As the street festival season concludes with all the Oktoberfests going on across the city, so concludes the era of watching live music outside while drinking and eating and jumping up and down on a soon-to-be potholed street. I for one am glad festival season is over.
Wicker Park Fest is one of many festivals I have tried to enjoy over the years, but once you pay the “suggested donation,” fork over eight bucks for beer, get bumped into by one of numerous bros in those rompers who greet one another and begin every other sentence with “brah!” (followed by a pause that is a tad bit too long), and maybe get pickpocketed or bump into some casual acquaintance whose name you can’t remember and they insist you hang out with them and their obnoxious summer fling they will call “bae” because maybe they don’t know his name, the appeal of drinking on the street has lost its luster.
Also, it’s hot, And why are there kids here?! (Isn’t that what those summer camps are for?)
As much as I loathe street festivals, this show from Veruca Salt looks like it was a great time. Can you believe they have been a band for 25 years?! And they met through Lili Taylor! Yes, the same Lili Taylor who’s in High Fidelity, Six Feet Under and that remake of The Haunting with Catherine Zeta-Jones, who was trying to get into her pants that her character probably bought at K-Mart. It probably was worth enduring all the awful stuff I mentioned in the previous paragraph.
And I almost went to see them. They were playing Sunday night, the second night of the festival, which attracts somewhere between 60,000 to 70,000 people, all crammed on Milwaukee Ave. I was in the neighborhood (well, north of the area, at Map Room) and was walking down Damen. I have noticed that a bunch of people were walking down the alley that is directly underneath the "L." It looked like they were looking for a way to sneak in. I followed them.
Despite living in Chicago all my life, I had never seen Veruca Salt live. Not once. And they’re a great band and I don’t have an excuse for not seeing them. This is one of the downsides of living in a city with such a large selection of live music and bands available. There often isn’t enough time to see them all. I continue to walk down the alley towards Paulina and see people entering into back walkways or try to hop over a fence or a roof. I never got in. It had been a long day and I was convinced that it wasn’t worth all the awful stuff I mentioned before.
And yet, I will be heading over to an Oktoberfest over in Logan Square after work today (and after I submit this and try to focus on work on one of my other browser tabs). Why, you ask? Well, this fest is hosted by Revolution Brewery and I get a commemorative stein that I can reuse for more beer and also use for water at the office.
I already missed out on Veruca Salt, who from viewing other clips of them live sure know how to captivate an audience. I’m sure have plenty of shows to perform for thousands of beer-guzzling fans, both outdoors and indoors (I may opt for a place with functioning toilets.) But the day before, on Saturday July 25, 2015, guess which headlining act for that summer’s Wicker Park Fest I missed out on, not even remembering now what I ended up doing instead that night? The great--and now depressingly late--Charles Bradley.