There's a first time for everything. Luckily, I got a few first things out of the way in one fell swoop. It was my first time at the Fireside Bowl, which if you're not a Chicago native, or haven't been there, like me, its really, really tiny. The groups performed on one end of the bowling alley, and the merch was sold on the other side. I'd say, conservatively, about 100 kids showed up.
I came late, and caught 6 or 7 Paint it Black songs. I got a very Black Flag vibe from them. I've yet to hear them on record, but live it came off like that. I'm not a fan, but I could understand why other people would be. If you like them, they're pretty good live. Not awe-inspiring, but pretty good nonetheless. Back at the merch booth, I found Strike Anywhere and Co. selling Jade Tree cds, so with no deliberation, I picked up a Kid Dynamite CD. If you need to stock up on records, this is the tour to hit up. But I digress. The crowd stood at Paint it Black wondering what the hell was going on, not moshing, though the guitarist and bassist tried admirably to get the crowd to fill in on the handclaps and gang vocals, but the crowd just wasn't feeling it.
I'm still not sure how to describe Challenger. Checking Jade Tree's website, they call themselves post-punk, which seems to be the catch all for guitar interplay driven punk rock big on the gang vocals and barely intelligble vocals. It was a little bit fun, and not a total waste of time.
Headlining the Jade Tree United Tour, Strike Anywhere appeared on stage to the enthusiastic cries of 50 kids right in front and the semi-interested clapping of scenesters a few feet behind them.
Richmond's fastest growing band kept the Fireside well entertained for 45 minutes, spacing out the time between songs with banter primarily relating to the tour or about President Bush. Thomas has not stopped being an irascable spark plug, and the rest of the group has not stopped putting their entire beings into their performance. They moved around the tiny stage (that might be giving the raised plywood a bit too much credit, but once again, I digress.) jumping, and hittting each note with enthusiasm, vigor and flair. If you like Strike Anywhere, you really have no reason not to see them. They're on tour till forever, and they're on Hellfest.
Looking amongst the crowd's tshirts was like looking at a who's who in the scene. Sadly, there was little diversity in the crowd, it was dominated by Caucasians (white people aren't bad, its just that its the vast vast majority of shows). There was a nine year old there, who had the look on his face like this was his first show.
Planned Parenthood was in the building, giving out free condoms and information about services and referrals.
Colin McGinnis who does merch for the boys likes to give people shit in a friendly manner, so smile and give it back to him.
Since I could not get my hands on Strike Anwyhere's setlist, this is what I remember, and may be missing songs.
To the World
Lights Go Out
Sunset on 32nd (closer)