I’ve found a new venue.
I went to see Kapsalis on the first Friday of June at the Serbian Cultural Center. Now, having been to the German cultural center in Lincoln Square, I kinda expected to see a similar deal: big building, classroom atmosphere on certain levels, maybe a laid back social area. Don’t get me wrong, I like the German cultural center. Every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month, the Red Lion diaspora meets there to stay in touch and enjoy some good beer and company in a big social area with an outside deck that has a good view of the city. However, I would not have imagined the German cultural center to be a decent choice for a musical venue and had similar concerns about the Serbian Cultural Center.
Finding this place is a real trip. It’s at 448 W Barry, and after we park we find ourselves walking down a very residential looking street and starting to think we have the wrong address. Eventually, the numbers get closer to our target and our hopes of a cool venue start to disintegrate as we close in on 448 W Barry which looks to be a very large, very drab house. The windows are all dark and I hear absolutely nothing from inside. I’m now pretty much positive we have our information wrong but decide to ring the doorbell anyway. No answer. I ring it again, and we hear noises shuffling towards the door. Someone seems to fumble with the lock and then walk away.
Susan at this point feels like we should go, but I decide to persist and ring the doorbell a few more times. Nothing happens. I go around the side of the house and peer into the basement window and see a bar, some rock-like walls and people talking. Suddenly we hear a voice yelling for us to come around back and we do, then go down some stairs into “The Cave.” Now this would be a cool location even if it wasn’t hidden away like a little secret. The booths seem sunken into the walls and are made to look like rock. The bar is relatively unimpressive, but the view of the stage is good from the booths and the ceiling isn’t too high so the sound carries quite well across the room.
Black Bear Combo played first. We saw them a while back and were fairly impressed. They are a gypsy brass band, and create a lot of energy. We shared a table with some people who traveled from out of state to see their relative play in Black Bear. Next, Kapsalis Trio came on and were their normal brilliant selves. It was fun watching the people at the table become visibly impressed with Andreas’s guitar playing over the course of the show. The only gripe I guess I had was that there weren’t enough people. Normally that isn’t the problem at one of his shows and it was good to have such a clear view of the stage, but it did seem like a bit of wasted talent to have all that quality music played and such a small crowd to hear it.
Then again, I probably should be careful for what I wish for. For people like me, the Cave is probably better as is, a hidden little gem on a residential street in Chicago.