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.
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…