Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Current jam: BØRN' "Seeing Stars."

Stumbled across this late night performance by BØRNS a few days ago and I really dig the energy. I also did not know until today the singer was a dude! And his drummer kicks ass. hell, the whole band kicks ass and just looks like they're having so much fun. I'm adding them to my list of bands to see at lollapalooza for sure.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Forty-three.

Photo by GlitterGuts!
This is the first time I think I’ve ever worked on my birthday. Sure, there were years when I was a talent buyer that I guess I technically “worked” on my birthday, but those evenings were always filled with showcases of favorite local bands basically playing my birthday party. Not really “work,” huh?

But this year I ran short on vacation days due to, you know, raking time off to get married, so instead of taking the day off I’m at the 9-to-5, which I have to admit does make the day feel a little less special. On top of that, since the last month has basically been both ecstatic and utterly draining—again, that whole wedding thing—it’s hard to feel like ye olde forty-third birthday is really anything to get excited about. I have no party planned this year, no get-together with friends. Heck, I don’t even know where (or if) there will be a birthday dinner tonight with Mich.

At the same time, I am excited about ye olde forty-three. First of all, I’ve made it this far! And for that I am immensely grateful. And this is my first birthday as a married guy! Something else I am grateful for. This is also the first birthday where I am actually beginning to feel mortality deep in my bones, as the realization I may be over halfway done with my journey sets in. I mean, I hope I’m not at the halfway point yet, but still! There’s that possibility. And it’s something that I’ve only recently really started to grapple with. I’ve been gifted with a resilient constitution, but mortal I still am.

So in some ways forty-three seems like an arbitrary number; it’s not a traditional “milestone” like thirty or forty (or my favorite, thirty-five, when I was eligible to run for president) but in its own way I think it’s a milestone for me. For me forty-three marks a new chapter in my personal journey.

So let’s go.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Best Best man speech ever, IMHO.

Keep nailed it. And thanks to Pete for accompanying him and Aubrey for shooting the video (especially since I was in such a state of surprise there was no as I was going to do that).

Friday, June 26, 2015

Pride.

WOW. So huge. So overdue. And such terrific news.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

You too.


When arranging for tickets the band's publicist asked me about my personal history with U2. I said I'd been a fan since high school and still regretted missing the Zoo TV tour. He responded he regretted missing that tour as well, but he was two at the time it happened.

Jesus I'm old.

Anyway, last night was the first time I saw U2 play live, and they did not disappoint.

An aside: I ran into DeRo and Kot last night (and other writers who will go unnamed because why bother) since we were seated next to each other in the same row and realized a) i still don't think Greg and I have said more than two words to each other IRL and b) when Jim mentioned I definitely got the better end of the deal in my marriage I realize he did too, which then led me to realize how incredibly lucky we both were that we write about music and stumbled into spouses that actually think that's cool / sexy! How insane is that?!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I'm seeing U2 tonight

This is not something I thought would ever happen.

And 15-year-old me is super jealous.

But 42-year-old me is just super interested to see this new sound design I keep hearing about for the show.

What can 15-year-old and 42-year-old me agree upon?

We're both huge nerds.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Totally random.

That Taylor Swift album is really holding up, after months and months and plenty of repeated listens. If I was to amend my year end list I think now it would've been totally worthy of a spot.

Monday, June 22, 2015

That was one helluva party!

A couple bullets, primarily to myself, about our wedding party last Saturday at The Hideout.

  • I’m touched by how many people came, and how much fun they opened up to have—especially since there were incredibly disparate groups of people who have been friends through various eras in both my and Michelle’s lives.
  • Keep’s Kermit the Frog “Rainbow Connection” with Pete on guitar, and the spontaneous sing-along segments that happened almost made me cry, I was so filled with emotion and the happy.
  • Not one morsel of Lille’s Q BBQ survived the night. I had hoped for leftovers but should have known that was never going to happen. I hear folks went back for seconds and thirds and how could they not? Also, the ten-year-old bottle of bourbon they gifted me with? Yet another reason to love that joint.
  • Maria, the matron of Honor, can spit some solid rhymes and her rap about Mich (with a hilarious nod to me) was a lot of fun.
  • Oh my god the staff of The Hideout was amazing. Every single person. It is literally impossible for me to sufficiently display my gratitude for their participation in the evening through writing so let’s just leave it at that. What an amazing, gracious bunch of folks.
  • I should’ve invited Andrew WK. 
  • I love that Mich and my families get along so well, and I love being part of a new family I love so much. And to all the support offered by those families over the last few weeks? I can’t say thank you enough times.
  • I should’ve invited The Coldplay Turtle.
  • Rudy's performance, just him and his guitar, was another stunner of the evening. And he also performed the best version of "Sea Of Love" I have ever heard.
  • Of course I ended up in the DJ booth by the end of the night.
  • My only regret is that I don’t feel like I spent enough time with anyone. The second I’d start one conversation I’d get pulled into another, or summoned to take care of something, or run to greet someone new, or … or all the things I was warned would happen at your wedding reception and I foolish thought I could conquer. Hopefully one thing that will happen is I’ll be able to follow up and spend more time with friends I reconnected with and haven’t spent as mush time with as I should in recent years.
  • I reserve the right to add to this list as more pops into my head. Because much of the evening was an overwhelming, emotional blur. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

It's almost a wrap!

Big party this weekend. Over the last three weeks there's a been a lot of celebrating, but tomorrow's party should finally wrap that up. I'm really looking forward to it since I know it'll be a blast, but I also know that after this point to festivities will draw to a close and life will get a little more normal again.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The state of the year in music so far.

The heavy psychedelic rock trend is still going stong, and I have no problem with that. And plenty of indie kids are still re-discovering their older siblings' Matador and Thrill Jockey collections, which is also good. There's a few too many big-stomper hand-clapping sing-son-chorus-y "WE LOVE GROUPLOVE_ style groups out there right now, but luckily they seem aimed for the pop landscape and most are s interchangeable no one cares who's singing what. Chance The rapper continues to make my jaw drop because no one that age should be that good or prolific but hey, weren't The Beatles kids too? So I guess it's possible, just not probable, which make my jaw drop even further. A couple Swedish pop princesses are making the wait for the next Robyn album a little more bearable. A French dude is making the wait for Daft Punk to get Better Faster Stronger Harder again bearable too. Band reunions—both from the fizzled out and out with a bang variety—are producing albums that are as good or better than their hey-day work. Loud, frenetic pop, with big carousel wheeling guitars is also seeing a nice resurgence. Hip-hop and pop and EDM are all treading water in the shallow end and experiencing a bad case of the doldrums, for the most part, but who gives a fuck when there's so much other good music out there?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hectic days, dazed and confused.

I don't know where these titles are coming from since they're only half truths. I think I just like the flow, in my head. It sounds nice. However that leads to the following question: which half of the title is true?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Bad case of the Mondays, which ain't good since it's Tuesday.

Catchy title, huh? The funny thing it ain't true. Well, it was for the 30 seconds before I wrote it. But as I added the period to the end of the sentence I realized I've actually been having a pretty kick ass day—great commute, great workout, a nice pleasantly packed schedule at the 9-to-5—and it was only in those few seconds as I stared blankly ahead that the Monday vibe overtook me. But now I realize that moment wasn't sadness or boredom but in fact a moment of self-reflection after a day that's actually been pretty tops!

Funny, huh?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Blur, why must you try and make me cry?

Blur just announced two October dates in the States—playing New York and LA. Boo-urns. Why can't Chicago get any love? Or anywhere in the Midwest?!

That said, I am mighty tempted to try and buy a ticket to the NYC show and fly in for it.

I'll just fire up the new "Ong Ong" video again and hope that'll cheer me up.

Friday, June 12, 2015

I've been writing for Chicagoist for TEN YEARS.

A prehistoric Tankboy post for Chicagoist.
I've been writing for Chicagoist so long that I don't even have my first emails to Scott Smith when I was applying to write for the site, because back then I was on Earthlink and didn't have a Gmail account. I think at that point I was still waiting on an invitation. Remember when you had to be invited to Gmail?

I don't even know for certain what my first try-out post would have been, but I think it's this one.

Here is my public announcement I would be writing for Chicagoist though. So let's say June 1 is my anniversary date of actually being on staff?

So. Ten years. Who survives in this media climate for ten years? My secret is that in 2002 or 2003 I decided to leave the nightlife biz and enter the 9-to-5 world doing stuff I was good at. This meant that I was free to write about music however I wanted for as long as I wanted. People get misguided searching for the job they love, because no one is going to love their job all the time. What people should be doing is searching for a job that supports them doing what they love.

This photo's been on
the staff page for TEN YEARS.
Luckily for me I've had great partners in NYC in Jen and Jake who have allowed me to run the A&E section for 9 of those 10 years. And I've had amazing partners on the Chicagoist editorial staff along the way who have also supported me. And the writers that have written for my section? Hoo boy, what an amazing bunch. Nothing makes me prouder than being able to look around the media (and agency) landscape and see just how many writers I brought onboard that went on to do even greater things. I can't even begin to name all of these people, both editors and writers, but a peek from the top to the bottom of our staff page should give you an idea just how many talented people I've had the fortune to work with over the years.

So how do I wrap this up? Ten years later, I feel I should give due credit to the three people without whom I probably wouldn't still be here ten years later. Rob Duffy helped me raise my national profile in those early, heady music blogging days by allowing me to have my own little corner of DoneWaiting to run rampant with. Sean Bonner deserves a little backwards creit for forcing me to choose between writing for his Chicago MetBlogs and Chicagoist (Chicagoist won that choice, easily).

And of course, a huge thank you to Scott Smith for bringing me on in the first place, offering me the editor job when he left a while later, and for convincing me to keep the name "Tankboy" when I had intended to use Chicagoist as a chance to write under my god-given name and "go legit."

Let's see; think I can make it another ten years?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

DRILL : CHICAGO is gonna feature a BLUES EXPLOSION.

Photo of Jon Spencer by me.
I wrote a preview of the DRILL mini-festival curated by Wire in Chicago. It's a really interesting combination of acts over three nights of music, but I can't lie: the band I'm most looking forward to seeing is The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. They're never g=failed me live. Plus, they're playing Thalia Hall so it will finally give me a chance to check out that venue!

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Relaxed?

Photo by Danielle of Imagine Studios
I'm no less restless at the core, but there is something more generally relaxed about me now. Maybe relaxed isn't the right word. At ease? More at ease? That's not right either. There's nothing easy. Is it reassurance I'm on the right path? that's not it either, because it's not like any path before was wrong. Every path got me to this point.

Maybe it's just happy? Or maybe more accurately my tenuous balance between cynicism and optimism is finally at least teetering towards the optimistic side for now, and while that's the case, I'll enjoy it.

So no. I'm not relaxed. And it's not "happy." I'm just, for the first time in a long time, sure.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Smooth re-entry.

Just before I left today a colleague asked me how re-entry had gone into the 9-to-5 that day after two weeks off. I replied, “Only slightly bumpy,” but that was more for comedic effect and not really a true statement.

In fact re-entry went incredibly smoothly! Like, INCREDIBLY smoothly!

This is a testament to the teams I work with, who operate so well as a supportive unit that I didn’t come back to a backlog of work that would take days to clear. instead I walked in the door and picked things up seamlessly at the point to which they had progressed in my absence. This is quite possibly the first time in my professional life that happened across the board on every project. Wow.

I am so appreciative and honestly humbled that I work with folks that are so, so freaking good at what they do and getting done what needs to be done while still making sure everyone else is supported as well.

O.K., I'm done being sappy for now.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Wiped. Out.

We had errands we HAD to run today after being out of the house for so long but other than that we've spent a lot of time sleeping. A LOT. And we have a busy weekend ahead so I think we really needed this brief total downtime. Hopefully it's enough!

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Oh! The email!

I'm still on vacation until Monday but seriously tempted to start digging through these today because lord is there a lot of it. Then again maybe I should just get off this airplane wi-fi and just enjoy a rare upgrade to first class? The downside to being committed to careers is that sometimes you feel guilty for enjoying things you actually have every right to enjoy. Also you have to keep reminding yourself YOU'RE STILL ON VACATION. And if anyone needs you that badly, they know how to reach you outside of email. Right?