Mark Mulcahy @ the Hideout (7/25/13)

HEADLINE: Today I’m flying to Chicago to see a $12 concert in a balloon-frame house.

BACKSTORY: Have you been with me from the beginning? If so, you might remember my Top Ten Concerts to See series back on Vox. As the name would suggest, the posts featured an ever-changing list of musicians I wanted to see live. In order to qualify for the list, the artist had to be a living, potentially-touring entity I hadn’t already seen. Once I saw a band from the list, I’d mark them off and add someone else in their place.

I eventually stopped doing the Top Ten Concerts to See posts when I managed to catch up with most everyone and nobody new came along who I wanted to add. There were only three musicians still left on the list when I did my final post in the series back in 2009. And I’ve since caught up with one of those three.

One of the two remaining holdouts is Mark Mulcahy. He’s the former singer in Miracle Legion and the Adventures of Pete & Pete house-band, Polaris. He’s been releasing solo albums since 1999, but it had been eight years since the last one. I was beginning to think he’d quit for good. Well, Mark Mulcahy returned to his solo career late last year by putting out a 7″ record with a dirtbike on the front. And then he took it a step further by releasing a new full-length album last month. It’s called Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You and is one of the best things I’ve heard in 2013.

Then he announced a mini U.S. tour. Mini U.S. tour?! Oh yeah, I’m there.

DECISIVE ACTION: So today I’m flying to Chicago to see Mark Mulcahy perform at The Hideout, a tiny venue that doesn’t even have a sign in front of it. I sure hope I can find the place. Stay tuned for updates.

mark mulcahy poster #1

(consequence of sound show flyer)

DAYS LATER: Okay, one total comment over the course of three days makes this my worst performing post in all my years on WordPress.  That leads me to believe that nobody cares that I went to see Mark Mulcahy in Chicago and that it would probably be a waste of my time to type in all the details about the show. I feel I would be remiss in my duties as a concert historian, though, if I didn’t write down the setlist.  It was a great one and included most everything I wanted to hear.  Here it is…


Main set: The Rabbit/She Is Staggering (Polaris)/She Makes the World Turn Backwards/I Have Patience/Can’t Find a Reason to Let You Go/Cookie Jar/Where’s the Indifference Now?/He’s a Magnet/Saturnine (Polaris)/Love’s the Only Thing That Shuts Me Up/The Cottage That We Rented Had a Name/The Ladies From Town (Miracle Legion)/Let the Fireflies Fly Away/The Quiet One/Bill Jocko

Encore: Hey Self Defeater (solo)/Waiting For October (Polaris)

TWO PICTURES: Here’s that picture of the Hideout I promised.  As you can see, it’s a tiny place with nothing more than an “Old Style Cold Beer” sign to advertise it.  There’s a bar in the front room and music is played in the back.  The back room has wood paneled walls, Christmas lights on the ceiling, and I watched most of the show from beneath a mounted fish.  Yes, it’s that kind of place.

the hideout

(balloon-frame house)

And I typically take one shot at every concert just so I’ll be able to remember where I was in relation to the stage.  So here’s “Gaseous Mark Mulcahy w/Shaky Lights”:

blurry mulcahy

(gaseous mark mulcahy w/shaky lights)

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15 Responses to Mark Mulcahy @ the Hideout (7/25/13)

  1. Laurie says:

    Good luck on your quest, and take a photo of the venue if you find it, because “balloon house” sound intriguing.

    • M-----l says:

      Thanks. I’m sitting in the Cincinnati airport right now waiting for my flight to board. I’m using their sporadic wifi and staring mindlessly into an Apple product. Just like everybody else!

      I will definitely get a picture of the Hideout and post it here for you to see.

  2. homebody says:

    I care! Happy birthday!

  3. homebody says:

    And I’m really glad you finally got to see him!

  4. Vishy says:

    Nice to know that you got to see most of your favourite top-10 list musicians perform live. Hope you had a great time at the Mark Mulcahy concert. It is interesting that he took a break for eight years and came back with an album. It is also wonderful to know that you loved that album – it is difficult to make a comeback like that, I think. I would love to listen to his music sometime. Thanks for writing about him.

    • M-----l says:

      You might have heard him already depending on which copy of Nick Hornby’s 31 Songs you have. Did you get the kind that came with a CD of the songs? If so, Mark Mulcahy’s song “Hey Self Defeater” is on that. Either way, Hornby included the song in his book of musical essays.

      • Vishy says:

        I didn’t read the edition of the Hornby book with the CD, M—–l. I wish I had got that. I will try to read that essay again and listen to Mulcahy’s ‘Hey Self Defeater’. Which of Mulcahy’s songs are your favourites?

        • M-----l says:

          My favorites include “In the Afternoon”, “Cookie Jar”, “I Have Patience”, and a new one called “Let the Fireflies Fly Away”. At least those are the ones that pop into my head right now.

          I think the highlight from the concert I saw was probably a short song called “Love’s the Only Thing That Shuts Me Up.” Here’s an unofficial video someone made for the song (in case you have an extra minute and ten seconds):

  5. homebody says:

    Incidentally, the Miracle Legion’s “The Backyard” has been one of my all-time favorite songs since 1984 or 1985. I think I first heard the song on WMUC-FM, and I bought the 12″ at either the Record Exchange in the University of Maryland College Park Student Union or the little record store that used to be in the College Park Shopping Center (I think it was called Kemp Mill Records).

    • M-----l says:

      You were hip to Mark Mulcahy long before me. I first heard of him when a forgotten magazine (Uncut?) included his first solo album, Fathering, on their Best of 1999 list. I liked their description of the music, but I was mostly convinced to get the CD by the cover art…which depicts a man holding a monkey on his shoulder.

      Mark Mulcahy has been performing “The Backyard” in recent concerts, but he didn’t play it at the one I went to. He only played one Miracle Legion song, “The Ladies From Town”. He did, however, play three songs off the Polaris record. Those seemed to get the biggest audience reaction.

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  7. mc2 says:

    I’ve been out of town on vacation with my wife and kids so I’m a little late on my reply to this great post. I’m super jealous of you seeing Mark Mulcahy in Chicago at that cool looking little venue. When I got back from vacation, I had waiting for me in the pile of mail the new Mulcahy CD and the Scared to Get Happy box set I had ordered online, along with the new album by British band Electric Soft Parade. Those discs are all currently in rotation in my car CD changer. You were right about the Mark Mulcahy album, it’s fantastic and will be in my top 10 list of 2013 more than likely. As for the box set, I’m still digesting it and haven’t yet listened to all the discs but there is definitely some really great stuff on there, much of which I haven’t heard before.

    • M-----l says:

      I’m going to lead with the Scared to Get Happy box set in my next “adventures in music acquisition” post. I’m enjoying the music, but I’ve definitely got a problem with one aspect of the product. I might even rant!

      Mark Mulcahy was great and will probably go down as my concert of the year (there have only been a handful this year, but still). Do you have a membership over at Daytrotter? They released a four song Mark Mulcahy session yesterday. I haven’t listened to it yet, but it includes “Let the Fireflies Fly Away” and “Love’s the Only Thing That Shuts Me Up”. Those were two of the highlights of the show I saw.

      I’ve heard of a 60s band called the Soft Parade but I’m not familiar with the Electric Soft Parade.

  8. Pingback: The Best Things I Heard All Year | Outgoing Signals

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