Four people shot and wounded each other at Ultra Lounge, early in the morning hours of the day Fight Nice played. Our headliner that night, the great trip-hop/rock band 8mm, already had bad luck with this showcase: the singer for their local opening band, I:Scintilla, came down with a cruddy case of cold which zapped her voice, and I:S unfortunately had to cancel the day before the show. I:Scintilla are friends of mine, and I had already planned on going to the show, so despite my disappointment I volunteered Fight Nice when they asked if any band could fill in. It’s nice that Fight Nice is a small band that practices regularly. We are ready to play a show any time.
That morning, Brian forwarded a Chi Trib article about the shooting to us, with a simple but appropriate response from Tim: “What the hell?”. It was not clear whether the show would continue, or if Ultra Lounge would even be open. After scrambling for a bit amid some confusion, we got confirmation that the show must go on, and so we all piled in our cars and departed for the venue.
As I pulled up, the first thing I noticed was the cop cars parked around, and then the four or so cops inside the venue. I lingered on the sidewalk for a bit, pretending to make phone calls as I waited for someone musical or promoter-like to show up. To my surprise the first person to show up was Brian Graupner from The Gothsicles. He came to play that night in the middle performing group, The Dead Room. So we chatted for a bit, then entered the venue, which by this time was abuzz with band loading activity.
Ultra Lounge is divided into 2 areas. You enter the bar, which is separated from the side venue by a set of glass double doors. The atmosphere is comfortable, kind of a glowy dark thing, although there are no seats or bar stools in the venue area apart from one poofy bench in the back.
We went though setup and soundcheck without a hitch, and enjoyed meeting and conversing with the other musicians and staff. All was set for our opening set as I followed the guys onto stage. We stood ready as we looked to the sound man for the queue to start. And… stood staring for a bit longer. Finally we finally asked over the mic if we should start, which of course we should have. So a chuckle later and blammo, we did.
I’m sure my bass was too loud — it was a bit tricky since we couldn’t run the bass through the monitors — but we adjusted levels, broke some strings, retuned, and played though a rockin’ set. Our rock was a little out of place in the lineup, being followed by an electronic set, then a bluesy trip-hop/rock set, but we had a fun time playing, and would definitely play Ultra again.
We are filling in for our friends from I:Scintilla, due to their lead singer losing her voice. We’ll be opening for a great trip-hop band from LA…
8mm – www.facebook.com/8mmlovesyou
The Dead Room – www.facebook.com/TheDeadRoom
at Ultra Lounge
2169 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL
ELBO ROOM, Dec 16
If you can’t catch us tonight, see us at The Elbo Room on Sunday Dec 5 for a Rock/Alternative showcase. There will be drink specials and it’s industry night, so it’s free admission if you have an industry paystub or membership card.
See you there,
- If There’s a Love Here
- They Stuck It In Your Eye
- Sir Blanche Do Bois
- Don’t Make Me Show You
- Fake Smiles and Dishes Breaking
- Happy Valley Set
It’s early in the morning, late after our show in Oshkosh. But despite 6 hours of driving 340 miles, every second in the rain, I’m still amped on 5-hour Energy, so I’ve got a debriefing in the works here.
First off, thank you to the Living Statues for lining us up with the gig, and putting us in touch with Calvin from the Reeve Union’s Local Music Night, who treated us very well and had his shit well in hand. And give it up for TCFOF, for playing an entertaining set and lending us their drumset for the evening. Plus a special thanks to my bandmates for putting up with my iPod in the car; I know there’s some weird stuff on there.
We were very excited about this show from the beginning. We’ve always thought our music has great potential with a college crowd, who are open to exploring and discovering new music, claiming it as their own in a time of life when they are growing and defining themselves. Plus Tim and I have strong connections with the area, he having grown up near there, his sister went to UW Oshkosh, my sister went to Ripon, and I went to school up in Appleton.
After a speedy drive and minimal consternation around Milwaukee, we rolled easily into town and spotted the union, then drove seemingly to BumbleFuck getting to the rear entrance. But we loaded-in quickly, parked (after driving back from BF), and our equipment was onstage in no time. We met and chatted with the sound guys (everyone is so friendly!), then — boom boom boom — soundcheck goes so smooth it hardly even seemed to officially start. All the levels were good almost instantly. And we could play gloriously LOUD, yet the levels were so proper that as I listened to other band, the sound was still under control and energizing, rather than grating as in many other venues.
We had a blast playing, and were glad folks got into it. We received a couple new email signups (thanks!) but I think we really excelled in the sticker department. I’ve always suspected that a sticker that says “Fight Nice” is a pretty good meme, and damn, y’all almost cleared us out! Gotta call the sticker guy again. In return, we snagged a couple posters from the event, and whatever other swag from the union with our name on it that we could find
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