We were ready to go. It was the day before La Escalera Fest 7 and we were still a day and 2,000 miles away from that sweet,sweet overcast skies of San Diego, CA. Luckily for Kendra and me, Chicago’s Cobra Lounge was hosting a very unofficial pre-La Escalera Fest show, at least for the only two Chicagoans making the trek west. Dead to Me brought the Tijuana rockers DFMK to the Windy City along with Colorado natives Elway for a night of fun sweaty Rock n’ Roll.
DFMK lead off to the sparse crowd. If you have never been to Cobra Lounge, you know that it’s split into two sections: the main bar area and the stage area (which also has a bar, don’t worry). Usually when a band starts, they will shut the doors between the rooms. But tonight, they left them open and as DFMK played on, more and more people wandered from the front bar into the back room to see exactly what the fuck was going on. Jorge was doing his thing, running back and forth, high kicking, spitting in the air and catching it then rubbing it in his hair, all while singing in Spanish as the rest of the guys played their fast and dirty Punk Rock. To the unfamiliar Midwest crowd, it was a sight to behold. By mid-set the room was packed with every single front bar motherfucker who originally thought they were too cool to see an opening band. The only bummer was that their drummer, Alex, was back at home in TJ because he couldn’t get out of work. But the dude filling in did a great job. I just love watching Alex drum; he has a very unique style that adds that extra oomph to the madness that is DFMK.
Next up was Elway. I found myself on the back patio drinking shots of whiskey with my girlfriend and David Holtz (thanks Gillian and Chel). It’s finally getting warm out, and I was excited to see all these places actually using their patios as something other than bonus snow storage. It’s been a long winter, and I have never lived in Chicago for any other season. You can already see the sun melting the frowns off people’s faces as they are able to walk the streets in less than seven layers of clothing. I’m ready to see Navy Pier look like a bustling metropolis rather than a desolate post-apocalyptic waste land. I want to make like a Sincere Engineer song and jump into Lake Michigan and sit on patios and porches and drink with my friends. This all seems possible now that the coward sun is finally showing its fucking face around these parts again. But in all realness, this feeling will last a week tops and in no time I’ll be complaining about how fucking hot and sweaty it is, praying that Old Man Winter didn’t stroke out in his sleep.
I was curious to see how the Midwest acted during a Dead to Me show. I know all up and down the West Coast, everyone loses their shit. I’m happy to report that the Midwest gets just as rowdy. I guess it’s hard not to be energized by a band that plays as intensely as Dead to Me does. That being said, the Wednesday night crowd came alive as the band played through the earlier Jack and Chicken material, throwing a couple of new songs off their forthcoming album in for good measure. Everything existed in perfect show harmony from the people running around in the pit, to the people screaming along to every single fucking word, to the people in the back who are at that part in their lives where they don’t want any part of that shit and are just there to enjoy the music at their own pace. It all culminated with Chicken throwing his bass to DFMK’s Marco and jumping into the sea of people to crowd surf while singing “By the Throat.” Show over, no fucking encore, amen.
We were supposed to call it a night. It was early enough to get home and get some decent sleep before flying to San Diego. But why not start off four days of constant partying already tired from a night of partying? We headed into Wicker Park, to Flat Iron for a quick drink and for Kendra to destroy some drunk lady at skeeball (Editor’s Note: thanks for the money, drunk overalls lady!) before meeting the DFMK boys Estelle’s for some late night bullshittery. And just like that it was 2:30AM. Have you ever tried sleeping on a Spirit flight? La Escalera Fest Day 1 would be a fucking struggle. But it was worth it.