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.
- 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
click thumbnails to view large images
We had 3 shows in the last week. If we were marketing gurus, we’d call that a mini-tour. As a musician, I managed to send an email, practice my parts, and work on some new recordings. But the show themselves went great, characterized by us opening for some great bands.
The Melody Inn of Indianapolis is one of our favorite venues because it supports original music, and has a friendly crowd. We bumbled though our “soundcheck,” but got our levels and warmed into some rockin songs. The follow-up bands, Buster Eagle, and Human Lights, had mad skills and rockin riffs. There was supposed to be another Chicago band, but they were a no-show. Turns out they booked a Chicago show that night. Very bad form
We returned to Chicago and the Elbo Room, which is always a joy to play. Great sound and organization there. The surprise of the evening was the final band, which has a killer jazz ensemble with some hot soloists. I haven’t seen jazz that good in years.
I think The Red Line Tap sometimes gets an unfair rap. It ranks at one of my favorite places to play because the sound and soundman are excellent, and the staff has been friendly to us. The only downside I see is their outdoor (but secure) gear area and loading situation out back. Otherwise, like I said, the sound is good, they keep the show running smoothly, good beer selection, and it has foot traffic, so enjoy!
We debuted a new song, Leavin’, at these shows, worked out the kinks, so we have a new rocker for you. We always have a different setlist, so come see something new at our next show.