I haven’t felt much like partying – or even leaving the house – as of late. I’m blaming it on a mix of my 9 to 5 highly responsible adult job, the last dredges of winter in the Midwest, and waiting for this gorgeous website to launch (if you can read this, we’re live!). But when I saw that Mean Jeans was returning to Chicago for another show at East Room, something inside started to stir. It was that old familiar longing to get out of the house and stay out all night… or at least until the bar closed. It was a school night after all.
The show started with local openers Easy Habits. The local trio plays bouncy rock music that blurs the musical lines between 50’s classic nostalgia and your friend’s band that is playing a residency in, well, a bar. After their set, I wandered into the bar side of the venue and I plopped down on a bench to wait for the rest of my party. It was at this time that some drunk dude slid up next to me and started to slur questions in my general direction. Q: What are you writing? Q: Why are you alone? A: Notes about the band. A: Go away now. By the time my boyfriend and his friend had arrived, Sir Slurs-a-lot had vacated the bench. However, just before the second band started, we saw him coming up the front stairs of the venue. He was swaying hard and suddenly lost his balance falling face first on to the ground… at the feet of a bouncer. He jumped up with lightening speed and, trying to make the situation right, presented his ID to the bouncer as if to say “I deserve to be this fucked up. I am over 21!” He promptly was escorted out.
BAD SONS is a band that I have heard great things about, but hadn’t gotten a chance to see live. I’m trying this thing where I’m more willing to admit my faults and holy shit, I fucked up by sleeping on this band. The five piece puts on a severely entertaining live show with great music to boot. It was clear that BAD SONS’ friends were in attendance in full force as people from the audience came out and shouted lyrics into the mic along with the band members. At this point, BAD SONS has yet to release any music to the public. But they do have a shirt on their Bandcamp that’s pretty rad. Just remember to keep an eye out for these guys in the future because they’re just going to get better.
Next up was Dirty Fences from New York. Costume clad, the band’s light-hearted garage rock pairs nicely with that of Mean Jeans’s sound. Their set was a photographer’s and ac ontributor’s dream come true. The members were clearly having a great time, frantically dancing, laughing and smiling. Plus, their songs – previously unknown to me – are wonderfully catchy and accessible. I felt like I almost knew them without ever having heard any of them before. There was also a group of audience members who sang the words to every song as they twirled, jumped and danced, spilling their drinks all the way.
Mean Jeans was wonderful as always. There was head banging all around between both the crowd and the band. The pit exploded as fans slipped and dog piled onto the stage song after song. Drummer Jeans Wilder passed time as Billy and Junior Jeans tuned their guitars by singing and playing jingles that he wrote for a variety of products from Tostino’s Pizza Rolls to Camel Cigarettes. The crowd went wild throughout. At one point, I wandered into the center just as everyone began to pogo and pit. With my camera bag weighing me down, it felt like I was drowning in a sea of leather jacket clad humans. A hand reached down from above and pulled me out. It was my good friend and fellow photographer Patrick Houdek! He saved me from being trampled to death! They played as assortment of newer songs off their 2016 release Tight New Demension (Fat Wreck Chords) such as “Croozin”, “Michael Jackson was Tight”, and “Allergic to Success”. But of course, Mean Jeans covered crowd favorites like “Born on a Saturday Night”, Slime Time”, and “Outta Smokes”. Overall it was a great set list and a sweaty, out of control set that ended just in time for me to exit the venue, rush home and lay in bed before passing out from sheer exhaustion.