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.