The tickle in my throat was a full blown scratch on Friday morning. I chalked it up to smoking too many cigarettes during A Wilhelm Scream, and went about my business. The original plan was to do a bunch of Chicago tourist shit with Kendra and Skyler, but we were all kind of slow to get ready, so we only had time for one stop. Drinks on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Tower. Luckily for us, it was completely foggy and gross outside, so our $13+ cocktails were met with the amazing view of our reflections in the grayed out windows. After coming down from up high, we ran to Streeter’s Tavern down the block to meet up with our buddies Laura and her partner Josh before we all went back to Kendra’s to pregame The Lawrence Arms 4th Annual War on X-Mas Night 2: PC Police.
Chicago legend Kiran Mehendale met us at Kendra’s at we cracked open the Buzzballz Biggies Tequila-Rita I had purchased a few days before. If you know anything about us, you know we love us our Buzzballz, despite the fact they can only be described as angry little fist-sized pre-made cocktails. The Biggie was surprisingly good and paired well with the Shitty-Flute YouTube videos we watched as everyone got ready to hit the road. We had one more mandatory stop before the show: Hala Kahiki Tiki Bar way the fuck out in River Grove. You know a place is worth it when you are willing to go 45 minutes out of the way just to get a couple of drinks.
A few rounds of tiki drinks backed by Banana Foster shots were consumed and soon enough we were once again back inside The Bottom Lounge watching Ramona. I was under the impression that there were two bands named Ramona out there operating on different sides of the country. But Skyler schooled me that they were the same band; they just relocated from Seattle to Philadelphia. Go figure. Must not have been enough fucking Doonkin’ Doughnutz out there on the West Coast for them. We were a little late to the show, but I was able to catch the last few songs of their set which I enjoyed. Consider them added to my list of “Bands to Check Out.”
I was giddy with excitement for the next band. I just always assumed I missed the boat on American Steel, but like Cobra Skulls at Riot Fest earlier this year, here I was about to watch a band that had risen from their grave in 2018. And they fucking killed it. I couldn’t help but to dance around during “Emergency House Party” or finally be able to scream along with “Mean Streak” or shed a tear or two during “Old Croy Road.” The bummer part was that their set seemed like it was over as fast as it started. But it was hard to be mad when I knew I’d be seeing them again in a couple of days during the Matinee Show at Cobra Lounge.
The Lawrence Arms had been playing sets that spanned their entire catalog so far, even including a song or two off of “A Guided Tour of Chicago” and “Ghost Stories.” Night 1 leaned slightly towards the B-Side comp, “Cocktails and Dreams,” which (side note) I appreciate that they know some of their best songs are their “leftovers.” On Night 1, it seemed they veered into a lot of “Oh! Calcutta!” and “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” which is fucking okay by me. The theme for the night was “PC Police,” which they took literally by having Masked Intruder’s Officer Bradford come out and do his thing during their songs. He started fully clothed, writing PC tickets to The Lawrence Arms and the audience, then reemerged in a one piece wrestling leotard before taking his final form of just a jockstrap and bottle of Tito’s, pouring out shots for himself, the band, and the audience. Tonight’s Lawrence Arms encore was brought to you by, “Are You There Margaret? It’s Me, God.”
The show was over, but we were not done yet. I took it easy Thursday so I could party Friday. We headed up North to the Wrigley Triangle, that consists of The Metro (a venue), The GMan Tavern (a var), and Wrigleyville Dogs (a fast food restaurant). The Wrigley Triangle is a lot like the Bermuda Triangle, but instead of shipwrecks, you get train wrecks. Our destination was GMan with a side of Wrigleyville snacks. There is nothing quite like a pizza puff and whiskey-ginger to aid in the war. We were full and jolly and ready to continue on the front lines in the morning.
Check out our Night 1 coverage of The Lawrence Arms’ Fourth Annual War on Xmas now!