There was a slight tickle in my throat Thursday morning. Besides that, it was a pretty standard day. I went to work. I came home. I ate some dinner. Then I took a train to the Bottom Lounge for the first night of The Lawrence Arms 4th Annual War on X-Mas, subtitled ‘Shameless Capitalism.’ Tonight’s lineup included Chicago locals Canadian Rifle, A Wilhelm Scream, and of course, The Lawrence Arms themselves.
It was a pretty uneventful day getting to the show extracurricular-wise. My girlfriend Kaylin and I made it to the Bottom Lounge when the doors opened at 7PM, had a couple drinks, met up with Kendra and Skyler, and went inside to watch Canadian Rifle. I feel like I have seen Canadian Rifle play a million times since coming to Chicago, and tonight they were as good as always if not slightly better after just getting back from a quick jaunt in the U.K.
A Wilhelm Scream was up next. I’ve always had a real problem catching these guys play; I’ve been at a ton of fests and shows with them on the bill, and I always am just not around. It’s fucking weird, like a vampire not invited into a home. Tonight, it finally clicked. Now, I am going to preface this with: I enjoy A Wilhelm Scream’s music. But there is something about the bands look that makes me just not want to be there. Visually, they bum me out. The deep cut sleeveless shirts with cut off camo shorts and upturned billed hats, blegh. Watching them play gives off a strong “bro” vibe that I actively avoid after spending fifteen years in the San Diego punk scene. But again, and I can’t stress this enough, I like their music. Despite this, I once again found myself outside smoking a cigarette while they finished up their set. Fucking sue me.
This was the fourth year of The Lawrence Arms playing three full nights without any new music or anything coming out in between, so I was curious to see how they were going to keep it fresh. It was the third time out of the four I was going to be in attendance, and it’s not like everyone there has gone every fucking year, so I figured some repeat moments were inevitable. The Lawrence Arms were great like always with Chris McCaughan keeping it cool and Brendan Kelly soaking up the crowd’s energy. There was in fact a “Hennessy” chant for Neil, this time coming after he stepped out from behind the drums to play the one song in The Lawrence Arms nineteen year existence he wrote and sings, “106 South.” The freshness was at its peak, and they encored the night with “Like a Record Player.”
We went to The Native afterwards at the behest of Hot Sauce Kyle. He was pouring Malort shots laced with gold flakes earlier at The Bottom Lounge which is just the kind of fancy pants shit I do like. I only had one drink before I already felt exhausted and Kaylin and I decided to head home early. Well, I say ‘early’ but it was almost 2AM. Earlier in the week, I consciously made the decision to take it easy on Thursday and save the go-hard partying for the rest of the weekend. I’m in my thirties god damn it, my body does not take me as far as it used to!