The Stage Bar Part 2

It was an impossible night for driving, but Fight Nice arrived intact for our first time playing the Stage Bar. We liked the place and we didn’t really expect any brave souls to get there to hear us. It took me 45 minutes to get 4 miles down Cicero, so the fabric of space/time was warped by snow that night. We were happy with the staff Amy, and Paul the soundman made us as welcome as possible. Since it was nobody night at the local saloon, we kicked into a set that Brian laid out. Ten songs worth with surprisingly raucous reactions from the other patrons and the entourage of Blackjack Sass (who has one hell of a good voice). The few people that were drinking off the shitstorm were fun and helped cheer us on. Brian and Dean played great, and it was really fun to rock out regardless of the conditions. It was a good experience all in all, and we did the best we could with a night that was cursed from the jump. We will get back there and play when possible, and it’s a great relief that Brian retrieved Dean’s Fight Nice documents folder. Thanks for the shots, Mike.

Stage Bar

MP Shows, a local promotion group, asked us to play this show. When we asked how they heard of us, they gave a vague response of “I keep my eye out for local bands,” which leads me to believe they cast a pretty wide net. Details overall were vague, but we are eager to play every show we can, so… onward.

January 20th ended up being perhaps the worst night of Chicago weather during which to play a show. It was snowing the whole evening, this picturesquely beautiful powder which turned into awfully slick slimy shit under the car tires. I, who cannot be late if I try, and was only driving across a couple neighborhoods, was half an hour late. Tim and Brian took over 2 hours to drive down, Brian on the side roads, and Tim on the shoulder of the parking lot known as I-94. The headliner had to cancel, and the other remaining band, Blackjack Sass, dismissed most of their members and went with a solo acoustic show.

Oddly, Blackjack Sass was not on the official lineup, apparently substituting for another band, unbeknownst to the promoter. But we were more than happy to share the bill and hang out with a great singer like her.

Not surprisingly, no one came out to the show, so we were all playing our hearts out for each other and the staff. It was somewhat informal, but we like to give it our best anyway. After Blackjack Sass opened, the promoter told us “maybe do a short 30 min set; they’re paying me and the staff to be here,” which we promptly ignored. If we spend 2 hours dodging car crashes getting to a place, several more hours sitting around and paying for drinks, not to mention untold hours of rehearsal, we’re damn well gonna play for the brief 45 minutes we planned for. Neither the promotion company or the bands are doing favors; it’s a business contract, informally or not, that we are both taking risks for and should fulfill as completely as we can. But hey, we all got a hug at the end and an invitation to play on a night with better weather, so I have good vibes for MP shows.

Stage Bar is not the complete dive I was expecting after reading all the Yelp reviews of its previous incarnation, Memories. It was dive-y, sure, but the staff was pleasant enough and respectful, the beer selection was good, we all felt safe and comfortable, and although the sound system wasn’t state-of-the-art, Paul the sound man was good-natured and helpful.

I unfortunately forgot my whole file full of Fight Nice documents on the bar, and have not been able to get in touch with the place yet, or even find a phone number for “Stage Bar” since it’s so new. I’ll have to take another trip over there to check if they have it.