Not too long ago I heard that Lords of Acid and Thrill Kill Kult were coming to town and playing a show together. So where was this revelry of debauchery to be held? Double Door? Reggies? HOB? Hell? Alas, no. The venue for this show was to be The Cubby Bear: a shining beacon of mediocrity and douchebaggery in Wrigleyville. Yes, that’s right. You are going to ask your rivet-heads, leather-clad dominatrices and scary kids to run a gauntlet of drunken assholes into the eye-wall of the dickhead whirlwind that is Wrigleyville on a Saturday night.
I feel like I have to clarify myself to be fair. I am a Cubs fan. I do enjoy going to Wrigley and I enjoy some of the bars in the area(Cubby Bear is not one of them). However, I have no illusions. I realize that your average person in Wrigleyville, after a game on the weekend, is stinking drunk, stumbling down the streets with all of the mental walls that make them a tolerable human being crumbling under the weight of 50 old styles. Have I been one of those people before? Yes. As a matter of fact, that’s what makes Wrigleyville fun: when you are trashed out of your mind and everyone around is operating on the same wavelength. At least, until you get into a fight or throw up on yourself. Anyway, my point is that Wrigleyville can be a terrible place to be sober in.
We arrive at the Cubby Bear and wait in a line for about a half hour. During this time we are visited by about 4 different panhandlers who have recognized a golden opportunity in a line of people stuck, unable to leave or avoid their gaze in order to dodge the situation. One of them is carrying a beer in his hand as he asks for money for the bus. Brave choice sir. Anyway, we all engage in that awkward dance of pretending to have no money, and they gracefully complete their part of the dance by pretending to believe it. Eventually we get inside and order a beer. The beer selection is not particularly impressive, but to be fair to the Cubby Bear, it wasn’t as ridiculously overpriced as I initially suspected it might be.
The first opening band, I:Scintilla, takes the stage and does a decent job. Then the next band, BlownLoad, takes the stage. These guys were pretty fun. The lead singer was a bit of a clown. He looked like he woke up from a nap, wandered the stage for a bit and eventually took his dreads down from a knot he had them tied up in, occasionally examining weird pieces of junk stuck in his hair. When the rest of the band joined him, they kicked into high gear. The lead singer was pretty animated and probably the driving force behind the band. All the songs had to do with sex in one form or another, and I’ll do everyone a favor by not going into their set list. If you’re curious, check them out on Myspace. Susan dug their sound more than I did. Around this time I also became very conscious of the heat.
Cubby Bear must have decided that air conditioning was optional in August, because after the first band was over, the inside of the Cubby Bear felt like an easy 110 degrees. During Blownload’s set, the heat became so intolerable I decided I needed to go cool off in the frigid 90 degree weather outside. I step outside and start pushing buttons on my phone and hear a voice. “Dude, you have really long hair.” The guy is standing nearby other concert goers so I assume he’s here for the show. I say, “Yeah, it just keeps growing and growing.” He follows up, “Yeah, but that is really long hair.” I’m now a little confused. He clarifies with, “I mean, what are you? Evo or Emo or something?” I now know I’m dealing with an asshole. I’m definitely bigger than this dude and his friend, and feeling a little pissed off with the situation, decide to come out and say, “Alright, dude, what’s your fucking problem.” He tells me he doesn’t have a problem, he’s just trying to figure out what it’s all about. I decide to longer play his game and start gauging his friend to see if he’s an asshole too and if I might be in for a fight. He looks a little embarrassed by his friend and tells me, “Dude, just leave it alone.” I’ve reached a fork in the road: one path leads to insults, violence, possible arrest, but also glory, and down the other lies a double-header I’ve been waiting most of my adult-life to see. I choose the latter, say “fuck it,” and hear this little shithead mutter “faggot” as I walk inside. I honestly didn’t know people were still threatened by long hair. Anyway, fuck that guy.
I watch the rest of BlownLoad’s set but am a little distracted with thoughts of face stomping. Eventually, Thrill Kill Kult take the stage and save the day for me. I’m probably a bigger fan of a heavier industrial sound, but I have to admit there is no one like TKK. These guys have a ridiculous amount of swagger. They manage to seamlessly mix Industrial with genres like Lounge and Disco to give their music a seedy, fun edge. Their stage presence is amazing and they are just way too cool. They hit all the oldies that night and killed it with “Daisy Chain for Satan.” Fuck yeah.
Then onto Lords of Acid. It is now a million degrees and the skin has melted off my body. Their dominatrix takes the stage holding a whip, and sets the tone for the evening. Later, out comes the new frontwoman who does a pretty weak job as their new singer. Her previous history as a “Rock of Love” candidate probably detracts from the sexual power and confidence a Lords of Acid frontwoman needs to command. Praga Khan is in excellent form though, as is the rest of the band, and they play the hell out of most of the songs I want to hear. A fan is brought up on stage and flogged during one of the numbers and a blow up doll is thrown out to the audience and used like a beach ball. Well done, milords.
The show lets out around 1:30 or so and we stumble over to IO to hang with a friend of ours who is getting out of work and get a chance to cool off for a bit before making the trek back to the south side. All in all, it was worth going to the Cubby Bear to see this double-header in Chicago. But guys, lets play a home game next time.