Milemarker 10/22/05 at Empty Bottle

Last night saw the long awaited return of Milemarker to the Empty Bottle. The last time I saw them it was the summer of 2003 at some loft in Wicker Park, and the band imploded that night, resulting in their breakup and two year hiatus before reuniting in a new and altered lineup. When I found out they were back, have a new record coming out, and were touring, it goes without saying I was ecstatic. When I found out that Roby, one of the key ingredients in my mind of that band being so great, was no longer with them, I was a little disappointed and skeptical to what they’d sound like. What was the result? Read on dear friends…

The Bitter Tears
The Bitter Tears

I got to the club close to what was listed as the showtime, but the World Series game was still going and nearly everyone in the bar was watching the TV, witnessing the White Sox claim a victory. When the game was over, they finally started the show. The first band up was The Bitter Tears. I had never heard of them before and had no idea what to expect. I was in for one of the strangest bands I have ever seen. They all wore goofy outfits, one member looking like something out of the Village People, one looking sort of like Rutger Hauer as a mime, and the others had some goofy outfits on too. Judging by their instruments they had on stage; acoustic guitar, slide trombone, piano, and standup bass, I knew this wasn’t going to be some aggressive rock band. The Bitter Tears play a sort of twisted lounge music for drunks. I could imagine them on a pirate ship sailing the seas bellowing out these goofy tunes while all gooped up on the rum. They had a pretty good sense of humor about them and they had some fans in the audience who were dancing and singing along to their songs. While the music isn’t really my cup of tea per se, they were pretty entertaining and if I ended up going to a show that they were opening for again, I’d certainly not mind sitting through it again.

The Bitter Tears
The Bitter Tears

Get Hustle
Get Hustle

After spending what seemed like a lifetime setting up their gear, Get Hustle were next. They were another really unique band with some non-traditional instrumentation. They had one guy on drums, one guy who played keyboards, and had a turntable and various gimmicks, and one lady who was the singer. They were pretty aggressive, but not in a thrash kind of way. A lot of times their songs seem like each person is playing an entirely different song. The drummer beats the shit out of his drums while the other guy is making crazy sounds on his keyboard, all while the singer is bellowing like she is delivering a sermon which seldom goes with the beat. At times it was just chaos, but then at other times the pieces seem to fit and they get into a sort of groove which is hard edged yet catchy, only to have it all explode into chaos again. It was a 50/50 type deal where I was either getting into the sounds and thinking it was cool, or I was thinking “what the fuck, I don’t know what to make of this business”. There were a few people up front near me dancing around like they were having epileptic seizures, it was a strange site but they were into it.

Get Hustle
Get Hustle

milemarker
Milemarker

Last up were Milemarker. At first I didn’t’ recognize some of the people that were getting on stage, then I saw three familiar faces up there setting up too and came to realize that this new version of Milemarker had grown into a super-Milemarker! They suddenly had become a six-piece band. Two drummers, one violin/keyboard player, two guitar players and one bass. However those numbers would vary, not in the people on stage, but in what instruments as people were changing up depending on the songs, and sometimes they only had one drummer because the other guy was playing another guitar back there instead.

milemarker
Milemarker

milemarker
Milemarker

Sonicly it had to be the loudest show I’ve witnessed at the Empty Bottle. It was pretty intense. The Band opened with “The Banner to the Sick” which was from the Satanic Verses EP, then played 3 new songs from the upcoming album. After that, it was time for the best rendition of “New Lexicon” I’ve seen them play in all the times I’ve seen them. It was just really intense and the band was exploding with energy at this point. It was obvious that they were really into what they were doing and were enjoying themselves up there, which when that is evident, only makes the performances that much better. They played three more new songs after this and that brought a close to the evening and many of the audience were asking for more. While I was a little disappointed that their set wasn’t longer (something that I felt every time I’ve seen them, I just want more!) and didn’t contain some more older songs, many of the new songs were simply excellent. The new stuff sounded just as “milemarkerish” as the older songs they played, proving that yes, despite the lineup changes/additions, they still have it. Their energy level was as high as ever and I highly suggest catching their show if they hit your town.

milemarker
Milemarker

milemarker
Milemarker

I came to learn that shooting at the Empty Bottle isn’t an easy task, it easily has the least amount of available light of anyplace I’ve been in the city, and as a result, I had to use the flash on this camera, which was a first since getting it. There are more pictures if you click below, and I took a lot more than this that will eventually find their way onto the photo galleries on the Spontaneous Combustion site. I know I keep saying that it will be updated soon and I swear that it is on the list of things to do and will be gotten to shortly.

milemarker
Milemarker

milemarker
Milemarker

milemarker
Milemarker

milemarker
Milemarker

milemarker
Milemarker

milemarker
Milemarker

milemarker
Milemarker

milemarker
Milemarker

milemarker
Milemarker

milemarker
Milemarker