On April 10th, Dave Hause & the Mermaid – the latest incarnation of The Loved Ones front man’s solo project – and The Bronx played outside of Chicago in the suburban city of Palatine, IL. The venue, Durty Nellie’s, has become a more popular for Chicagoland residents as of late due to hosting bands like Against Me!, Pup, and Jeff Rosenstock.
The evening started off rather strange, as we were the first people inside besides the staff. We made our way upstairs – the only area you can consume alcoholic drinks inside the venue at an 18 + show – and chatted with the bartender until a small crowd began gathering near the stage. By the time Dave Hause & the Mermaid took the stage, a small crowd had gathered on the floor below. Mat and I made our way downstairs and took it all in. The band alternated between songs off Dave’s newest release, Bury Me in Philly, and older tracks from Devour and before. While Dave has always been able to tackle the smarmiest heckler, there was a strange moment when he tried to get the crowd riled up for a new song, “Dirty Fucker.” He spoke to the fact that the inspiration behind the song stemmed from that orange toned monster in Washington D.C. who seemingly will stop at nothing to Make America Garbage Again. While half of the small crowd cheered, an icy wind blew through the venue as two Midwesterners stomped their feet and started to boo. What’s left to do in a situation like that besides play a the song which speaks volumes more.
Mat and I ran back upstairs between bands to find our cozy little nook of the venue filled to the brim with people. The time to get a drink doubled and my struggle with claustrophobia became very real. Upon my request, we headed back downstairs and waited for The Bronx to take the stage. Maybe it’s because the last time I remember seeing The Bronx, I was in Los Angeles, maybe because last time I saw Mariachi El Bronx, I waited in line for at least an hour at Amoeba Records, but this venue was just too dang empty. Are they not as big in Chicago? Is Palantine, IL shockingly not their target audience? None of that mattered as the band took to the stage and proceeded to demolish every song on their set list. They played like the room was over capacity and the world was ending. The crowning moment of the evening had to me (at least for me) when singer Matt Caughthran dismounted the stage and continue the set from the floor, walking right up to a boisterous and drunk crowd member and pulling a large afro-like wig off his head and putting it on.
The crowd doesn’t make a show. But it can break one. However, despite the drive and the venue, I had a rad time in this Chicago suburb. If nothing more, I can say that it was an experience like nothing else.
Check out Mat’s photos of the show below!