Bad Copy

The Lawrence Arms
Show Review

War on Xmas: Night 3 – Lawrence Arms, Nothington, & Sass Dragons in Chicago, IL

Yule Gravest Words

Photo: Patrick Houdek
Fest 16

I had a hard time getting up Saturday morning. I said I was going to go hard Friday, and I’ll be a god damn son of a bitch if I’ll be made a liar. Eventually, I made it out of bed and settled for the couch. At least the couch has TV. My girlfriend Kaylin was all but dead herself from joining us late the night before, and in-between her puking spells, we watched shitty Christmas movies like The Santa Clause and The Santa Clause 2. They were oddly the fifth and sixth Tim Allen movies I had watched in as many days. Eventually I got sick of watching Kaylin be sick, and I went and met the crew at Kuma’s Corner. Mike Morales was about halfway done with his awesome looking burger and donated the rest to my own personal cause, while Rory Henderson was dressed like some sort of bad after school special teacher. David and Kendra where there too, both also alive despite our best efforts.

As great as Kuma’s is, we had a show to get to. We all piled into my car and made our way back to David’s for a couple of pre-show drinks and bad country music videos. And I mean bad. I’m talking about this current honky tonk autotune rap country or whatever the fuck those idiots are attempting to do. And Toby Keith. Woof. Anyway, by the time we took a Lyft to the Bottom Lounge we missed Sass Dragons, an unfortunate act, but you can’t really rush Dierks Bentley’s “Drunk on a Plane.”

We did make it in time for Nothington though! Yay. I have a history of thinking Nothington is a really fucking boring band and so does Mike. So we took turns making fun of them, smoking cigarettes outside, and drinking. The few moments I did actually listen to them play, I still wasn’t impressed. They seem to embody the worst elements of the ‘Org’ core genre, and manage to do a fucking mediocre job of even that. Like if you threw Hot Water Music, Dillinger Four, and Jawbreaker’s sound in blender and had four dudes all named ‘John’ play the outcome. Middle of the road.

Luckily, we still had The Lawrence Arms to redeem the remainder of the night. And redeem they did. Tonight, they played heavily off The Greatest Story Ever Told to the sold out, rowdy crowd. I was back on my leaning beam, and took note that The Lawrence Arms managed to not repeat a single song all weekend. Towards the end of the set, Brendan Kelly said he had a present for all of us, and the Arms sprang into a cover of Operation Ivy’s “Knowledge.” It was an out of left field choice of a song to cover, but one that just fucking worked. Eventually, their time was at a close, and The Lawrence Arms signed off for the night. That was until a particularly weak “one more song” chant began which was quickly overtaken by a stronger “Hen-nes-sy” chant. The crowd waited in anticipation. Would the band come back out? Was this really the end of The War on Christmas? The Lawrence Arms crept back onstage to a roar of applause. Tonight they would not leave the people hanging, despite giving every ounce of themselves already. They obliged the hungry crowd with two more songs, “Brick Wall Views” and “The Ramblin’ Boys of Pleasure,” before finally saying goodnight and leaving for good.

Do you see? Do you see how fucking stupid encores are?

Anyway, we had a choice to make after the show. Where do we continue this fucking party? Options were abound. People were going to GMan to finish off the night. We did not go there. Instead we opted to head to fucking Sidekicks, which for the first time ever, was crowded as shit. So we opted for Plan B, Bialystok Pub, which I thought for years was called the Alley Stock. Some jock fucking douche bro fucks bought me a shot of half pickle juice and half Malort, and that was the final straw. Between being old and exhausted from the weekend and the terrible karaoke ladies that were only made bearable because Mike jumped onstage and basically took over, I was done. My party tank was on E. Luckily the place was closing so we basically had to leave, otherwise I was mere seconds from secretly calling a Lyft, and ghosting the fuck out of there. Good thing I didn’t because we stopped at this laundry mat slash grocery store that I didn’t know existed and I was able to buy an obscene amount of meat and cheese for the journey home. Hallelujah.

And that was that. The War on Christmas was officially over. I had survived my second attempt at what Kendra dubbed “The War on Myself”. I even walked away with a valuable lesson learned: take the fucking Friday off after the Thursday show, you fucking turd. That and always buckle up or Rory will be disappointed.

Merry fucking Christmas, you doinks. See you in 2018.

** below photos by Kendra Sheetz

** below photos by Patrick Houdek

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