I learned the art of taking notes at a show from Kendra. It can be a great way to record your thoughts when a few days pass or if you drink a lot that day. I fell more into the latter for this show. I was pretty bummed that, originally, I wasn’t going to be able to go see Nothington, so I went drinking. I have a long history of missing their shows, so it wasn’t a huge deal, but more on that later. While I was out, I learned our sweet Kyle (contributor and hot sauce connoisseur had a plus one he wasn’t using and offered it to me. After a farewell round of tequila, it was off to Subterranean to catch up with one of my old favorites.
Opening the show that night were Chicago pop-punkers The C-Sides. Their infectious, Ramones-esque take on pop punk got the crowd going as folks trickled in. My notes about their set included a reference to The Copyrights which is pretty apt. Much like the band I was referring to, I had a hard time getting into the C-Sides. That isn’t to say they were bad, but bands like Teenage Bottlerocket, The Methadones, or said Copyrights have never been my thing. Regardless of my opinion, people were having a good time and moving their feet.
Following The C-Sides was Joe McMahon of Smoke or Fire fame. I loved that band and I miss them being a thing. The first time I saw them was opening a tour with the AKA’s, The Unseen, The Casualties, and Anti-Flag. The last time was at Fest 12 and I stage dived for the first time in a while. I’m pretty sure Joe lives in Germany or Austria or someplace not America at all, so I don’t see a full time reunion in the works. But it was a nice treat to catch him playing a mix of Smoke or Fire covers and material from his solo record. His show brought back a lot of memories and I got an itch to have some fun. I had been threatening throughout his set that I would crowd surf; I was at an appropriate level of drunk that this seemed a good idea for an acoustic show. So, I did. It was great and I’d do it again. In fact, I have a note that reads “I miss Smoke or Fire, but I’m board with crowd surfing during Joe’s acoustic set.”
Next up was New York’s own MakeWar. They collaborated with Kyle of Soothsayer Hot Sauce on a hot sauce and were having a party for it that night, so you better believe the first thing I did was try the sauce. Kendra had mentioned it was not to be missed. I was hoping there would be chips, but this stuff worked just as well off your finger. I’m sure there’s a sex joke in there somewhere. It was one of those sneaky sons of bitches that at first is very unassuming, but then hits your taste buds with white hot fire. It was a great metaphor for the band’s set that night. I had never seen them before so I was excited when they took the stage. If there’s one thing I love, it’s a good three piece band and MakeWar is an amazing three piece band. I had written down, “Every time I see a three piece kill it like this, that’s all I want to do,” so that’s how I know for sure I loved it. Like their hot sauce, MakeWar are a bunch of spicy boys and need to be sought out ASAP.
SubT was finally filling up to a point that I felt it appropriate for a Nothington show in Chicago. Not that I would really know anything about that; they have always had a bad habit of playing shows on the same night my band would also would play. By the time that project ended, they had pretty much stopped playing for several years. I finally managed to catch them at Fest 12 once in their regular set and then again as a not so secret band. Both times I was really drunk and emotional. I wasn’t about to let tonight be any different. I really wish that I had written down more than “Nothington always played in Chicago when my old band did. Got real drunk to make up for it”, because most of what I remember is a blur of sing alongs to old and new tunes alike, dancing, and tons of friendly faces all doing the same. Nothington is one of those groups who plays honest, heartfelt, emotionally vulnerable music that resonates with the fans on a level that connects the crowd with their performance in a way that few bands are capable of doing. I’ve always appreciated having a band like that around to truly embody the unifying power of music.
Overall the show was a smashing success. It is a pleasure to have new music from Nothington and to see them on the road again. I should probably start a band now so I can get booked in a different venue the next time they are back in town.
Check out photos from the night!