Monday, May 1, 2017

Pissed Jeans - 4/28/17 @ Empty Bottle, Chicago, IL

I haven't been on Facebook as often over the past couple weeks, but I still managed to notice a new concert meme.  I felt like participating in that and adding Pissed Jeans to the list.  This show already famously recreated the same lineup (The Catburglars, STNNG)  from the first time they played in Chicago in 2008.  In 2008, I knew a little about the band, but I wouldn't have gone out of my way to see them.  This was not going very far out of my way, and only cost $10.  Advance tickets were sold out however, so I needed to show up at 9 PM.  I checked the set times after being admitted, probably the 25th person in line or so.  PJ did not go on until Midnight, so I had some time to kill.

I don't write reviews of every concert I see.  I felt the need to do it for Shellac because, even though it was not my first time seeing them, my appreciation for them had deepened recently.  This is also the case for PJ, but additionally in this case, I spent much more.  I spent more than necessary at Shellac because I actually had an extra ticket go to waste, because the girl I bought them from would only sell them as a pair.  It was worth it for me for $45, but perhaps I felt the need to memorialize it because of spending that extra amount.  Here, something similar has happened, as I spent about $60 on the whole experience, and felt terrible the next day (though I think the weather exacerbated my feelings)--but it's not really been about the money.  Here, it is to share all of my awkward experiences with you.  I asked a couple friends if they wanted to go with me, but they all declined or failed to respond.  I didn't know about this show until about 2 PM that day, and I got super excited.

So as mentioned above, I had some time to kill after entering at 9, and I started by having a PBR draft as it was only $3.  I drank it relatively fast and walked around the venue, sat down on the raised stage part and looked at my phone for a while, reading the latest e-mail from a pen pal.  I played the Neo Geo game for $0.25, which was fun even though it was basically like playing an arcade version of Snood.  I left, and went to a fast casual restaurant, Leghorn.  I went back in, and had another drink.  I walked over to my spot on the raised stage from before and watched the Catburglars.  They were primarily entertaining for their frontman, who was hilarious.  For some reason I feel like this was a reunion show?  They played fast, very repetitive riffs, and their singer was somewhat laconic, but then also extremely fierce at times.  For some reason he kind of reminded me of Milo Aukerman?  Anyways I think he is married and a dad now, and the most memorable moment of their set came when he apologized for making sexist and misogynistic statements in the past, and he thanked the people that called him out on it.  Everybody clapped but somebody shouted "booo" and he was like, "Who's boo-ing? Do you really want to be known as less woke than the Catburglars?" In short, they cracked me up and they were fun.

After their set, I went out and bummed a smoke off someone.  He was with his friend, the only real PJ fan in their group of 4, that had advance tickets (on his birthday), and I chatted with them briefly.  They were very nice, a few years older than me probably, but not more than 10, and I mentioned to them about seeing who I thought was Matt Korvette at their merch table and how he left shortly after I saw him, as if seeking to avoid an impending awkward conversation.

Talking about it gave me more resolve, and I saw him there again and decided to talk to him.  I told him an extremely awkward story about a previous experience I had at Empty Bottle, involving Mac Mccaughan, in his place, basically, as the object of all my awkward affection.  I really do love them both, but Mac has truly been an idol of mine for many years now.  Anyways that is what I said when I approached him.  I was like, "Oh man, I idolize you!"  He was super nice, and he was like, "Thank you."  He asked my name and we shook hands.  And I told him this awkward story and maybe I will post it below in the comments if anyone cares, because I have written about it, and his reaction was like, "Oh no, hang in there."  And then I basically apologized for telling the story, because there was really nothing relevant about it, except that it was the second artist encounter, and the first one nearly resulted in a situation oddly related to the name of the second.  As I struggled with whether to say anything else, the second band thundered onto the stage, and I told him I was excited to see them and said goodbye.

I really did not pay much attention.  I think my mind was fixated on how badly I had messed up my opportunity to talk to Matt Korvette.  So I finished a third drink, another PBR draft, and went to the ATM and paid a $2.75 surcharge basically in order to get a t-shirt.  But I only had three dollars left and wanted one more drink.  I also went out to bum another smoke.

There I met Danny, who was not actually the one to give me the smoke, but had also questioned this on-the-spot friend regarding vegetation in Chicago, specifically trees, and to name some different types of greenery, at which point "deciduous" was uttered, and an understanding was reached.  This person left though, and another (Bill) replaced him, as audience to Danny's musings, which were quite entertaining.  He recommended the City Museum in St. Louis, as I mentioned I might take a weekend trip there this summer.  Then he and Bill got going on Black Sabbath, as Bill mentioned seeing Dio at Pop's in St. Louis.  I asked them which were the best Sabbath albums and they both agreed the first one was the place to start and that I should listen to it.  They also said Master of Reality was very good, and then there were 2 later albums--maybe Dehumanizer was one of them?  In any case I listened to these the next day I could not really get into them.  They made me paranoid and kind of scared and sad.  But I had a good time talking to Danny and then I went in and got my last drink and tried to get the best spot I could as the band would be going on in a few minutes.

Setlist as I remember it:
I'm a Man
Boring Girls
The Bar is Low
Have You Ever Been Furniture?
(Won't Tell You) My Sign
Romanticize Me
Love without Emotion
Worldwide Marine Asset Financial Analyst
False Jesii, Part 2
Half Idiot
Pleasure Race
She is Science Fiction
Bathroom Laughter
Some other song where MK played guitar

There are more than a few songs I am missing, and this order is totally off.  But I know for sure they played all those songs, and it was awesome!  I had told the birthday guy outside that I would be satisfied if they played "Boring Girls" and he said they would probably play it.  It was fantastic, and here is a video of it, where you can see MK give a girl a dollar from the stage hilariously.

However, I also took video of the first song, which I was impressed to see recreated on stage.  It is worth seeing.  It was a cool way of doing what stands out as one of the more unusual tracks PJ has done.

And here is the aforementioned scorcher of an opener:

The other highlights for me were "Worldwide Marine Asset Financial Analyst," "False Jesii, Part 2," and "Bathroom Laughter."  So I haven't captured the most rousing moments of the set, but I also felt like an idiot holding my phone up.  I really hate being one of those guys.  It appears that the last two songs are over 100 megabytes and so cannot be uploaded.  The closing song, I swear during that MK said, "This song is for the Chicago Bulls," who had been eliminated by the Celtics earlier that evening.  

After the show, I bought a t-shirt and maybe I will update this one day soon and show the picture of the shirt as I did with Shellac.  Later I regretted getting this t-shirt because I do not think my mom would appreciate it if I wore it to be photographed with her.

In short, I had a wonderful time at the show--but too wonderful of a time.  I paid for it the next day with severe depression, which was probably exacerbated by watching Manchester by the Sea later that evening.  But I have zero complaints about PJ--though on the ride home, ironically, "Slow Drip" by Superchunk came on my playlist, followed by "Human Upskirt" by PJ and I reflected that it was one of the few songs, along with "Cat House," that I would have liked to hear.  But I loved the set, I wish they just got to play for 90 minutes instead of 60--but then maybe you wouldn't have the $10 cover.  Everybody was super nice and polite to me for it being such a hardcore show, except for the one guy that kind of shoved me meanly in the mosh pit.  I highly recommend you see PJ if you ever get the opportunity.  I told their drummer, after getting the t-shirt from him, that I hoped they would be back before 2020 (but if not I understood).  If they ever come back and Matt is available to talk, I will have much more interesting topics of conversation prepared.