Alan and I met up before my final Tom Miller show to polish Hey Jude, Stamsund and The Squirrel Song. I felt comfortable with the minor bit, ready to give solo room, etc. Generally psyched to perform with another musician… and then we realized that his keyboard doesn’t lend well to portability. So it didn’t happen. We played it at my mom’s new place for her return from Chicago, though.
I went to the show anyways. It began with a drawing fail. Lack of practice and my least comfortable subject matter, people, led to a couple really crappy drawings. Speaking of which I need to start drawing. Yeah. That. Tom’s blonde jokes ill prepared us for Reverend Angel Dust’s strangely more serious (still peppered with his catch phrases) benediction. Perhaps his filming for YouTube prompted the change. Eric followed with a similarly strangely serious and long preface about the Levin law school before his characteristic music parody of Under the Sea with a jab at grading – “Under the curve” and US News & World Report School rankings.
Dan Kahn took the stage mostly to honor Tom, combining disparate actors and singers of the audience’s choosing Frank Sinatra/Lady Gaga, Elton John/Lawrence Olivier, Robert Plant/Janis Joplin. A girl in the audience with platinum blonde hair screamed particularly enthusiastically throughout his “set”. When he finished, she continued in the same volume to push her play. “I’m in a sex scene!” Great.
Maximum Overdrive, a two piece band who last appeared at the Tom Miller show a year ago, played some power chords with badly wrought yet humourous lyrics. Most of the men in the audience found the both members of the band quite cute. Quite professional at least, with their own beautiful amps, own expensive guitars strummed oblivious to progressively out of tune strings (low E in tune, A slightly sharp, D even sharper, etc.), and riffs from popular songs. I did enjoy their most serious song. Humour can get one far where skill falters.
A young man dressed and styled in a caricature of gothdom read a serious, well written poem written after his sister’s death from a drug overdose. Then, to go with the seeming pressure most feel at the Lab (but that I don’t?) read a funny one. Chase sang his song again. His mate Max tried comedy. And if I say so myself, I killed it. I felt on the moment I stepped on stage. Again a setlist for my albums (one sale to the lovely Ashley): Car No. 5, Stamsund, and a close out with Crazy.
When I returned to my seat, the pretty pixie-haircut artist girl sitting at a table to the right proffered me a few dollars, saying that she’s trying to do the same thing herself with art, putting herself out there, and she knows that in her position she’d appreciate anything. I certainly did and I gave her a couple bookmarks.
Albert had me tape Dave’s hand-dancing for Julianne. Unfortunately a rather man-hating lesbian couple seemed to enjoy putting their heads in the way, but I did get as much as I could:
I loved his use of The Rose. A song about Jesus by a gay icon. A very strange combination and a cool thing. Dave and I chatted outside while Wesson played, and then remained outside when the next act, a fire poi guy, started up. This act really bothered me. As per usual the audience oohed and aahed about how cool it was, when this “juggler” was really the least talented fire poi artist I’ve yet seen. Just as Lily noted – add fire to things and suddenly people go all gaga over it. No real tricks just fire poi whirled in circles beside him or above his head. It’s about as hard as idling twirling a lanyard.
Our stretch of comedians fared much better than the past week’s. Pablo started off with a Lab vibe appropriate discussion of ugly people. The man haters “feminists” they called themselves, interrupted him loudly halfway through with, what was it? “You’re a dirty chauvinist asshole shit fucker?” Something like that. Pablo dealt with this deftly by remarking how the Lab got rather a lot cuter after they’d left. His friend Eric, a black guy with dreads and a cap casting shadow over his downturned face, no eyes to be seen, utilized the presence of the pretty girl at his table to warm up to jokes about 3d and high definition porn. Ah the high class and sophistication of Laboratory humour. That same girl took the stage with not particulary entertaining jokes completely undercutting her self-identification as a non man hating feminist. Mystic closed us out with a German exchange student playing his spare flute and two drummers backing him up.
And that was that. I lingered a bit outside to bid everyone goodbye. One girl with a British accent liked my stuff and asked to gig with me. Chase reiterated his appreciation. Dave and Tom wished me luck. I haven’t had much here in Chicago, nor found an open mic anything like the Unspectacular.
Earnings: $14.00, 15 minutes
Song of the Day: Stamsund – Terrence Ho