Rock Star Ironing
And the gods say back: "Bitch, you can go hungry." After the wine tasting, we'd ruled out Goose Island for food, and my foolish compatriots actually trusted me enough to take them to a tapas place that has long since been closed.
We continued on down Lincoln until we came to a convergence of choices: Martyrs (basically a bar with food), an Irish pub, and the woodsy, hunting lodge place advertising "EXOTIC MEATS." We decided to give it a go and realized that it was really nothing more than a sports bar that happened to have buffalo, ostrich, alligator, and boar on the menu. Nothing dazzling, but we did get to watch the Sox take a 5-run lead against the Twins, and they had tater tots! We had quite the B-team waitress (messed up our beers, food took forever, was pretty inattentive, etc.), and we were worried that we wouldn't get to the venue in good time.
This fear proved to be ill-founded, as the advertised start time proved to be the time the doors opened. We were there 45 minutes in advance of that. We were ushered into the bar area where there were no tables available, and the seventy billion TV screens were showing: the Michigan-Wisconsin game; 20/20 (or some other news magazine show); and the rebroadcast of the earlier Cubs game, which they'd lost. Yeah, we get the message: You're a long way from home, Southsiders.
Eventually, there was little to keep us inside, and we joined the short queue out in front. This placed us in prime position to peer into the band's bus, which was parked in front. Someone had neglected to pull the Rockstar blackout curtains at the front, and we spent a good long while watching Charlie (I think) ironing something with great care, skill, and precision. He even neatly boxed up the iron when he was done. In between our invasive and creepy Iron!Watch '05, we hailed the arrival of a cab full of young men in kilts.
The doors didn't end up opening until about 8:15, which was causing some restlessness among the natives. I hadn't been to Abbey Pub in probably 10 years and much of it was unfamiliar. There's an upstairs balcony with a very low ceiling. Saturday, tables had been set up along the perimeter, which seems like a good idea until you realize that there are roughly 4 seats in the entire upper level from which you can see the stage at all under those cirucmstances. We decided to hunker down up there through the duration of the opening act and then head to the main floor.
We enjoyed beer and curried chips a lot and "Deadman," the opening band, less. Well, actually one can't really say whether they were enjoyable or not, because Ogre from Revenge of the Nerds was manning (ogreing?) the soundboard, and we could hear very little. They've got a couple of CDs on Amazon. After listening to a few samples, I'm still not wowed.
At about 10, we settled up and made our way to the main floor. I had alerted Lothian that there was a waitress he should be watching out for: cute, short pleated skirt, knee-high boots. And that wasn't the half of it. Her waitress fu was quite mighty and we decided that she pretty much needs to be a Munchkin card.
The Reid boys happily had their own soundman, and though the Ogre showed signs of hovering and interfering, he seems to have prevailed. Charlie (I think) was having some problems with the bass being too high and kept gesturing for it to be notched down a bit. Bassists are required by law to be zen masters (e.g., see Derek Smalls), so this bothered him not at all.
They opened with a couple of things from the new CD, Restless Soul, then backtracked to a couple from The Story and Sunshine on Leith, including "On My Way" and "Letter from America." There may or may not have been a proposal during "Let's get Married" (a few times throughout the night, they pulled from a list of requests and dedicated the song). They seemed to stay away from Persevere for the most part, doing only "There's a Touch" and "One Too Many" from that, in contrast to six songs from SoL. I suppose, given that many of the songs are critical of American culture and politics, they were being polite, but we'd have been front and center during "Everybody's a Victim." Similarly, they did not do DIY, an anti-war song off the new CD.
The crowd was hopping throughout the whole show. However, there was a slight "TCOB. Now! No new crap!" element in that the large number of songs from Sunshine on Leith always got more enthusiasm and audience participation than newer or less familiar stuff. They're an incredibly fun band to watch (although they do look disturbingly like my Uncle Paul during his seminary days) from the twins to everyone else. The lead guitarist was amazing, particularly on dobro. In short, a grand time was had by all.