(Jason Lent has forsaken the island paradise of Hawaii to follow us around for a few months. I have happily placed the tour diary in his capable hands. It should bring a new perspective to our ramblings.)
Tonight’s show was in Evanston, one of the northern towns that make up the small country known as Chicagoland. Coming from an island, the immensity of Chicagoland is hard to comprehend at times. It’s like a spider monkey hopped up on Red Bull was set loose in a game of Sim City. Highways and concrete stretch to the horizon everywhere you look and the highways intermingle and change names randomly. I missed a few exits today.
Evanston sits on Lake Michigan and I made a point to find a beach and set foot in the sand, albeit quite briefly. The venue was an aging hipster art space attached to a trendy restaurant with a fantastic beer menu. The venue was the sort of place that drives sound engineers nuts with exposed brick walls that deflect sound in unintended directions and a small stage that put the musicians in a tight cluster. The vibe and the lighting of the room helped to compensate for the sound and it felt like a groovy place to catch a show.
The band and crowd spent the first few songs getting to know each other before the energy started to crackle with a rocking version of “Stranger Here” from the upcoming album. Two rarely played (and greatly loved) selections from The Caution Horses album sounded exquisite. “Shining Moon” leaves the same station every night but the destination often changes. Tonight, Jeff’s harmonica catapulted the jam through a haze of blue.
With no back stage or side stage to retreat to, Margo sought shelter at a table of fans while the boys took “Working On a Building” for a walk. When the show ended, the lack of space forced a violation of Rock School 101 and the band simply stayed on stage for the encore. Someone requested “Lost My Driving Wheel” and the band was kind enough to oblige. Another comfortable night of music wrapped up and the tour bus set its sights on Iowa. In a few hours, I’ll do the same with my borrowed Honda Civic…