So it seems I was one of the very few NOT in attendance at the Grizzly Bear show on Friday. It was a great lineup but I wanted to give other bands a chance. Very few agreed with this notion, since bars seemed to be near empty until Grizzly Bear let out. Then chaos sunk in. What you are about to see are a series of photos from the night as it progressed. First up, Spirit is the Spirit at Record bar.
Their energy was high, even though the crowd was far from capacity. Their set continued to build on itself, settling in nicely for night two of Middle of the Map.
Next up were The ACBs at Gusto Lounge. It may have been the tiny hall that the Gusto resides in, but this place was packed. There really is no stage, so it was a little tricky getting to the “front” for pictures. These guys had great energy and obviously had fans in tow for the show. They were teasing the band between songs, shouting, “Play a better one now!” Laughs were had and the band stepped up their game. The chemistry with these guys seemed unbreakable, and I would suggest checking them out sometime.
After The ACBs, I was hearing some hype about a band called Ice Age, from Denmark, playing at Riot Room next. I had briefly been told they were a punk rock band but those words didn’t resonate in my mind as, “beware of camera failure”, at least not until they started their set. The foursome seemed to mope about on stage until they struck their first chords, then as if on fire, their lead singer, started slashing about on stage and the mic stand nearly knocked me unconscious before I’d even heard the chorus! As if that wasn’t dangerous enough, the fans started to react to his manner and began moshing around me, sloshing their beers left and right. I maintained my position through the first song. Thankfully, he politely asked that all the photographers remove themselves from the front of the stage for the second song. As soon as I had passed to the side, he lunged himself into the crowd, sending them into a frenzy of dance moves indescribable with the English language. Punk rock music has never been my go to sound but I sure as hell enjoyed watching these guys give it their all on that stage. It’s rare these days that we are also treated to a crowd just as reactionary as the singer. At one point, a patron removed his flannel shirt and flung it at the singer. I just so happened to have snapped a shot of the exact moment that man’s shirt momentarily blinded Ice Age’s singer.
My biggest goal of the night was to see Kitten headline the Union at 1 am. Is Home Is was the talent who warmed up the crowd beforehand. He was a DJ from Iowa with some simple lighting under his table and a handmade shirt that said FUCK YES. The crowd was sort of lame for his set and that was too bad because he put on a good show and deserved a bigger audience. Everyone was over at Riot Room, however, catching JEFF the Brotherhood.
Almost on time, Kitten took the basement stage of The Union to a packed house. I had been told before the show that singer Chloe had been spotted at another bar earlier, slamming drinks back. In case you didn’t know, she is only 18. It wasn’t six minutes into the show though, before everyone there knew that fact as she blatantly slurred out into the mic that she was only 18 and drunk. The set was cut short with only two songs (if that’s what we have to call them) being played. She was so inebriated that she never sang a single lyric to her songs, opting instead to chant, “1 2 3 4” over and over. Or simply mouthing inaudible vowels into the mic. She was more interested in crowd-surfing, or maybe just being touched by the crowd, I couldn’t decide. She randomly kept shouting out a man’s name as if she knew someone in the crowd, but never made direct eye contact long enough to point out who it was. At one point, being in the front for photos, I had to put my camera down and try to untangle her bare feet from the Christmas lights stapled to the low-hanging ceiling while she crowd surfed. I was certain I was about to see this girl get electrocuted when she also wouldn’t let go of the power cables running along the ceiling. I made a hasty decision to move aside before she tried to jump in the crowd again, and or vomit on the crowd. (Thankfully, this did not happen). Before we knew it, the show was over. The guitarist had had enough and called it quits. Although there were only two songs played, no one seemed greatly disappointed. In fact, most people were standing around outside The Union telling their stories of what just happened to those that hadn’t even made it in yet. She may never get to play here again, or this may have been the show that breaks the band up but one thing’s for sure, everyone went home with a wild story tonight. Let’s see what Saturday can bring!
photo and story by Angela Davis