Fight Nice contributes two new tracks to Zen Dozer Records’ compilation album, Spring 2014, blending a college-radio sound with the concussive percussion and guitar of the best of early-90s alternative rock on Caught Near the End and Latest Report.
When asked to submit two songs to the latest Zen Dozer Records compilation album, we decided to record two new songs. We thought Latest Report would be an easy and catchy rocker, simple to record. And for the other we chose Caught Near The End, which has a complex arrangement that is beyond our live instrumentation, but could really come alive with some extra studio work. However, the work load we anticipated for each song was quite reversed.
We set up in the studio to record the two, focusing first on quality drums tracks with additional scratch parts. After finalizing and selecting the drum parts, we overdubbed the additional guitars, bass, and then vocals.
We started mixing Latest Report, and after several days and several mixes, we realized the parts we had recorded just could not capture the energy of playing it live. On the other hand, as we mixed and started adding vocal and guitar layers to Caught Near The End, it fell in place and quickly gelled into a great, balanced mix.
We scrapped everything we had for Latest Report (though the guitar solo happened to be stellar), and started over, this time in the rehearsal basement. Lugging all the extra mics and cords down there and using different equipment was a challenge, but the rehearsal energy we then captured was worth it. We added any overdubs the next night, then did vocals at a later studio session, trying some different takes. As we mixed, we added some additional background tracks, and ended up with an energetic, and rather unique and striking mix.
We think you’ll find some enjoyment listening to these two quite different tracks when the compilation is released.
To my surprise Township is near an el-stop with bustling neighborhood activity, and street parking right outside the venue. It is nicely laid out, with a divided restaurant/bar and venue, plenty of room, and a nice warm paintjob with artwork on the walls. It seems primed to be a great venue, and indeed I’ve been seeing it’s name crop up more and more.
As usual, I tried to be late, but still felt early, and met some of the friendly people working the door and sound. Set up was a breeze, and we sat back to enjoy the vocal and acoustic stylings of Jason Douglas Swearingen. After his heartfelt set, we took the stage and hit our first song with a big stride. We kept it up for a bit, but faltered after some equipment failure. I managed to capture my zen back after a bit, but I could tell that our group mojo wasn’t going to come back fully.
One must remember that the audience wants to be on your side, wants you to lead their good time. So even if things are going badly for you onstage, you can still keep up your cheer and lean on all for support. That aspect is not too different from rehearsal, but it’s hard to keep in mind on-stage, especially because that’s when you want to be on your “A” game.
The headliner, The Frankl Project, were on tour from Cincinatti and rocked their set. Nailed it. They are a good bunch of guys doing great music, and we were glad to share the stage with them, so check them out if you get a chance.
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,