Written in response to the Russian Circles / Young Widows show at Lincoln Hall (Chicago) on December 12, 2009.
1. Young Widows were terrible, but the barstool was great.
I dig the band. Old Wounds is a great album. But these guys really blew it. So I sat at the bar at Lincoln Hall. I dig a club where you can sit at the bar but still hear the band — uncommon in Chicago.
2. The sound at Lincoln Hall is awesome.
In fact, everything so far about Lincoln Hall is awesome: the staff was friendly, they validate your parking, the bar is like a real bar, the room is big (but not too big — on some Goldilocks shit), there was an attentive sound and lighting guy, they knew to put the A/C on even in the winter, and the bathrooms are super clean (not sure how long that will last).
[Small note to Lincoln Hall: First, change your logo. It's already whack. You want to become a classic, right? You need to work on that identity. Second, this is a yuppie neighborhood; just face it and make a coat check.]
3. The crowd.
Why is the Chicago crowd at shows like this so awesome? Because they’re all hardcore music geeks. There was no fighting, no drama, total silence when needed, and total head-banging in unison when called for. The guys from Russian Circles where hanging out at the bar before their set. There were girls — like in a good way, not in an I’m-not-at-an-Animal Talk-show kind of way.
4. Lack of clutter.
Not to get all Steve Jobs on this shit, but the stage was perfect. Not a single ad or banner. No spotlights with lame gels. No neon Pabst light. No duct-taped backstage rules peeking out. Just black. Simple lights backlighting the band. This is how to set the stage for the most holy of rock music.
5. The soul-stirring, pants-wetting, head-banging holy rock of hometown instrumental icons Russian Circles.
It was a flawless performance. Not a single word spoken. Not even a kick drum scrawl. These guys are post-language and preach only with perfectly looped guitars and jaw-dropping drum beats. Long live Russian Circles. Amen.