Going to Shows Alone: A Roundtable on Living (And Partying) with Social Anxiety


Lorena Cupcake (Editor of Store Brand Soda / Social Media at Do312): Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today. Most of the people reading this probably know this, but my name is Cupcake, and I help run Store Brand Soda. I’ve been going to shows since my face got smushed against Courtney Love’s boob at age 11, and I also am diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Salvation Emily (Editor of Store Brand Soda): Hey I’m Salvation Emily. I got a late but enthusiastic start on going to shows in my early 20s and have been at it for the last 10 years!

Emily D (Art Director / Designer / Loner at shows): Hey I’m Emily, I’m an art director / designer with social anxiety and a love for live music. I also got a somewhat late start with going to shows (grew up in rural Kansas so not a lot of opportunity) but it’s one of my favorite things to do now.

Lorena Cupcake: I think there’s this common conception of people as either introverts or extroverts. Either you find being in public totally exhausting, or it revitalizes you and is really important to you. For me, I find it’s really a combination; it takes a lot out of me, but I also get a lot out of it.

Read More About Battling Negative Thoughts, Cool Books to Read at Shows, and The Best Corners to Stand In.

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Show Horoscope: October & November 2015

0005433637_10Photo via Dilly Dally’s bandcamp

I really love this time of year. The weather is beautiful; you can ride your bike in shirtsleeves on nice days, but you don’t sweat. My dog looks cute as hell in autumn leaves. And there’s a little desperation to get your yah-yahs out before there’s a wall of snow outside your door.

As always, I’ve got your Show Horoscope right here. Pick your poison; are you a soft grunge bunny, an auteur devoteee, punk as fuck, or the coolest teenager who ever discovered an obscure Chicago music blog?

The Soft Grunge Feels


I really love the current resurgence of fumbling fuzz, no-fucks percussion & raw vocals that’s creeping through the scene these days. In 2015, there’s more Pulp Girls buttons and summery washes on Instagram photos than than the stalwart flannel-clad archetypes of grunge would recognize, and the influence of heavy metal’s been stowed somewhere in a heart shaped box – though you’ll find one notable exception in these selections.

The dreamy feeling of melting ice cream cones, drinking dollar store soda mixed with slugs from a warm handle of vodka, and faded pink and teal hair hasn’t gone anywhere, and the delayed gratification of teen angst finally finding it’s voice is just as sweet.

Glamour Hotline, The Malskys, La Cosa, Pink Bathroom
Pink Bathroom really makes me feel like I did discovering music that made me ache I connected with it so deeply for the first time.
Fri, October 16, 7pm

Daymaker, Slayer Kitty, Bunny
Slayer Kitty filter portentous and dark drum and bass doom through a cotton-candy cloud of pink glitter.
The Owl, 2521 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Mon, October 19, 10pm / free / 21+

Dilly Dally, Ego
Toronto band Dilly Dally doesn’t have a ton of music online, but the singles on their bandcamp are all rad. It’s a kind of fragile, exposed, unpretty grunge pop in the vein of Cherry Glazerr without some of the twee-tween (dolores) haze. Vocalist Katie Monks can unleash a menacing, unrestrained howl that will blow you away.
The Promontory, 5311 South Lake Park Ave West
Wed, October 21, 9pm / $8 adv / 17+

The Auteurs


There’s some interesting shows coming up driven by iconoclastic and innovative personalities who have defined their own space in music.

Mac Blackout Band, Jollys, Wet Ones, Sh!t Storm
Mark has a million bands, as well as a bustling career as the artist behind everything from bubble-color stump art and boomboxes to intricate album covers. Mac Blackout Band is his star vehicle, which drifts over time between the psych punk of Functional Blackouts to the unabashed glam of Mickey.
Emporium Arcade Bar, 1366 N Milwaukee Ave
Tue, October 20, 8pm / free / 21+

Sweet Spirit, The Mad Doctors, Flesh Panthers, Skip Church
Sweet Spirit shares the incredible vocalist Sabrina Ellis with A Giant Dog, the sick Austin garage band that just got signed to Merge. Sweet Spirits has a more American roots based sound with the punk snottiness dialed back, but it’s still plenty rock-n-roll.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western Avenue
Wed, October 21, 9pm / $5 / 21+

Fred & Toody Cole
The long-married legends, who have lived a whole life together, raising kids, weathering health crises, and collaborating in some great bands like Dead Moon and Pierced Arrows. They’ll be taking the stage at the Bottle for a super early Sunday matinee show that starts right at 5pm.
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Sat, November 7, 5pm /$15 / 21+

Too Punk to Fuck


I’ve felt myself absorbed with a sort of benevolent, tolerant love of music lately. For someone who talks a lot of shit, I am loving a huge amount of what I listen to for the first time, and losing a lot of the knee-jerk irritability that has long kept me leashed to a genre bubble. Mostly this resorts in me listening to shit like Billy Squire – Emotions in Motion without a trace of irony, but maybe I need to revisit hardcore and its four thousand derivatives and report back. I dunno.

Gas Chamber, Sea of Shit, Cave State, Sick/Tired, Mellow Harsher, Clotting
House show!
The Mousetrap
Fri, October 16, 6:30pm / $8

O Inimigo, Bruised, Ritalin OD, Tigress
Also a house show!
Rancho Huevos
Wed, October 21, 7pm / email for address if you’re not a cop / $7-$10

Cult Leader, Moral Void, Ikaray, Clotting
Getcher d-beat on, brah. I feel, but cannot verify, that the 6:30 start time is just doors, but don’t trust me, I literally never go to early shows unless they’re instores.¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Subterranean, 2011 W North Ave
Fri, October 23, 6:30pm / $10 / $12 / 17+

Heavy Times, Nones, Make-Overs, Obnox, The Cartoons
Obnox is such ugly weird awesome punk and in their own ways so are Nones and Make-Overs and I’m so stoked for this show. Second-to-last Make-Overs show before they go back to South Africa!
Auxiliary Art Center, 3012 W Belmont Ave
Fri, October 23 / $7 / 21+

Make-Overs, Final Grin, Den, Rash, Latisha’s Skull Drawing
Last Make-Overs show before they go back to South Africa!
New House on the Northside
Sun, October 25, 8:00pm / $7 / msg for address

NOTS, Froth, Gunshy, The Wolfpac
Kinda a weird pairing between the disaffected hipster Los Angeles surf of Froth and the wild techy skronk of noise punks NOTS, but I’m into it. Plus, it’s free, you gonna complain?
The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave
Mon, November 2 / 21+ / free

Teenage Wasteland


As always, I rounded up my personal picks for shows that allow those below drinking age that didn’t fit in any other area. These are not the only cool all ages shows happening; for that, you gotta check out our full calendar. I also HIGHLY recommend the 17+ Dilly Dally show 10/21 at Promontory.

Soddy Daisy, Mr. & Mrs., Wolf Pac, Spike and the Sweet Spots, Clearance
Cassette Store Day is always a blast! We wrote about Clearance’s debut album a minute back, as well as Soddy Daisy’s latest jammer.
Bric-a-Brac Records & Collectibles, 3156 W Diversey Ave
Sat, October 17, 12pm / free / AA / free coffee while it lasts

The Mad Doctors, Swimsuit Addition
Swimsuit Addition is fam! Super cool people who make bummer dark wave dream pop.
Bric-a-Brac Records & Collectibles
Tue, October 20, 5pm / free / AA

The Marshmallow Ghosts, Dreamend
Graveface Autumn Pop-Up! I don’t know anything about these bands, but I love a lot of Graveface bands like Black Moth Super Rainbow and Coffin Girls, so like, I trust their judgement.
The Niche Lab
Fri, October 23, 7pm / AA / donation

The Cut Worms, Wet Wallet
Psst: there’s pretty much like, always free beers at these saki instores. Unless you’re actually a teen! Winners don’t do drugs!!!
saki, 3716 W Fullerton
Sat, October 24, 6pm / free / AA

The Hotelier, Runaway Brother, Oso Oso, The Spirit of the Beehive
I will bow to Salvation Emily’s entry in the calendar for this show, which reads simply “emoooooo.”
Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont Ave
Sat, October 24, 5:30pm / $15, all ages

Cheatahs, Panda Riot
Panda Riot is the twee emotional communion dance party Salvation Emily’s obsessed with. It might be a cult?
Subterranean, 2011 W North Ave
Sat, October 24 / $10, 17+

Shannon and the Clams, Shopping
Did anyone else pick up the recent-ish Guantanamo Baywatch/Shannon and the Clams 7″ off Suicide Squeeze? The Baywatch track, Love Kin, was a country-inflected precursor to their new Darling…It’s Too Late LP, a departure from the acid-soaked surf punk of their debut, Chest Crawl. The Shannon and the Clams track, Mama, on the other hand, is a howling, desperate plea for redemption; the plaintive refrain “Can I come home again?” echoes in my head on the daily.
Subterranean, 2011 West North Avenue
Sat, October 24, 10pm / 17+ / $10 / $12

Ought, Blizzard Babies, Split Feet
Early all ages show with some of Chicago’s raddest bands! Clap some ear protection on your tween, buy them a ginger ale, and prepare for them to come home next week with an alternative lifestyle haircut and detention for the Perfect Pussy patch on their backpack.
Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont Ave
Tue, October 27, 6:30pm / $12 / all age

The King Khan and BBQ Show, Milk Lines
The caped King Khan brings his solo, Shrines-backed antics to town much more often then he brings longtime collaborator Mark Sultan; don’t miss the rare chance to see the two in tandem.
Subterranean, 2011 West North Avenue
Fri, November 20, 9pm / 17+ / $20

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Dead DIY Spaces: Needlehouse


10 yrs back this idyllic little Bridgeport apartment building was home to Needle House. The story is that back in the day it was a cop bar and, after that, it was a shooting gallery, earning its name from the stacks of needles the punks who took it over had to sweep up to settle in.

The entirety of the first floor was taken over by a half pipe and the basement was home to sweaty, smelly hardcore shows. The walls were completely covered by spraypainted stencil art by Joe Suta, who played in the house band Raise the Red Lantern, made art under the name Choke, and was the only dude I knew who lived there. About a decade before Sick Fisher was the king of painting murals on the doorways and awnings of hip businesses, Joe was doing the same thing. You can still, I think for now, see some of his work on the now-also-dead Uncle Fun on Belmont and in Threadless warehouse.

This was one of those reliable spots where, like buddY gallery, if you didn’t know of anything specific to do on on a Friday or Saturday night, you could just show up and expect cool punk rock shit and I would frequently trek across town from the Northside to hear bands sight unseen. The spot hosted a lot of shows with Southkore bands like Reaccion and Tras de Nada, touring acts like Iron Lung, and was the first place where I saw that weird whiteboy hardcore dancing where everybody does windmill kicks and calisthenics while facing the same direction and not touching each other. I don’t know where those bands came from but this was the only place I ever saw it in Chicago.

Bridgeport is a weird place, one of the only neighborhoods I know that became more diverse with gentrification. Traditionally, it was home to many of Chicago’s most famous mafia and political families, a place you weren’t supposed to go at night if you weren’t white, where 13-year old Lenard Clark was pulled off his bike and beaten to death in 1997 with one of the witnesses murdered and another disappeared before the trial, a place where I’ve been threatened for being gay (nope), Mexican (nope), AND white (kinda but kinda not, and also a long story) and god help me if any of those angry Catholics knew I was darkish and flamboyantish because I’m Jewish. It’s now the neighborhood that’s neck and neck with my ancestral home of Rogers Park as the most diverse I’m Chicago (I know this is due to some very site specific neighborhood factors that opened up new residential spaces, allowing for Mexican and Chinese American families to expand out of Bridgeport and Pilsen without displacing longtime residents and blah blah blah snore it’s still weird. When I used to show up on a Friday night, the place would be overflowing with grimy scumheads toting forties (and of course I was a grimy scumbag toting a forty too); when I drove by this afternoon, a cute Asian American couple in matching outfits were leaving for a jog.

DIY neighborhood notes: Simultaneous to Needle House, a different group of kids upstairs would sometimes host noise bands and art shows. I know I saw a side project with members of Coughs there but the name of the space completely eludes me. A couple years later, I would see the other Chicago Lab Rat, to be precise at one of at least two other Chicago Lab Rat’s play thrash ska along the lines of  Leftöver Crack in a condemned building some kids squatted in until it was demolished kitty corner on Halsted. After that the kids behind the burner rave zine Brilliantly Mad took over a storefront called the Emerald Palace and threw the type of magickal dance parties that ended in yoga. I don’t think they still throw parties there but they maintain a community garden in the backyard.

DISCLAIMER: I did little-to-no research, but everything is true as remembered and experienced. Memory is fallible and experiences vary. Names and dates may be completely off. People who I remember fondly may have been total monsters. People who were dickheads to me might have been perfect angels having a bad day.

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No Friends #1 Review

I finally picked up a copy of No Friends Maga(zine), which was previously mentioned in this Show Horoscope. I am not disappointed. The fledgling fanzine, a homegrown punk-house-brewed DIY project of editors Jim Zajackowski and Ray Martinez, focuses on underground music, art, film, comedy, politics, and their surrounding communities and cultures.

Editorial pieces on the direction of the zine wave the freak flag fly and fling the doors to admission wide open. The full-sized magazine pages of black and white photos and text promise a home of everything you can possibly think of as punk, whether it’s based on the stalwart lifeblood of leather and hardcore or the more slippery concepts of boundary-pushing and concept-questioning.

Sewn into the binding of each copy is a translucent plastic collectible flexidisc. While you can buy No Friends online in both physical and digital copies, there are no digital releases anywhere of the four songs on each No Friends flexis. If you wanna hear these songs, you gotta pick up a real copy. In that spirit, I don’t wanna say two much about the Lumpy and the Dumpers and Ausmuteants split other than it’s a hardcore ripper and I really liked the Lumpy side especially.

The music reviews (which occupy a long section in the publications’s caboose, a nod to it’s acknowledged predecessor MMR) won’t demand physical copies of releases, in deference to the way bands actually release music in this year of Our Lady Sante Muerte 2015. The genre restrictions are rubbery, stretching to accommodate dream pop & gothy synth bummer tunes and even (stage whisper) garage.

Martin Sorrondeguy sat down for a long conversation on his photography, his career with Los Crudos and Limpwrist, and the importance of sex in a relationship. I was at the Fed Up Fest Limpwrist performance discussed in the article, and it’s always interesting to see another perspective on what’s become a polarizing gathering within Chicago’s punk scene.

While I was most excited to read the interview with Sorrondeguy, I was most curious about an interview with Seth Äaberg, the purveyor of Pork Magazine and capitalist force behind a million chintzy kitschy lipstick knives and Pork Army back patches. His wartsy, Ratfink-ripoff aesthetic has drawn fire for the prolific use of Nazi imagery and racist cultural appropriation. I was surprised to see that Pork was going to be featured in No Friends, and relieved when I saw the controversy addressed within the first sentence of the article.

Äaberg’s well-worn sleazemerchant spiel and rail against the peril of commie pantywaists won’t surprise anyone who’s flipped through a Pork; what’s more surprising to me it that somebody finally asked the question. For all of Äaberg’s malign of social justice advocates as sniveling keyboard warriors, there somebody was, talking to him face to face, and publishing the results. That’s pretty fucking cool, and way more fucking punk than paying the Hot Topic of Garage Punk for the honor of putting some Nazi symbology on your jean vest.

Ray and Jim are trying to make a place for all sorts of music, politics, opinions, and subcultural rumblings to be hashed out and full explored, without conveniently ignoring uncomfortable histories or rushing to celebrate or condemn anyone. They can’t do it without your support. Whether you wanna write for them (their submission box is open), buy their zine (check out your local indie record shop), or get a collector’s subscription (limited spots available!) make you sure take part in some way. There’s a seat for you at the table.

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