I used to live in Chicago, but that was a long time ago and I hadn’t been back since 2002. Well, I decided it was time to revisit my old stomping ground with a spur-of-the-moment road trip. I went for two reasons. First off, I wanted to see that Mirror Bean all the kids are talking about. (Sorry, but I refuse to call a bean with mirrors on it Cloud Gate.) The sculpture was dedicated in 2006, so I’d never actually seen it for myself.
The second reason I went to Chicago was that I found out Kings of Convenience were performing at the Metro on Thursday night. I like the band and it’s not easy to catch up with them considering they’re from Norway and all. I figured I should take the opportunity to see them so I wouldn’t end up regretting it later on.
So I went to Chicago. I had some time to kill in the afternoon, so I went for a look at the Mirror Bean. It was just about the coolest thing The World of Art has ever created. I got the idea to take its picture. Some other people copied me.
Then I walked over to the very disappointing downtown branch of Reckless Records. They played crappy ska over their sound system, their selection was poor, and all their CDs were displayed in the stupidest manner I’ve ever seen. They put the CD’s booklet–or a photocopy of it–in a plastic sleeve with a piece of paper sticking out of it with that CD’s title and pricing information on it. The most annoying part is that I had to read the sticker to figure out what I was looking at because the sticker covered up the cover art. And their “alphabetical order” had little relation to any alphabet I’m familiar with. Still, they were the best record store I found during my trip. Poor city.
I walked around some more and eventually made my way over to a fancypants cupcakery Michellemybelle had recommended. She said More Cupcakes was at the corner of State and Delaware, but I didn’t see anything there except a Starbucks and some condos. I spent ten minutes searching a block in each direction before I noticed the closet-sized store hidden right next door to the Starbucks. I went on in hoping to get a Red Velvet for lunch, but all their Red Velvets said “Way To Go, Hawks!” on them in celebration of some feat the local hockey club had performed the night before. I’m a firm believer that hockey is a sport for towns with underperforming football and baseball teams. Apparently it’s not cool to say that aloud, though. The cupcakery went silent and I was forced to order a coconut cupcake and head for the door.
Then I went to a slightly better Reckless Records and bought an autographed Joe Pernice demos disc for $1. The sad state of Chicago’s record stores made me want to jump in front of the L, but I went over to Wrigleyville instead and saw that Kings of Convenience concert I think I may have mentioned at the beginning of this post.
They were fantastic. The show began with Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe playing an acoustic version of “My Ship Isn’t Pretty” to a hushed audience. It ended an hour and forty-five minutes later with a boisterous cover of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” that featured a dance-off between Øye and just about the entire Metro crowd. He was down in the audience dancing around like a nerdy scarecrow while Bøe and the opening act (a band called Franklin For Short) were ripping it up onstage. It was that kind of show.
Here’s the setlist:
Main set: My Ship Isn’t Pretty/Cayman Islands/Love Is No Big Truth/I Don’t Know What I Can Save You From/Me In You/24-25/Singing Softly to Me->The Girl From Back Then/Mrs. Cold/Peacetime Resistance/Boat Behind/Misread/Freedom and Its Owner/Stay Out of Trouble/Rule My World/I’d Rather Dance With You
Encore: Homesick/Know-How/You Can Call Me Al (Paul Simon)
Of course, here are my Kings of Convenience pictures and scans:
And here are some pictures relating to all the non-concert stuff that made up the vast majority of this sloppy, poorly-thought-out post. Hey, cut me some slack. I’ve slept about three hours over the course of the last two nights.