Thursday, October 8, 2009

So Just How Far North Do You Wanna Go?

Thanks to the magic of YouTube and poorly synced audio/video, we’re going to have a bit of a history lesson to begin tonight’s post. See, as anyone who’s been paying attention knows, before Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers there were The Refreshments. These days I get to see them in fairly small venues that look absolutely nothing like the shows on this video: This, for the record, is one of the problems and advantages that comes from being a refugee from the ‘90s. I get to see my favorite bands in places that really have no business hosting them. The Peacemakers aren’t substantively different than The Refreshments. I mean, hell, they play Refreshments songs at their shows. Apparently, too, the early Peacemakers songs came to be at the tail end of The Refreshments’ reign. And Pay attention to that second one… Oh, and pay attention to this video. Apparently they put “Banditos” on to Guitar Hero 2. It looks like pretty much the most insanely difficult thing ever. Seriously, it would be easier to just learn how to play a damn guitar… So I got up on Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 with a long ass day ahead of me. I had five and a half hours of sleep under my belt, a full day of work, two 200 mile drives and one Peacemakers concert ahead of me. In general, though, things like that are totally worth it when I get to see things like this: I’ve never been to Appleton, Wisconsin, but it’s actually kind of a neat town. And Mill Creek was a pretty cool bar. I’d totally hang out there if it wasn’t a really, really long hike. Actually, I’ve had that traditional Chicagoan condescension towards Wisconsin for most of my life, but the last couple months have given me a lot of respect for various bits of the state. Madison’s sweet. There’s lots of cheese, which is one of my favorite animal by-products. The only real problem is that I officially hate Milwaukee for reasons that will become apparent eventually. Anyway, there was a local band playing when I first got there. They managed to pull off a cover of “Rain King” that sounded like nothing so much as Blues Traveler doing the Counting Crows. It was really quite majestic. The Peacemakers took the stage while I was busy buying three shots of Patron and a shot of Jack. I’ve never done the tradition purchasing of shots for the band, but Tuesday seemed like a good night for it. And there’s no better way to say I’ve accepted Jim Dalton than with a shot of whiskey… Anyway, here’s what I saw (complete with video where applicable!): I Know You Know I Don’t Need Another Thrill Americano Mexico Lemons Mercy Banditos Tell Yer Mama Maybe We Should Fall In Love Wanted Beautiful Disaster Tributary Otis Down Together Feelin’ (that’s what we call a rarity. Sadly, no video) City Girls Easy Counterclockwise Mekong I Do End Main Set, which was a touch surprising. I’d expected at least another song or two… Encore Green & Dumb Contraband Girly Yahoos and Triangles (this seems to be RCPM’s “Yellow Ledbetter” for the tour) Then they did something I haven’t seen before. A curtain call, wherein they played “Nada.” All in all it was a good show, especially for a Tuesday night at a small bar in the middle of Wisconsin. I actually have “Nada,” “Contraband,” “Tributary Otis,” “Mercy,” and about half of “Mexico” on video, too. But I haven’t YouTubed it yet. I hopped in my car at 11:45 expecting to get home at about 3:30. I was making great time until I hit Milwaukee and found out that they’d closed the ramp to eastbound I-94 from south I-894. Yeah, you heard me. I kind of missed the detour, so I ended up taking a jaunt through downtown Milwaukee, which is kind of dead at 2 am on a Wednesday (who knew?). Since I’d been planning on stopping for gas, anyway, I pulled in to a BP and proceeded to fill up using a gas pump that was missing the little lever to allow me to just set it and forget it. Somehow, though, I had the good sense to take my hand off the pump and step slightly away from the car right after I stopped pumping. I don’t know why I did this, but it saved my ass. Specifically from the backspray of gas that came shooting out of my car about three seconds after I finished filling up. That would have been a terrible, terrible way to start the last hundred miles. Anyway, I found my way back to I-94 east…just in time to find out they had shut down the entire interstate. Seriously. WHO THE FUCK DOES THAT? Fortunately it kicked me off at Layton, which means I could have made last call at Vnuk’s. More importantly, it means I knew exactly where I was. So I made my own detour (which was fortunate, since the detour signs disappeared after about two blocks), got back on the highway, and made my way out of town. All in all I lost about a half hour on my little adventure. And those last thirty miles or so down I-294 were terrible. Still, I’m already prepped for Rogtober, Part 3 in Madison on Saturday. The Everlasting Dave shall be joining me and I’m hoping Jessi Lynn and Sarah Peacock, who just so happen to be in town on Saturday, too, have a chance to take a few minutes out of their busy schedules to say hello. Either way, life is grand, love is real, and beauty is everywhere. Oh, and my life should be returning to some semblance of normality starting on Sunday. I’ve got a lot of stuff backed up in the ol’ brain box, so I should be doing a lot of writing. I’m planning on doing a series on the history of Chicago and how the city’s development created the infrastructure we see today. I’ve also got a bit based on a couple of photographs from the Crimean War that I’ve been sitting on for a couple of months. And I keep promising myself that one of these days I’ll get around to the follow-up to the Four Days in July posts. So I guess I’ve got a few things to blog about…

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