Tag Archives: music

Get outta town

Summer in the city is fantastic. Street festivals, al fresco dining, beach days and neighborhood wandering are activities to be adored.

But sometimes you just have to get away.

While the cool kids were in Union Park listening to band after amazing band, I hit the road and held my own Pitchfork Music Festival in the comfort of my air-conditioned car. Partially due to my fear of sweaty people, but mostly for my friend Maggie’s bachelorette party in St. Louis.

I realized how little I know about the state of Illinois as I drove through its flat, sprawling farmland.Chicago is not an island on its own—there’s a whole wide-eyed state out there. It looks something like this from the road (with a few small cities in between):

Beautiful day for a long drive.

Clouds look painted.

Pit stop in a small town called Pontiac.

Things I didn’t know before hitting the road:

  • Illinois is overflowing with Lincoln pride. Not only is the state dubbed “The Land of Lincoln,” state capital Springfield boasts an Abraham Lincoln airport, museum, college and more. Wut? Also, Lake Springfield is gorgeous. I wanted to be sailing on a boat, not in a car.
  • Towanda and Funks Grove are towns I wish I named.
  • Bonanza restaurant still exists. For those of you who aren’t aware, Bonanza is like Ponderosa or Golden Corral, complete with an all-you-can-eat buffet.
  • Vanity plates are still vain. Plates with “Classy” on a Mustang convertible and “My Way” on an Oldsmobile told me a great deal about their owners.

Pitchfork-inspired playlist in the speakers:

  • “Odessa” by Caribou
  • “Dance Yrself Clean” by LCD Soundsystem (Bold statement: Probably my favorite single on my favorite album of the summer)
  • “Dog Days are Over” by Florence + The Machine
  • “Feel It All Around” by Washed Out
  • “Wide Eyes” by Local Natives
  • “Austere” by The Joy Formidable
  • “On Melancholy Hill” by Gorillaz
  • “Money” by Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings
  • “Riot Rhythm” by Sleigh Bells
  • “Private Eyes” by The Bird and the Bee (Guilty pleasure: Get this Hall and Oates cover album. Divine.)
  • “I Died So I Could Haunt You” by Stars
  • “Holiday” by Vampire Weekend
  • “Swim” by Surfer Blood

Hit the road and see something new if you could use a little break. I can’t express how therapeutic it was to take in the scenery, play some great tunes and soak in the sun. I temporarily forgot about my stressors and the annoying things happening with my apartment. More to come on that later. The fact that I got to hang out with some college pals in St.Louis was icing on the cake. And anyway, Pitchfork Festival is streaming live.

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Let’s become geekier

We spend the first quarter of our lives trying to fit in, doing the same things as our friends and wearing the same clothes. Yes, to blend in is to fit in.

It took me a while but I’ve realized that, the older we get, the more we celebrate our unique interests, tastes and styles. Unlike our childhood and teenage years, being geeky makes you stand out in good way. My junior high self would be so confused by this notion.

I have to remind myself all the time that living in a city with so many things to do and see, there’s no excuse for not being geeky about something. There are restaurants opening every week, classes for everything and every kind of show imaginable. And because there are so many budget-friendly options, there’s no reason not to take advantage of them.

In High Fidelity fashion, on my top 5 all-time things I’d like to write about if knowledge and vocabulary were not obstacles, music would be #2 (wine is #1, duh). I certainly would like to be geekier about music. I like listening to music, I’m a fan of attending shows but I don’t know much about the mechanics. Luckily, live shows are crazy accessible. My new goal is to attend any show that strikes my fancy and agrees with budget and schedule. (Shows through Ticketmaster need not apply). Empty Bottle happens to be within walking distance. Perfection.

Joe and I saw Girls at Empty Bottle last Thursday. Dominant Legs and Real Estate opened. I messed up on the time, so we arrived suppperrrrr early. Probably before the bands. I enjoyed Dominant Legs’ beats and catchy pop songs. However, watching someone sing to along with a keyboard is only so exciting.

Dominant Legs. The dude is also in Girls.

Real Estate. I enjoyed their music more online that in person. Joe disliked.

I actually came to the show to see Girls. Their songs are dreamy and pop-like, yet cynical. My usual complaint about Empty Bottle is that the music-to-vocal-sound-ratio is terrible. But Girls sounded crisp and true to form.

Girls band

Girls

One of these days, I’ll learn how to upload .avi files. Until I become video savvy, I’ll work on becoming a music geek.

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