A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Joe Shanahan, owner of Chicago's own Metro. I told him that I think his club is historic, not unlike the Haçienda in Manchester. CBGB's in New York, and the Whisky a Go Go on Sunset Blvd. are others that come to mind. R.E.M. and New Order in '82, Ministry, X, and The Replacements in '84, Minutemen, Meat Puppets, Robyn Hitchcock, Sisters of Mercy, Everything But the Girl, Jesus & Mary Chain in '85, Fine Young Cannibals, Sinead O'Connor, Skinny Puppy, Sonic Youth, Art of Noise in '86, They Might be Giants, Flaming Lips, 10000 Maniacs, and Yo La Tengo in '87, Sugarcubes, Smashing Pumpkins [first show], Jane's Addiction in '88, Nick Cave, Poi Dog Pondering, Happy Mondays, Afghan Whigs, Screaming Trees, Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Bob Mould in '89... you get the idea.
For 25+ years, Metro has been the place in the Midwest to hear emerging musical artists give old and new audiences alike the raw, uncensored, straight from the soul, essence of who they are - LIVE!
Joe mentioned an upcoming show that's "not to miss;" The Gutter Twins on March 7. When I found out GT are scheduled as the "late show" that Friday night [12:30 a.m. start], after a full-tilt performance from Bob Mould earlier in the evening, I immediately thought about getting home somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 a.m. and how I haven't done that in years.
Since that conversation, I've been thinking about live performances and how in some ways they're really all we have left. Our convenience-driven, iPod-isolating, personal preference culture has relegated us to experiencing new musical art from the comfort of our homes, the iTunes Store, and personal music devices. I think that's really true for a big segment of the folks who are old enough to afford the shows and young enough to walk to them. I am as guilty as the next person in this regard and intend to get up off my couch and change my ways. I aim to make time, like I once did years ago, to experience the community magic of a live show. Truthfully, there's nothing like it and I'm going to start this Friday at the Metro.