Oh, House of Blues! What an odd venue you are. It seems like every single time I go to you, whether it be in Chicago now or San Diego before, some weird problem happens. Showing up for The Bronx and Thrice was no exception. I met with our very own behind the scenes webmaster, David Holtz, on the train down to the House of Blues. We were both on separate guest lists, David with The Bronx and myself with a press pass for, duh, Bad Copy. Well, I‘ve only been to The House of Blues once so far in Chicago, but the last time we went in through the front door to the box office to get our passes. That’s exactly what we do, the security guard out front was like, “Yeah dude. Come on in.” Except when we got in, everything was blocked off with those shitty retractable ropes and security guards EVERYWHERE. We go to the rope guard who is standing literally right next to the ticket window. “Hey man, we are on the guest lists. Can we go through to get our passes?” Nope. He explains we have to go around out back to the giant line and stand in that to get in, then proceeds to take us outside to the line even though we told him we passed it when we came in and knew where it was. Okay, no big deal. We are not fucking VIPs and I have no problem standing in this stupid line.
I do have a problem with getting up to the security guard and him not letting us in because we don’t have tickets. After we explained, we have to go inside to get our tickets, he just looked at us dead eyed and said, “No tickets, no entrance.” We explained again. Okay but we fucking have to go inside to get our tickets to get in. What the fuck are we supposed to do? He thought about it for a second and said, “Fine. But you have to come back outside to get a wristband after you get your ticket.” Whatever. We get patted down, get our ticket, go back outside, get our wristband, get patted down again, get our tickets checked and we are in baby! Easy peasy.
Teenage Wrist was probably halfway through their set by the time we settled in with our drinks and deciding to stand up on the third floor balcony, where the view wasn’t great but it also wasn’t packed. Because the venue was very packed. There were Thrice shirts as far as the eye could see. We made a pit stop up to the third floor at the merch booths, were I was delighted to hear a conversation between two bros about the $40 signed tour poster Thrice was selling. “Man, that’s a lot of money for that poster dude.” “Yeah, but you can always get that smaller non-signed one. It’s only $25!” They were talking about the vinyl. Anyway, Teenage Wrist was fine. I had a listen to them beforehand, and did not like what I heard at all. Live, they were a little bit better. But still, just not my style.
David disappeared backstage, as he had an all access pass, and reemerged with one for me as well! Thanks David. Thanks Matt. We got to watch the rest of the show from the side balcony with a way better view. The Bronx came out with a simple “We are The Bronx from Los Angeles,” and went into “The Unholy Hand” from their album The Bronx. The Bronx released an album last year, V, playing a couple songs off that, but I was surprised they played so many songs off their album The Bronx, while they only squeezed in one off The Bronx. Singer Matt Caughthran wasn’t very impressed by the movement of the Chicago crowd. During the two songs they played off The Bronx, he jumped into the audience to facilitate something other than apathy from the massive crowd. They closed out the night with two songs off The Bronx, joined by Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath for their last song, “History’s Stranglers.”
Thrice was the headliner, supporting their newest album Palms. Mat recently reviewed the album, and I mostly agree with him. Thrice opened up with “Only Us” off of it, before going into “Image of the Invisible,” a song I haven’t heard them play live in years. And that was their theme for the evening, throwing some rarer songs in like “Red Sky” among the new songs and the staples of their set list. I saw the House of Blues were having a “vote for what you want to hear” deal on the Facebook event page, and people were suggesting like “Beggars” or that stupid fucking “Black Honey” song. Dudes. They are going to fucking play those songs. Go deeper. Fuck me up with “Blood Clots and Black Holes” or “Motion Isn’t Meaning.” I was shocked to death they left the stage without playing “Deadbolt.” I mean, Thrice had some of the best t-shirts that just said in big block letters, “Play Deadbolt.” Thank god for an encore (barf). They came out hard and fast to give us our nightly dose of “Deadbolt,” and surprised me personally by closing with “To Awake and Avenge the Dead,” a song I never ever thought they would play again.
I had always been vaguely aware of The Bronx, but I spent the week listening to their discography and after watching them crush it live, sign me up for their mother fucking fan club (but like don’t though, I don’t need any more emails), and with Thrice throwing in a few surprises into their set, not a bad show at all. I would like to take a moment to apologize to The Bronx for eating all of their veggie dip they had backstage. It was delicious and I couldn’t stop myself.