I am planning on getting back to it, don't worry. This week was just a bit odd. See, on Tuesday night I was here:
That's Soundgarden. That's Soundgarden at the Riviera Theater. That's Soundgarden at the Riviera Theater with me about, oh, fifty feet from the stage. It was a religious experience.
The setlist was amazing. They only played five songs off of the new album, four of which were the four actual tolerable songs from the new album: "Rowing," "By Crooked Steps," "Worse Dreams," and "Non-State Actor." They also played "Been Away Too Long," which wasn't so great, but it was the first song and that seemed to be par for the course.
Either way, I'd trade that Soundgarden show for any five shows I've been to in my life. It was that amazing. I was pretty much sold halfway through when they played "Loud Love" and then followed it with "Big Dumb Sex." This is "Big Dumb Sex," which is probably NSFW:
So, weirdly, I knew "Big Dumb Sex" from the first chord. I didn't realize that "Rowing" wasn't "By Crooked Steps" until the song was over. And I thought "Worse Dreams" was called "Bad Dreams." So...I guess I'm that guy, now.
Either way, since I ain't done with this, apparently, here's the setlist:
Been Away Too Long
Room a Thousand Years Wide
Jesus Christ Pose - intro tag of Jesus Loves Me, which was a nice touch
Big Dumb Sex
Blow Up the Outside World
Fell on Black Days
Tighter & Tighter
Burden in My Hand
Nothing to Say
Black Hole Sun
4th of July
By Crooked Steps
Basically, if I were to make the perfect Soundgarden setlist with the caveat that it had to have a decent number of new songs...this is pretty close. My perfect list would cut "Been Away Too Long" and add "Like Suicide," "Slaves & Bulldozers," and "Searching with My Good Eye Closed." If I were also expecting a pony it would involve "Ty Cobb." If I had to take anything out to get those additions I'd remove "Spoonman" and "Blow Up the Outside World." I would have said "Incessant Mace" before Tuesday, but it's a really cool show ender.
The show ender is an important song. Pearl Jam famously plays "Yellow Ledbetter" to end pretty much every set. Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers play "Nada." The Saw Doctors play "Hey Wrap." Some bands don't really have an ender, but for the bands that do it's an important signal that, y'know, it's time to go home. Soundgarden played "Slaves & Bulldozers" as the ender last year on pretty much all the shows I looked up. "Incessant Mace" works about as well. I think "Like Suicide" would be an excellent choice, too.
Also, Chris Cornell kept referring to The Riviera as The Vic, which amused me to no end. My favorite venue in Chicago is the Vic. My second favorite venue is probably the Riviera (although my love of The Beat Kitchen knows no bounds and Schubas, the Double Door, and The Hideout are all very cool).
Either way, Soundgarden's on the headline and all's right with the world.
So it's February in Chicago. February in Chicago is the absolute fucking worst. Scott Lucas and Brian St. Clair would like to tell you about it.
I have mixed feeling about that video. "Another February" is very much a political song in the middle of what is very much a political album. The way they set it up looks like it's definitely commentary on the point of the song: that life is pretty much shit for people who don't have money. It looked like a perfect setup for, "It's always February for some people."
Then it got to the bit at the end with the snow globe.
Either way, this year February is even crazier, since on Tuesday I went to the Soundgarden show wearing a hoodie over a long-sleeve t-shirt with no coat, since it was in the 50s in Chicago. Then we got a cold snap on 1/31 and it was awful.
So you might be asking yourself how I've managed to write a full post about Soundgarden and Local H but couldn't seem to write a 1434 post. Basically, I came down with an awesome flu/fever (fluver?) thing. Right now I have zero energy and my head hurts. Tossing 1434 on top of that seems like a really bad idea.
For the record, the 1434 posts (and the 1421 posts before them and, actually, the After the Flood posts from way back in the day) are the hardest posts to write. There's just so much awful packed into every paragraph that it's hard to know where to begin. That takes energy. Energy I don't have right now.
Also, after I took a nap this afternoon/evening I watched the pilot episode of The Americans on FX. Two of my favorite shows of the last few years are White Collar and Burn Notice. The Americans is basically like those plus Homeland (which I do not watch, by the by). It's definitely more Homeland in tone than either of the USA shows, though. Either way, I am enthused.
Nothing like a show starring Felicity as a hard-ass Soviet sleeper agent during the Reagan years...
Yeah...I guess I need to list my favorite Chicago venues now.
1. The Vic
2. The Riviera
3. The Beat Kitchen
4. Double Door
6. The Aragon
7. The Hideout
1,506. House of Blues
1,507. UIC Pavilion
I've also seen shows at the United Center and Soldier Field. I don't like stadium shows, really. Also, weirdly, I kinda liked the House of Blues Dallas. My theory for all venues is that their main purpose should be to put as little in the way of the people trying to see music as possible. The more shit, the worse the grade. The Vic wins on accessibility and feel. The Riviera is basically a slightly larger Vic, but the problem is that it's laid out sideways. The back of the main floor of the Vic goes right outside. At the Riv you have to walk down a hallway, so it can be a pain in the ass to get in or out. The Aragon has a hallway plus a staircase. The Beat Kitchen, Double Door, Schuba's, and the Hideout are simply too small for that to be a problem.
The HoB loses on two things: overbearing staff and a tendency towards all-ages shows. I get that all ages = more money, but all ages also often means 16 year-olds who just got let out of the house for the first time and don't know what the fuck they're doing.
The UIC Pavilion is just awful. It's got this single, narrow concourse that they choke with merch tables and adult beverage stands when there are shows, so it's basically impossible to get in or out if the place is full. For the record, the place was quite full in July of 2012 when I saw Soundgarden there...
Oddly, I've never been to the Metro. There are five legendary Chicago venues for rock shows: the Double Door, the Vic, the Riviera, the Aragon Ballroom, and the Metro. I'm not sure why I haven't been to the Metro.