A bit about that show at The Empty Bottle on the past Wednesday night.
I chug an Old Style to relax my nervous anticipation of a seeing a show alone. It's been a long time since I've done this; maybe The Phenoms (who've played in my basement when I lived on Foster/Paulina, lovely keggers), The Go, and Mooney Suzuki at the Double Door two (?) years ago. And that turned out amazing.
I show up to The Bottle around 10:30. The Detonations had gone on only recently. I'd made it more on time than I thought. I stood in the back smallish crowd, by the bar, and sipped another Old Style, enjoying their straight ahead, raw-sounding bluesy punk. They sounded stripped down, strummed bass driven rock.
Looking around, I notice there is enough ink on the bodies of the crowd to drown a small third world country. Many of the guys were skinny with tight t-shirts and short or shaved heads. Lots of black. The very odd majority of the ladies were short. One of them dressed all in black next to me smoked a cigarette, and out of the corner of my eye I could see, kept glancing over at me or to the door to the pool room. She stood with two girls dressed in white shirts and blue jeans who looked a little out of place, maybe suburbanish.
Then this one petite punk cutie in a leopard pattern skirt, black tank, black dog collar, and very cool spiky hair grazes me on her way to the front. I watch her sexy swagger and sigh. I am in the right place. No North Shore plastic blondes here. Suicide Girls kick a Victoria's Secret model's ass any day of the week.
The Detonation ends, so I head to the back of the bar for beer and a seat. Got the beer, but no seat, so I lean against the piano and people watch.
A couple has snuck beer into the bar, and open them up near me. She's a red-head wearing a black T-shirt with a skull on it, and he sort of looks like Choire Sicha (but wasn't). They drink a bit, and then engage in the longest barroom lip-lock ever. I have to turn away for many reasons.
The Baseball Furies start up. They remind me a little of The Stooges with a little Stiv Bator (I think) thrown in. They're good, I'd see them again. As I stand a little closer to the stage now (God Bless Liquid Courage!), a short fat bitch plows into me on her way to the bar. I glance back and down a glare, but she's already lost in the, now bigger, crowd.
I go to get another beer. I slid into a spot on the bar, and wouldn't you know it, the short fatty is leaning against the bar next to me, talking to a faux-hawked blonde guy. I hear the hott blackhaired bartender (how many years have I drooled over this woman?) shout at the guy while pointing to fat chick "I'm not serving her! You can get a drink, but I am NOT serving HER!"
HA! There's karma for ya.
The crowd is getting bigger for the upcoming The Spits. I fall in love/lust many a time more as I survey the people assembled. They're laughing and traveling group to group, beers and cigarettes passing back and forth. I suddenly get an out-of-body feeling. It feels as if I am viewing hundreds of scenes from my past. These people play talk laugh drink just like friends and I did a thousand nights ago a thousand nights in a row. I could be looking at a show at The Union in the '90s, or here at The Empty Bottle in 1995-1998. I expect L.C. to walk out of the bathroom and ask for a vodka/cranberry. Or J.B. wanting to know if I wanted to "go for a walk," before the band starts.
I'm leaning on the wall, sipping my drink when the petite spiky-haired cutie in leopard skirt leans against the wall right in front of me. I stare at her hair for a will and her tiny delicate white chin, and say "oh, why not." I tap her arm, lean forward and compliment her hair, fully expecting to hear, "piss off, old man!" But, no! She turns all the way toward me, thanks. Cool, I think, figuring that'd be the end of it, but she asks me if I'd ever seen The Spits before. I say no, and she starts to tell me that their shows are great and--. And that's when her shaved-head boyfriend shows up, kissed her, and asks her what's going on.
To save face, I bum a Camel Light off him. They disappear into the crowd.
And then The Spits come on--strong. The keyboardist is dress up in cardboard boxes painted silver, acting like a stiff robot. "Danger, Danger, Will Robinson!" The guitarist/singer, bass/singer, and drummer are wearing black ski masks and the kind of sleeveless denim jackets (sans shirts) like Lemmy would wear; except, the singer's jacket has, painted on the back, the symbol and name Twisted Sister in orange and red. The crowd swells forward. I watched the bright green t-shirted Sid Vicious to my left hop around and smack his thigh off-beat. He needs his Ritalin.
I will probably buy some CDs of The Spits. Fast, loud and under two minutes each, their songs didn't mess around. Modern Machine Gun Etiquette. For the last half of their set, two Filipino chicks go-go danced on the stage...shake it, baby, shake it. Funny.
After they're set ended, I decided to get a Jameson on the Rocks nightcap. Just hang against the wall and watch the straggling people. I thought, it'd be nice to talk to someone. There are a lot of couples here tonight, grabbing each other's asses and kissing. Sigh. I don't want to be a peninsula any more. I looked around. Shrugging my shoulders, I planned to leave after this drink.
That's when The Cousins swooped up to me.
"Hi" the shorter one in all black said. "Our friends abandoned us for some boy, so we decided to come talk to you."
Fuck, are they asking for a ride home? WTF?
The tall blonde was Amber, the shorter one was Erika. I looked at Erika again, and realized she'd been the one standing next to me at the beginning of the night. Their abandoning friends were the two blondes dressed in white. Erika and her white-shirted friends had driven in from some southwest suburb. Amber had ridden her bike down from Edgewater.
We stood around drinking and smoking, talking about the bands. We all agreed the first two bands were cool, but it had definitely been The Spits' show. And we watched her friend get hit on in vain, and get drinks bought for her by some "God, he's like 32" guy. We analyzed his chances: desperately thin, but he didn't yet know that. He commented on her lack of hair flip, tightly clenched legs facing not him but us (a cry for help?) and the final, and most telling, gesture of the notorious Cock-block: her arm leaning on the bar held horozontally between him and her like the Berlin Wall. He just kept talking and rubbing his crotch on her thigh. Classy.
More smokes, and suddenly another Jameson on the Rocks appeared (unpaidforbyme) in my hand and then we were outside saying good-bye to Erika and The White Shirts and Amber and I chatted about who-knows-what on the corner and then I head home.