I got off work at 4:30PM and immediately sent out a text to David and Kendra. I was fucking ready to go. I made it to my car. Nothing. I drove all the way home. Nothing. I hopped in the shower and as soon as I had soap in my eyes I heard the unmistakable ‘bzzz-bzzz’ sound of a fresh new text message. I washed myself as fast as possible, sacrificing cleanliness for potential shenanigans, hopped out of the shower, and saw a message from my mom telling me to be safe tonight. Fuck.
I got dressed and was out the door to the store to pick up some pre-game drinks when I saw the message from David, “Qwe didn’t sleep. Come over please. Bring beer and soda water. Help.” Oh no. A thirty rack of High Lifes and some soda water from the store later, I was walking up David’s porch when I greeted by the biggest hug from the smallest dudes I have ever received in my entire life. It was Mike Morales and David Holtz, and they were druuuuuunk. Apparently, Mike flew a red-eye into Chicago from Los Angeles and drank instead of going to bed, and David and Kendra stayed up from the night before and also drank instead of sleep. I went upstairs to find Kendra laying on the couch. Apparently she had taken over the blankets identity or was the blanket or some dumb shit that only makes sense when you’re delirious. I just started pounding High Lifes, I had a long road to go down if I wanted to try and catch up to these heathens. When that didn’t work, I switched to Tito’s and soda as I watched Mike light up a smoke mid-conversation with David in the dining room. It wasn’t until Mike was looking for a place to put his cigarette out on that David even noticed what was happening, “You can’t smoke in here. Go by the window and you can smoke in here.” Kendra the blanket slinked off and disappeared for the rest of the night, but was replaced with good guy Rory Henderson. The Tito’s started to take its hold of me, Mike fell like a ton of bricks onto the couch in full blown snore mode (I kicked him as hard as I could to try and wake him up, nada), and it was finally time to head to the Bottom Lounge for the second night of The Lawrence Arm’s Annual War on Christmas.
The Bottom Lounge was easily four times the size of the Cobra Lounge, but was still packed to the brim. Rory bought me a shot and a drink from the bar (thanks), and headed off with David backstage as I stood there and watched Blood People play. I don’t remember much, just the fact that I didn’t hate what I heard. I made all sort of mental notes about the band, but they were kidnapped by Jameson and Tito’s. Whelp. Good thing they are from Chicago and I live in Chicago and I’ll hopefully get to see them again. Maybe sober. Probably not.
David kept coming out from the backstage area and bringing me beers, so that was cool. Before Teenage Bottlerocket started, I saw my Portland buddies Josh and Brittany in the middle of the crowd and made my way over to say hey. Unfortunately, as soon as TBR started playing, I puked a little in my mouth and had to run to the bathroom. The puke was unrelated to TBR beginning to play… I’m pretty sure. At any rate, after I washed my mouth out a little and smoked a cigarette outside, my drunk brain decided that going to the McDonald’s across the street was a good idea, so I did that. I sat in the corner and smashed a McDouble and a McChicken together and ate the sad concoction while Teenage Bottlerocket probably played “Bloodbath at Burger King” 50 yards away.
I did feel better though and worked my way back to the venue with a new Tecate in hand for The Lawrence Arms. There was a good leaning beam that I claimed as my own as The Larry Arms played a heavy dose of Metropole. I mean, 6 out of 17 songs is a pretty heavy dose when you’re splitting the other 11 songs between various other albums. Fuck you, I’m not doing set math again. I didn’t give a shit, mind you; I love Metropole. The crowd was larger and into it as well, dancing violently and crowd surfing all over the place. Every once in a while Brendan Kelly would try and say something about Christmas, but either I was drunk or he was because I never understood anything that dude tried to say. After The Lawrence Arms encored, the crowd animorphed into plastic cups, that or they just left the venue and every single person threw a cup on the ground on the way out. Maybe it was some sort of tradition I was unaware of, or maybe people are just giant pieces of shit who can’t clean up after themselves. What I’m trying to say is throw your garbage in the trash can, you fucking idiots.
Eventually David found me and got me backstage as well, where I ate bomb ass salsa and had a few beers while we all decided what our plan for the rest of the night was. Eventually, we decided on a house party in lieu of the GMan since: A. It would be cheaper and less crowded and 2. Everyone already gave David the money to buy a bunch of booze. And just like that I was at an Airbnb in Chicago with people from The Lawrence Arms, Sincere Engineer, Teenage Bottlerocket, American Steel, Red Scare Industries, and more. It was fucking bizarre, and I have no idea how i found myself in that situation. Then Toby Jeg yelled at me for not liking the new Flatliners album and I remembered that all my ‘hard’ work has not gone unnoticed and that I have actually carved out my own itty bitty little tiny notch in this scene and that’s really fucking cool to me.
By the time I made it to my bed it was 6:30 in the morning and the sun was coming up. The War on Christmas had finally truly began.
TO BE CONCLUDED…
** below photos by Patrick Houdek