Wednesday, October 28, 2009

From Schuba's to Lincoln Hall

I have given the Schuba brothers a lot of money this month (although not complaining, because it was reasonably priced and always a great time). I got to see a show at Schuba's on October 17th. Then I got to go to the grand event at their new location Lincoln Hall on October 25th. My thoughts...

First the show at Schuba's. I have always loved this place. So initmate that you are basically on top of the performers. It is a great place to catch bands before they strike it big and move on to larger venues (more on that in a minute). There in lies the problem. First, Chicago crowds are notoriously terrible. Its not that they aren't responsive, but depending on the act, they're loud or annoying. Grand Archives was the band I saw at Schuba's. It was a good show but because they have loud songs and quieter ballads as well, the crowd will adjust their noise accordingly... in reverse. You can't hear them when the band gets loud. But you can hear a lot of conversations during the quiet songs. Why are you coming to these shows, people? I watched 2 sets of couples repeatedly turn around to glare at this guy and girl who kept up a full volume conversation the entire set. Other than that, great job as always. I love the fact that Schuba's post the set times on the doors. So you know when the band you came to see is going onstage. The only other trouble with Schubas (or if you're like me and would like to just get away from it altogether) is they have no backstage. So if you want an encore, they come right back out. Yay.

Now the brothers Schuba have added a second venue to their empire. Lincoln Hall located where the uncomfortable beer serving Three Penny Cinema used to be housed. I have heard concerns about putting a rock venue where there is no parking. About how LP Trixies don't deserve a rock venue. But I think its great. You've got a venue right off the red line Fullerton stop. You can get DePaul kids to straggle in. Plus since I live so far south now, it's a quick trip to get there.

They made this venue their "step up" venue. For acts they originally booked at Schubas, if they are gaining popularity and need a bigger site, this is it. It is about 5 times the size of Schubas. It has bare brick walls that are matched with the warm wood bars. But they've also contrasted the look with some harsh metal accent walls. The "pit" as I call it, reminds me of the Thunderdome. The balcony above make a U shape around three sides above. If you heard the chanting of "two men enter, one man leaves" the ambiance would be complete. But for the most part, they have been able to get a larger space while keeping that initmate feel of the original venue intact. I got to see Ted Leo for their Grand Event and he brought the thunder. I can see that the site will be able to hold up for hard rock shows. I still say Ted's best set was at the Metro, but that's neither here nor there.

Overall, the Schuba brothers have done well to earn my money and I will continue to attend their bookings.


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