The Lawrence Arms / The Falcon - live in Chicago (Cover Artwork)

The Lawrence Arms / The Falcon

live in Chicago (2008)

live show

Playoff baseball really makes it difficult to attend shows. Last October I debated with myself whether or not to watch game 5 of the ALCS between my beloved Indians and the Red Sox or go to the Evergreen Terrace / Strung Out show at the Agora. If you'll recall, Strung Out was robbed last year and for some insane reason I thought maybe they'd maybe break up after that tour after suffering such a big loss. My decision was ultimately made when my uncle scored playoff tickets and gave me two. This year posed almost the same problem when my second favorite team, the Tampa Bay [Devil] Rays, faced those same g.d. Boston Red Sox in what turned out to be the exact same situation. I decided to skip out on the first day of Red Scare Fest to watch game 6 because I'm not particularly fond of the Falcon, who were headlining, the Sidekicks were playing both dates, and rumor had it that the Lawrence Arms were going to play Day Two.

Well, damnation, didn't the BoSox just ruin any plans that I had to enjoy the show without obsessively checking my phone for text message updates from my roommates. In between freakouts, I caught a, well, I caught an interesting show. After show opener the Brokedowns, shit got real, real quick, when the Sidekicks took the stage. They were down a guitar player due to some sort of medical emergency, which, as you'd expect, took a bit of the "oomph" out of their sound, but they still played an impressive set. The lion's share of said set consisted of songs off of their 2007 full-length, So Long, Soggy Dog, and some material off of their new Sam 7".

Next up was Teenage Bottlerocket. I must admit I'm not terribly well-versed in their catalogue, but I was anxious to see them as I liked their songs "Bloodbath at Burger King" and "Radio," off of 2005's Total. Both aforementioned songs were played, as well as an opener number where the chorus may have just consisted of "Bottlerocket!" being yelled repeatedly. They ripped through their set, pretty much only stopping in between songs only long enough for a member to yell a snotty, "1, 2, 3, 4!" before kicking right back into the music.

Next up were headliners (and rumor confirmers), the Lawrence Arms. While setting up, Brendan did what can only be described as some sort of stand-up / spoken word act for a few minutes before...the Falcon took the stage? Brendan (guitar), Chris McCaughan (bass), and Neil Hennessy (drums) were joined by Eli Caterer of Smoking Popes fame, donning sunglasses and a blonde wig. They played about three songs (details are hazy, but I think they were "The Angry Cry of the Angry Pie," "The Lazyboy 500" and "Building the Perfect Asshole Parade or Scratching Off the Fleas") before Eli exited, Brendan and Chris traded instruments, and the Lawrence Arms played. Anyone that has seen the Lawrence Arms live knows that while you may not see the most technically proficient set due to member intoxication, they are always entertaining. Dating back to 2001, I've seen the Lawrence Arms 11 times prior to that night, and this was the drunkest I've ever seen Brendan play. They played a number of songs which I haven't heard live before or haven't heard in a long while, which in theory is really awesome, but Brendan incoherently growled his vocal parts into the mic and would occasionally chime in with correct/coherent lyrics during the choruses or was literally falling over. He may as well have not even been playing his bass either, because he either hit at least two strings with every note he tried to play or held his bass in the air by the neck with one hand and his other was raised in a fist. After a number of Lawrence Arms songs, Eli came back out, Chris and Brendan switched instruments again, and they continued with a few more Falcon songs. When it came time to switch back to the Lawrence Arms, Chris patiently waited to make the instrument switch while Brendan went off about how hot his wife is. Chris lifted the bass to just below his chin and played a few lines before Eli pointed out to Brendan that they'd need to switch instruments to continue on as the Lawrence Arms. Eli actually stayed on stage at this point and continued playing second guitar, which was cool, and it sort of made up for the lack of / neglected bass guitar. With the second guitar I was hoping they'd play "Presenting: The Dancing Machine" and its, like, four opening guitar tracks, but I had no such luck. Anyway, I may be getting their sets at Riot Fest and Red Scare Fest confused, but I'm nigh positive they played:

  • An Evening of Extraordinary Circumstances
  • The Raw and Searing Flesh
  • 100 Resolutions
  • There's No Place Like a Stranger's Floor
  • Hey, What Time is "Pensacola: Wings of Gold" on Anyway?
  • Necrotism: Decanting the Insalubrious (Cyborg Midnight) Part 7
  • Great Lakes / Great Escapes
  • Like a Record Player
  • Recovering the Opposable Thumb
  • Are You There, Margaret? It's Me, God.
  • Lose Your Illusion 1
And, get ready to have your respective dick/clit boners rocked, a new song. Brendan prefaced this with, "I know a lot of you are worried that the Lawrence Arms are dead because I had a kid, but I'm telling you that we're very much alive. Here's a new song." It was a Brendan song and it seems like it'll be a real rocker when it's put to tape.

After the show, I rushed home and caught the end of the Rays / Red Sox game (prediction: Rays over Phillies in 5). It was yet another October night spent debating over whether or not to catch a favorite band or a ball game, and aside from Brendan's embarrassing sloppiness, I'm happy with this year's decision.