I made the arduous road trip to Chicago for Saturday's show at the Double
Door, and it was well worth the effort. Beforehand, I stopped at
Lorraine's Diner, a greasy spoon, for some grub. Never again. I asked
about their mashed potatoes, if they were real or boxed. The waitress
consulted with a greasy guy and told me they were canned. So I got the
veggie omelet instead, which had more grease than egg. I got to the venue
and found a spot to sit close to the stage for the warm-ups, The area
smelled like a combination of stale cigarette smoke and fetid urine, but
hey - that's all just rock and roll.
The opening act was Gabardine, from Chicago. They played somber,
melancholy, melodic music, similar to Low but with the gaps filled in very
beautifully; and featured an amply-bosomed cellist. Other oddities:
kazoo, tiny piano, xylophone, and a killer E-bow on guitar. Very good
music, but not meant for a bar loaded with clanking bottles and sorority
chatterboxes. They have an EP available and an album made, but no one has
picked them up yet.
Oddly (or perhaps predicably) enough, the crowd shut up for Nash Kato,
former Urge Overkill guy, who played an acoustic set. I concluded that I
must have different taste in music from all the svelte 23-year-old women
that were there, because they sure fawned over the guy's music while
hardly even opeing their ears for Gabardine, who I thought was far
superior.
Dean & Britta took the stage at 12:30, with Dean sporting his normal
attire and controlled bedhead. Britta wore a white blouse with ultratight
black pants and open-toed heels, and a just-rolled-out-of-bed hairdo.
Lara had pants that matched Britta's, which was nice. I couldn't see the
drummer much. Dean & Britta were both sleepy-eyed during those rare
moments they actually had their eyes open. They hit their stride
immediately on the opener, "Night Nurse", soaking the venue with a very
fresh sounding number that sounded a little different from the album
track. There were some other highlights, including Britta's lovely "Your
Baby" (except for the a-holes in the crowd wondering about the
pre-recorded bass), where she seemed to have an I-don't-care stance but
looked and sounded delicious; Moonshot (the best song of the night, with
Dean & Britta's harmonies giving me chills, as well as Dean's guitar at
the end); and Knives of Bavaria, where Britta succulently dished out what
appeared to be a pretty tricky melody from her bass. I thought it was
also nice to see Britta shrouded under blue light for the show, but more
attention to isolation of just her on her two main songs would have been
more poignant. The show was a quick hour and five minutes, but was full
of great music and only a couple disappointments (more of Dean's guitar
mastery would have been great).
Other stuff: Early on, someone from the crowd shouted, "Nice ladies,
Dean!" He smiled and said, "Yeah, an all-girl band." Someone also asked,
"What's up with Luna?", and Dean said they were practicing. There was the
ubiquitous, "I love you Britta!" a couple times too. After the show, they
stuck around to say hi, which was nice. I also met three other fans from
Omaha there, which was a nice surprise. When I returned to my car, I had
a memorable encounter with Chicago's finest, who just about hauled me away
in the paddywagon for attempting to urinate in a back alley. As it was,
they left me with nothing more than a "Have a nice night" and the
inability to pee for the next two hours.