Tour Diary – Chicago, Ill (March 19, 2010)

(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 doubleheader was north of Wrigleyville in the Lincoln Square area. The locals I met told me the area had originally been a German neighborhood and signs of the influence were prevalent along the streets. I set out to find deep-dish pizza and ended up with a delicious thin crust pie. I guess some of my New York soul remains intact.

The Old Town School of Folk is exactly that, with students and classes happening all around me as I meandered the halls. I caught an impromptu performance by a 10 year old on the violin with her teacher on guitar that garnered a standing ovation from her family. Good vibes in this place. The concert hall was built with folk performances in mind and the sound was warm and the acoustics perfect. Despite the close proximity of every seat to the stage, the high ceilings let the sound ebb and flow throughout the night. For the more delicate material, it was as good a performance hall can sound.

The shows were completely unique tonight. In the early show, the connection between music, band, and crowd never felt completely in sync. Knowing there is an entire second show gives the night a weird vibe as someone has to always be aware of the clock. When the second show started a little past 11pm, the lights were brought down darker than I’ve ever seen at a Junkies show. Margo’s reading light was the brightest spot in the room and Jeff and Pete worked in shadows. Every song flowed into the next
creating a singular musical focus so narrow that it could rest on the head of a pin but with such depth that each new song took the listener deeper into a sonic jungle. It was a chill inducing night of music.

Opening both shows tonight was Grant Lee Phillips formerly of Grant Lee Buffalo. His voice had a Jeff Buckley tone and his new material sounds very focused. During all this wonderful music, the temperature dropped about 30 degrees and snow is forecasted for tomorrow’s drive to Minnesota. Onward.

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