times. Later he jokes "I saw Against Me! and I decided to grow a beard." That makes me laugh. People are stage diving and dancing on stage. Gabe is making sure everyone is ok. Spencer gets a construction hard hat from someone in the audience, promising he will give it back. He wears it during 18 Wheels. Gabe does a stage dive during the last song. After a complete set they leave the stage. I am totally satisfied at this point. Considering they played about the same number as last night, I'm guessing that they don't know anymore songs anyway. The audience however, isn't taking no for an answer. Leslie and Spencer come out to explain to us that they don't know anymore songs. They decide that maybe they will play Idle Hands again. This is very comical. The banter between these two and us is ridiculous. They clearly don't know what to do but the crowd keeps demanding more. Finally the rest of the band joins them on stage and they huddle up quick for a discussion. It started off a little rocky but they pulled out One Vision Of May and Fields Of Fire. Fucking amazing! I am worn out. Thank you! Later we took the bikes back down town and had ceremonious final drinks at Emo's. What a weekend.


I dont know what city we're in...

...but there's nowhere we'd rather be.

Actually we are in Austin, TX. I've just sorta twisted a Murder City Devils lyric, as I have been in the titles of the last couple posts, to describe what we've been up to. Saturday morning (11/3). Jason and I wake up, fully clothed, laughing at the absurdity of us sharing an air mattress. It's lost some air over night and now has a water bed effect going on; when one of us moves so does the other. We both have to relieve ourselves, so to speak, of last nights alcohol and taco fest. The problem is the only bathroom in this place is up in my sisters bedroom and there is no door on it. On top of that, she's got two other girls in bed with her. Wow, what happened last night? Lucky woman. So Jason and I grab bikes and head out in search of bathrooms. He picks a restaurant, I choose a gas station and we do the deed. Feeling better we head back. The girls all wake up and its breakfast time. My sister lives in a predominately Hispanic neighborhood (east side, I think?), so Mexican food is the option. No problem with that. Tacos, fajitas, huevos rancheros. Jump back on the bicycles and head downtown, towards the Fest. It's in the mid 80's and we are loving Texas. After some confusion about our tickets and re-entry and stuff, we are in front of the stage just in time for Saviours. I'd been waiting to see these guys for awhile now. Good set. Viva Hate is next and we viva hate them. Lame-ass punk rock. Not really into Witchcraft either. Swedish version of a modern day Black Sabbath. Sounds (and looks) a little too much like classic rock for me. Not sure if Modern Life Is War played out of order or isn't here or what, but we miss them either way. I'm bummed. Madball is on now. Classic New York tuff guy hardcore. Jason and I joke around. "Meet me in the weight room. Put on a couple 45 plates." It's not really my thing anymore but I do have a few Madball discs from a few years back so I am glad to get to see them play live. Kids in the pit are doing that wacky hardcore karate style dance. Some people are taking legitimate hardway shots to the face. No fights. Funny. We go walking around the rest of the fest and finally run into my brother and his girlfriend. We catch up for awhile and then they split to see some of the bands on the indie rock stages. There are a noticeable number of skinheads (or at least guys dressed like skinheads) here. I get back to the punk/metal stages in time to catch half of the Battalion Of Saints set. George Anthony, the lead singer, is the only original member of the band and you can tell. Classic, old school California thrashy punk. I like it. George is ridiculous. People are yelling at him about being old and how much he sucks and he is feeding off of it telling us how he should have died by now. Humorous. Everywhere I look someone is wearing a Skeletonwitch tshirt. I started noticing this back in Minnesota a couple weeks ago. Anyway, Sick Of It All up now. One of my favorite hardcore bands of all time. I know bands like this should probably stop after 3 or 4 albums but hell, they usually still put on a great live show. This is no exception. More wacky dancing (by both the pit and guitar player Pete.) Some dude wearing a Hawaiian shirt, jumps on stage and almost knocks over lead singer Lou. He jokes "I just got tackled by Jimmy Buffet's road crew." We both think this is hilarious. SOIA play a long set and as always, make sure the audience has a good time. At 21 years in the game as well as being one of the originators of NYHC, SOIA always puts a smile on my face. Jason thinks they are goofy. We walk around some more and look at merch. Nothing really exceptional. However, the Angry Samoans stuff is pretty cool because most of it is printed on recycled clothing. I buy a tshirt for 7 bucks. Speaking of the Angry Samoans (different link); they are on now! Not sure how many of these guys are the original members? Maybe all of them? Whatevs. They are pretty deec. More classic California punk rock. They also cover some songs by their contemporaries from the early 80s. Sloppy at times. Before they go into My Old Man Is A Fatso, they ask kids to come on stage and tell everyone why they hate their dads. The last actual kid to go, says he loves his dad because he bought him his first guitar. He gets booed, sarcastic style. The final dude is not a kid but has one with him. As in, he is a grown man with a baby in one of those little human sling things. He says "Well, since my son can't speak yet, I'll go for him." Then proceeds "My dad is the coolest because he brought me to my first ever Angry Samoans show." The crowd pops. This is awesome. I've been seeing this very tall man with a beard and a porkpie hat walking around taking photos all day. He looks like Kim Thayil from Soundgarden. I must admit I'm intrigued. Finally the band Jason has been waiting all day for is up. The Sword, from right here in Austin, TX. I am quite impressed. I'd seen them before but hadn't really paid attention. I am now because we are standing right in front of the stage. Fuckin' rock! Gotta hand it to them tonight. Good stuff. Some may consider it sacrilegious but we choose to bounce out of the fest before Neurosis comes on. We came to Austin for a reason. That reason is the band that's playing a club show up the street and we need to get in! Yup, the Murder City Devils announced this morning that they will have a show tonight at The Mohawk. We were not expecting to see them until tomorrow night at the fest. This show however, is not to be missed. Looks like a long line but I am optimistic and convince Jason that we should at least try. We lock up the bikes and jump in. I start chatting with a cute girl in front of us because she appears to be alone. She is. She is originally from Austin but now lives in NYC. She is also in town for the MCD reunion. She has no idea if we will get in or not because she has never been in this club. People are starting to jump in line in front of us and everybody is getting pissy. Jason, the NYC girl, and I are forming a pact with the group of dudes behind us that we will "blood bath" all the line cutters before we let them get in the door. After an hour, it turns out we all get in anyway...barley. Still, should I come across one of those fuckers later, I'll let 'em know. We hit the bar immediately. Neither of us have had a drop of alcohol all day so we are more than ready. Jason with the Stoli Sevens, me with the Lone Stars. This place is packed and there is excitement in the air. We run into NYC Girl again who has found herself a Lone Star as well. She shows me her forearm tattoo. Its a bottle of LS with a yellow rose and says Texas Is The Reason. Not sure if that's about the band by the same name or her allegiance to Texas? Either way, I admit, I'm a little disappointed and I no longer see her in the same way I did when we were in line with her. Eventually, after many drinks, it is time for the Murder City Devils to hit the stage. And hit it they do. In fact as soon as the first chord is struck, the whole lower area, where we are, thrusts forward. The speakers and monitors almost fall off the stage. Gabe the roadie spends the rest of the set trying to hold them in place. They open with Idle Hands, which is appropriate considering the numerous times Austin is mentioned and stuff. Beer is flying in the air and people are hanging from the balconies. This doesn't really slow down once during the duration of their set. These guys are on fire tonight! I've seen the MCD play a hadfull and half of times and this is among the best. Spencer is on tonight. Great stage banter. At one point he calls out some dude. "There is a big tall asshole here tonight that says he is gonna kick Gabe's ass." He goes on to explain that Gabe has saved his butt many times and that this dude better look to kick his ass instead. "I like to do a lot of things by myself. Tomorrow morning, I'm going to be walking around Austin, looking for a real Mexican breakfast. I will be alone. YOU BETTER FIND ME AND KICK MY ASS, MOTHERFUCKER!" Then they tear into another number. Later he dedicates a song to "skinheads that grow their hair out to cover up swastikas then start combing it into a pompadour and act like greasers." Hmmmm, wonder if this has any connection to the guy that's gonna beat up Gabe? This is a fantastic fucking show. They play forever, including an immediate encore that lasts three songs. "This is the part of the set list where there is a line drawn with three songs listed after it. We're just gonna keep playing through that line." When its all said and done we are so hyped at what we've just seen and the bike ride back is effortless. We stop at the taco shack again. Exhaustion sets in, so we go pass out. What a day!


Fun Fun Fun Fest...

..has worn, worn, worn me out. I cant go to in depth now because I need some down time to process everything. Angry Samoans, Battalion of Saints, Saviours, Madball, Sick Of It All, the Sword, Poison Idea, Against Me!, Murder City Devils (twice!) and many more. We ate a whole kit-n-caboodle of tacos, drank much booze, bicycled everywhere and rocked out with our (not so) huge cocks out. It's Monday morning and I'm having the last Tecate of the weekend. Minneapolis, MN; we're coming home...


one day on the road...

..and we're already wrecked.

Jason and I. Take bus from LeChatNoir to light rail. Take light rail to airport. Some confusion as to what tram goes where. Stoners. Take tram to terminal. There is a super hot chick standing next to us. Jason notices that she has a small piece of white string stuck to the back of her black pants. Take plane to Denver. The girl sitting next to me may or may not be an idiot savant. She's listening to her music and doing weird math equations on napkins. Sometimes giggles to herself. There are tv screens on the back of the seats in front of us, displaying the elevation and speeds at which the plane is traveling. She keeps pointing at the numbers every time something changes and giggles some more. Strange. Cowboy Bar, Denver airport. Coors Lights and Stoli Sevens. Waiting for our next flight. Hot chick from Mpls is going to be on this flight too. Jason becomes quite frustrated when he sees she still has the same small white string on the back of her black pants. He considers telling her about it but we decide it would be more entertaining to see if the small white string makes it to Austin, still stuck to the back of her black pants. Take plane to Austin. We're now in Texas and we can tell. When Jason is in the bathroom I spot the hot chick from Mpls. She still has the small white string stuck to the back of her black pants. She is fantastically hot, but this string has become an annoyance at this point. I tell Jason about it while she is in the bathroom and he decides that if its still there after her ladies room visit, that he must tell her. She comes out and of course the small white string is still stuck to the back of her black pants. We do a semi-stalking move and round back so that we will be approaching her from behind. Jason goes in. "Ahhh, excuse me." She is quite receptive and has a huge smile when she asks whats up. Jason continues. "You've had this really small white string on the back of your black pants for awhile now and its really starting to irritate me. It's been there since Minneapolis." She has a humongous smile now and says he should of told her earlier. "How embarrassing." Then she turns her butt to him in a semi-strippersque move and asks "Do I have anything else on my ass?" We walk next to her for a while. I can't stop giggling. fast forward a few hours. My sister and her rad friends take us to get tacos. Mmmmhmmmm muy bueno. Then its off to a super hipster place called the Peacock. We all make fun of the DJs and the scenesters. "Ironic 80's music isnt so ironic anymore. Ironic mullets aren't so ironic anymore either." There seems to be some kind of drama between my sister's friends and a member of the Latin Queens. The chick keeps showing us her LQ tattoo to itimidate us. I pretend I don't know whats going on so I don't have to deal with it. The DJ girl, dressed like Wilma Flinstone, keeps staring at me so I decide to go talk to her. I ixnay that plan mid aproach when I realize she has a Tammy Faye type make-up job that I didnt notice from a distance. Negro Modelo, Lone Star, Stoli Seven, some strange drink called a Tail-feather, various shots. We all get really, really hammered. More tacos. Bed.


Serpents Por Manos: Chicago-Day 2

Saturday I wake up around 8am when Joe gets up to go to work. I think I started napping somewhere neighboring 3:30 am. I try to sleep as long as I can but my raging piss-boner forces me out of bed. After relieving myself of last nights beer and pizza, I take my time lounging around, trying to watch cartoons, thinking that will cause me to drowse some more. No such luck. Awww fuck it, four and a half hours sleep should be good right? Joe has left me a couple love letters telling me not to cum on things, which buses to take and demanding I eat some breakfast. So I do. Blueberry crunch and soy milk. Mmmmmm yummy. After a shower, I explore his neighborhood which seems to be primarily Hispanic and jump on the bus to Lincoln Park. It’s hot as a fuck and I’m wearing the tightest pair of jeans I own. Swass commence. I wonder aimlessly around, realizing I must be near a college campus. Yup, DePaul. I think Bobby Hurley’s brother Danny played ball here in the 90’s. I eventually find myself some lunch at a place called the Hoagie Hut or something. I get the special. Two Chicago Dogs, fries and drink for 5 bucks. Hold the relish. Not a bad spot to do some people watching except just about everybody looks the same. College “dudes” wearing cargo shorts and polo shirts (They must not know I declared cargo shorts dead this year) and alumni jocks with Dockers and polo shirts. At least most of the women are somewhat scantly clad and if not, at least have a fashion sense. Nobody seems to know where a cool record store is or even where any record stores are. Perhaps there just aren’t any in Lincoln Park. It’s so uncomfortably hot but I know where it will be quite a bit cooler. After getting pointed in the opposite direction two different times, I make my way to the shore of Lake Michigan. (I found that overall, in my experience, very few people in Chicago know where anything is and/or have a really poor sense of direction. Broad generalization, I know but I’m just going on my own personal experience.) Yes, breeze. I’ve been walking for what seems like a fortnight at this point, so I collapse in the grass, under a tree and pass out for awhile, listening to the waves tickling the rock shoreline. After what feels like an hour but is probably only 15 minutes, I awake to a humorous text message from a friend back home, asking how the first night of Apocolypticrust went. (I tell her it was a good idea she talked me out of bringing my blade.) I am totally rejuvenated now and head back, stopping first at Urban Outfitters to purchase a hipster scarf and a new hat from the discount bins. Joe and I arrive back at his place about the same time. Thankfully he turns on the ac. A brief round of conversation in between showers and he’s off to dinner and a gallery opening. Such a jet setter, that man is. I don’t have anything better to do, so I head out early for the fest. It’s fina be a long night again. The bus pretty much takes the same route I would have biked. Dang man, I wish…anyway. Same scene as last night. Tons of people boozing in the parking lot. It’s like two separate events. The fest inside and the gigantic beer party outside. In fact, I noticed that many of the parking lot partiers never, not even once, make it into the show. The bouncers are way over the top tonight. I get searched twice before I even make it in. They could give a shit less about the parking lot of minors a few feet away, wasted out of their minds but once you try to come through that door they turn into Nazis. Ridiculous. There only seems to be only a slight mix-up in schedule tonight. One of the bands that were supposed to play last night is on now…maybe? Other than that, I think I got it. I call a cab several hours ahead of time, asking to be picked up by 1:30am. I don’t really need to see the last band Behind Enemy Lines. Seen ‘em recently and live, the lead vocalist pretty much irritates me anyway. (I don't mind them on record though.) Cab lady recognizes me from last night. “Is that you Mr. O’Brien? So you went down to that neighborhood again huh?” She promises me a driver will be on time tonight. I skip out for awhile and go looking for some food. So much Mexican food to choose from, including street vendors. Aaarghh, how do I decide? As if making decisions wasn’t already hard enough for me. At least I have it narrowed down. It’s fina be Mexican. I finally settle on a place. I am the only pale skin fellow in the entire place. Looks like all the girls are fighting over who gets to take my order. Typical. I’m used to it. I eat some superb grub, careful not use too much hot sauce. (There seems to be no place around here to comfortably drop the bomb.) Back at the show Rioutous hits the stage. Holy shit, these cats are good. After them is Tierra De Nadie. I have seen De Nadie before and have a 7inch so I am looking forward to them. They do not disappoint. I’m wearing ear plugs but my head is a little rattled. Plus smoking is still allowed in Chicago and that’s starting to piss me off. Therefore I take a breather during Wartorn. I’ve seen them before and for whatever reason, I’m not really into it tonight. Outside I am approached by two gals that “want to meet new people.” Turns out they traveled from somewhere in Michigan. One is extra excited to hear I’m from Minneapolis. She has never been there. The other seems bored and leaves without saying anything. As far as making new friends goes, I’m batting .500 and not even working at it. Imagine if I applied myself. Someone hire me asap. I head back in because Appalachian Terror Unit is coming up and they are not to be missed. Hell fuckin’ right! These guys kick my ass hard. Crowd loves ‘em too. A band I have been looking forward to all weekend comes on next; Coaccion from Tijuana, Mexico. Considering the context of this particular fest, I have a pretty good idea what they may be like but I’m still excited. Dang man, they are nice! I am very impressed as are most people here. I buy a t-shirt and a 7-inch. I have no idea how the Spanish from their merch translates. Hopefully it means something like “White people suck” or “Americans that buy our shit without knowing Spanish are gay.” All Systems Fail are about to go on and its 5 minutes past the time my cab was supposed to be here. I call and they lady tells me “We don’t control the drivers. They control us…and none of them want go down there right now. Sorry Mr. O’Brien” I tell her to please keep trying. Like last night, I call another cab, to better my chances of getting out of here before the Latin Kings start roaming around looking for white dudes to fuck with. All Systems Fail is really good but I can’t fully enjoy them due to nervousness about the cab situation. Several phone calls to both companies and still nothing. I end up seeing Behind Enemy Lines after all. Finally a cab arrives. Just in time again. 20 bucks again. Awww, fuck it. Back at Joe’s, right on schedule. Pass out.


Dagas Por Palabras: Chicago-Day 1

Well as promised (at least to myself), this past weekend was much different than the one previous. Friday I hopped on the MegaBus to Chicago. (My virgin MegaBus experience has provided me with enough material to write a scathing yet comedic novel. Let’s just say, I will think long and hard before I put myself through that hell again. The price is right, but man…ok, another time.) 8 hours later I arrived in downtown at Union Station. I couldn’t have been happier to have finally get off the bus and was anxious and somewhat nervous to see what lay ahead of me. The purpose of my trip to Chicago was a crust-punk festival called Apocolypticrust. Since the fest ran from 7pm to 2am each night, I wasn’t necessarily in a hurry to get there. I jumped on the blue line and made my way to Logan Square, where I met my homie Joe and two of his friends at a hipster joint. We threw back a few beers and conversed freely. A wide range of topics were covered. Those included but were not limited to: art, public transportation, pretentious food, and my favorite: the difficult task of achieving orgasm from a blow job. Joe said it best. “Okay, start by taking a muscle relaxer and plan on being down there for an hour or so. Hey, it takes a lot of work on both ends.” Indeed, it does. Quick stop at Joe’s place for a tour and I was off to the fest. His buddy was able to give me a ride which was nice, seeing as how I knew nothing about the neighborhood I was going into. My original plan was to bring my bike and get around that way but MegaBus allows no such thing. We found the place fairly easy. It is pretty much a straight 6 mile shot south of Joe’s place. I smiled as we pulled up and I recognized many faces from the TC. Since I was going Han Solo to this event it was relieving to have fellow Minneappletons around. Nobody that I know, of course, but people I could probably go to if I got in a jam. Some hardcore band was on when I walked in. They were asking “Who wants to sing?” and handing the mic around. Nice! I promptly ordered a Negro Modelo and a slice of pizza. This first night is sort of a blur. I was fairly road weary and there seemed to be no order as to which bands were playing. I tried to follow along on my set list sheet but it didn’t quite match up. Plus none of the bands introduced themselves. I was able to finally figure out some of it. Protestant from Milwaukee was rad. I’d like to see them again. I know I saw Catheter (Denver) and Wojczech (Germany) but I just don't know which was which. There was some major drama involving bouncers taking knives from people and not giving them back or giving back the wrong ones. I was thankful I hadn’t brought one. (Taking the advice of a friend, I left my blade back in MN.) Fuck it, I was tired and called for a cab. Two hours later, after several calls to two cab companies and just as I was about to ask strangers for help, a cab arrived. Wheew, just in time. I was told by the driver that “We don’t like to come over here if we don’t have to, so your call wasn’t necessarily a priority. I was actually hoping you’d find a different ride.” Great, between the bouncer telling me to “Watch out for Latin Kings” and this guy, I feel really good about being a white dude from out of state, standing on a corner in this neighborhood at 2:30 in the morning. On the ride back to Joe’s I saw many of the people that were at the fest, biking the same route we were taking. Dang. 20 dollars later I was missing Bubble-licious (my bike…It’s a color scheme thing) more than ever. Crashed hard and prepared to do it all over again the next day…