My Saturday night plan was a little spotty. After spending the day doing things as various as laundry, watching movies, and guest-hosting KJHK‘s children’s program Little Red Radio, the general idea was to bounce between the Replay and the Jackpot, snapping photos and seeing friends. The Jackpot had a punk friendly show with anarchic bands that tended to scream a lot, and the Replay was featuring guest sets by several notable, long-since-gone local acts. Trouble was, I had no idea when anyone was going on, and both venues were a little packed. Since the show at the Jackpot was still getting set up when I walked by, the Replay was immediately determined as my initial destination.
Good choice. I walked in about two minutes before the Pedajets got started. I turned on the camera and started snapping, pausing every now and then to talk to my friend and former roommate Jason. The Pedaljets haven’t been back together but a year or so, and despite an absence of fifteen years, they sound fantastic. It’s power-pop of the variety that the midwest seems to do so well. Great set, and I hope to actually catch them playing more than six songs.
(Pedaljets pictures here)
Then I popped outside and chatted with various folks that I hadn’t seen in ages… I’ve been having trouble making it to shows lately. I can’t drink or smoke anymore thanks to a bout with pancreatitis a year ago, and hanging out at bars when no bands are playing is fucking BORING if you can’t drink or smoke. So, I try and find things to kill time until shortly before bands start playing, and I either get wrapped up in whatever show or movie I’m watching, the book I’m reading, or too tired from walking around. So, I don’t get to see some friends as often as I’d like.
The talking was over soon, tho’, as Lawrence-by-way-of-Chicago act Get Smart! was taking the stage. Well… not quite. Most importantly – no Lisa Wertman. Marc Koch did a great job, but fuck… I was hoping for more. The energy was fucking phenomenal, and the songs sounded great, but without Lisa, the band wasn’t what I was hoping for. I had gotten enough of it when I got a text message letting me know that the act of the night I really wanted to see had started.
(Get Smart! pictures here)
After geting the text, I bounced across the street to the Jackpot, quickly paid my five bucks, where Hairy Belafonte was getting it on. I’d missed them last summer at the Fucked Up show, and they have a tendency to play shows that are either on nights where I’m working the next day, or at places I refuse to venture because they’re filled with crusties. The Jackpot was, in fact, filled with crusties to the point where I made a vow to cockpunch the sonofabitch who started the “bathing isn’t punk rock” trend. Still, Hairy Belafonte was worth it for the three or four songs I managed to make it through. Screamy, spazzy fun that had as much dancing onstage as was on the floor. The songs were short, fun, and the band was dressed up like it was a party – which it was.
(Hairy Belafonte pictures here)
After about fifteen minutes, tho’, I couldn’t stand the reek, and hauled ass into the fresh air. Well, for about five minutes, then it was back into the Replay to see the Micronotz. Kind of underwhelming, really. The Micronotz (along with the Mortal Micronotz, their second incarnation) had done a reunion set a couple years back at the Embarassment reunion show. It was tighter, more fun, and considerably less underwhelming than this. Not bad, but not nearly with the energy level of two years ago.
(Micronotz pictures here)
I ended the evening by chatting up some friends, and then back to the Jackpot to finish the evening by seeing friends the Spook Lights. I realize I hadn’t seen them perform in nearly a year, if the last date on the phot page is to be believed. I got to hear some new tracks live, which was pretty fucking great. Rob was rocking it on the mic, Jet Boy wailed on the guitar, and their new drummer had the band sounding the best I’ve ever heard them. Kelly looked fucking spectacular, and her guitar work was far more confident than it had been, as well. Really, it capped a fantastic evening, and five great bands in the span of four hours is pretty much the best thing ever.
(Spook Lights pictures here)