Hello, friends! Rob here.
We’re taking some time off in Chicago right now. It’s a great city. How great? Saturday, we played one street festival, took a boat ride out onto Lake Michigan to watch the sunset over the city skyline, swung by another street festival (they’re all over the city this time of year) and then hit up Kingston Mines for a non-stop (literally, they have two stages so bands can trade hourlong sets without a moment’s silence) onslaught of face-melting Chicago blues. If you think that women can’t play guitar, then, in addition to being a sexist idiot, you have clearly never heard of a guitarist named Joanna Connor. We got to watch her at Kingston, and she is easily one of the best musicians I have ever seen live. Her phrasing, groove, and raw technicality are absolutely master-level. If you’re ever in Chicago on a weekend, go to Kingston Mines one night and spend like 6 hours there.
Speaking of awesome, here’s us jamming with a very talented 11-year-old in St. Louis:
The kid’s name is Dominic Anzalone, and someday I will likely be bragging about that one time he sat in with my band. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stick around in St. Louis for very long because we had to drive through the night to be in Chicago early the next day, but we enjoyed what little time we had.
Last night we visited one of our favorite haunts, Piece Brewery & Pizzeria, to hang with our friend Bill Jacobs and play some acoustic tunes. Afterwards, Mike and I walked around the corner to the Double Door and sat in with the BS Brass Band, a New Orleans-style brass band based here in Chicago. They’re a great band with a lot of energy and humor, and to the man each one of them can play his ass off. For how they sounded individually and together I was pretty surprised to find that none of them were from New Orleans.
Right now we’re still in Chicago, catching our breath. Mike, who is still only with us as a hired gun, has taken his leave and is now kickin’ it with his family. Wednesday, we leave to begin the tour’s final leg. We’ll begin our obligatory dismantling of Ohio with a double reunion in Cincinnati: Not only will we once again be joining forces with our dear ally Drew LaPlante, but our friends in Frogs Gone Fishin’ will be back with us for the remainder of the tour.
So many things to which to look forward. But that’s always the case, isn’t it?
I would like to end this segment by testing out a new feature called “special thanks,” which, as the name implies, is basically just a few lines spent acknowledging a few people who helped things be awesome this week. In no particular order:
-Chris Rogers, Geoff and Sarah Schnipper, Bill Jacobs and Caitlin Dreger for showing us such kindness and hospitality
-My old friend Coleman for driving all the way from Michigan to kick it with us in Chicago
-Dana Anzalone, for helping coordinate her son’s guest appearance in St. Louis and getting the whole thing on tape
-Eazy E, because when there are ten dudes crammed in a single SUV rolling down the streets of Chicago there is no better soundtrack than “Boyz in the Hood”
-The cab driver who drove Geoff, Coleman and me back from Kingston Mines for outfitting his cab with red, white and blue tinsel, neon lights, bumping funk music, and a bowl of stale Halloween candy
-Double thanks to the same cab driver for pulling up next to Dave, Chris and Ed in their normal cab so we could roll the window down and rub our bitchin’ disco cab in their faces
-The people of Chicago, for apparently not stealing anything when we left our van open (not unlocked, mind you, but open) and unattended for about five hours