Summerfest, Blondie and Garbage, and Book Update

Me and JC Brooks of JC Brooks Band (Formerly JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound)


Ya, the Uptown Sound is disputed.  Not sure who the original Uptown Sound was but JC said onstage they’re the JC Brooks Band so they don’t have to pay a bunch of money.

Troy is my boyfriend and he will figure in a lot of posts so let’s introduce him now.  We’ve been together five and a half years and he’s awesome.  So if you’re an ex trolling me, sorry but I’m taken.

So me and Troy ran up to Summerfest to see Christopher’s Project and JC Brooks on July 1st. and  Troy and I had seen Christopher’s Project several times over the past few years but this time was disappointing.  They’re a covers band mainly with a few originals that veer towards jazz but I think they may have gotten a new singer or something.  We were too far back to see.  And they did “Hotel California” which always sends me running.  I hate that song because it makes me paranoid and it’s just a creepy vibe.  And we had to walk a half mile to get to the park, go through security, then another half mile through the park and I just wasn’t feeling up to dancing by then.

But for JC Brooks I certainly shook my booty.  They did their new single, “Neon Jungle”, their biggest hit which is a sped up soul cover of Wilco’s “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart” and more off their second and third albums, Want More and Howl.  Want More is a nonstop soul dancefest, but Howl more grows on you.  It’s full of mourning for a complicated love.  I told as much to JC when I met him after the show.  He’s super friendly and loves meeting fans.  I reminded him I had met him 2 years ago when he was at Summerfest to judge School of Rock.  And he said he saw me in the back grooving.

I liked the show so much I saw them again the next day at Windy City Ribfest in Uptown in Chicago.  I took a fellow writer friend and Bipolar head Conor Bezane and he really enjoyed it too.  They even changed up a few of the songs from the night before.  And me and Conor were well stuffed because we ate these delicious sandwiches called Pretzel Bombs.  It was pulled pork, mac and cheese and onion straws on a pretzel bun.  Said it had been on Food Network, but I don’t remember what the restaurant was that served it.

Then we went back to Summerfest July 5th, but no one good was playing so we decided just to go to dinner.  Man the thing that sucks about Summerfest is they take forever to release the schedule and hotels are booked in December for it.  They release the headliners for the Ampitheatre months before so you have to plan your trip based on the big act you want to see.  You may be there all day waiting and see no one good.  But here’s a couple tips: you can leave and re-enter Summerfest before 6:30.  You can also check a bag for $2 at any of the gates.  And they allow you to go in/out of your bag all day as long as you pick it up by 11:45pm.

And we went to Tom Petty the next day on a hot, humid, 95 degree day.  The day before was beautiful and Tom Petty played then too but we didn’t have tickets for the day before.  And the Summerfest workers are idiots.  They told us to go up the ramp to the stairs when our seats were ground level inside the gate.  60 freaking stairs to go back down to our seats.  In 95 degree heat.  And there was no breeeze in that venue and all the prissy girly girls there kept complaining I was sweating on them.  Troy and I both took 2 cold showers that day, one before and one after.  Mainly because our hotel, the Park East, didn’t have air conditioning!  They moved us twice and none of the rooms had a/c and they only gave us 85 dollars off to compensate.  And wouldn’t refund my money either because I called after the stay and it was prepaid.  So don’t go to any of those places to book a hotel.  Horrible.  We enjoyed ourselves when we stayed last year but man, never again.  Look elsewhere.

That said, we posted to FB “Sweaty at Tom Petty!” and stuck it out.  Chris Stapleton opened and everybody we told about him loves him and I thought he was decent but didn’t really know his music.

Tom Petty took the stage at 9 and played for 2 hours I think.  He did 3 songs off of Wildflowers including the title track plus an extra, “You Wreck Me”.  I was surprised he didn’t do “Honey Bee” cos he sings in it, “I’m the king of Milwaukee”, which would have gotten a cheer.  He did “Free Falling” in the middle of the set and that was a singalong, as well as “Learning to Fly”.  I had seen Tom twice before in the 90s on the Wildflower and Echo tours, both indoors and out respectively and he is much better in an outdoor venue.  Even though we paid 97 dollars each for our tickets and all we got was a bleacher seat.

Another thing about Summerfest is all the drinking.  Whoa.  I’ve been sober over 5 and a half years, got sober right before I met Troy and man.  95 degrees and you’re gonna dehydrate yourself with an 8 dollar beer?  Or 6 of em? Ridiculous.  We spent $18 dollars on water and what is this bullshit with them not letting you keep the cap anymore?  Also ridiculous.  I sneak a cap in my pocket sometimes.  ‘Cos there was no way I was waiting in the bathroom line to fill the water bottle from the fountain.  Troy didn’t mind buying the water.  No line for water.

Anyway Tom did not disappoint.  We went back to the hotel happy and took a boat cruise the next day and ate a delicious meal at Rock Bottom Brewery.  We had gotten poured on getting on the boat so it was nice to warm up with some decaf and good food.

We got home on the 8th and crashed, got Portillo’s which is like 1 block from me backlots way.

I saw Conor again a couple weeks later on July 22nd.  Troy, Conor and I all drove up to Ravinia to see Blondie and Garbage.  (Not bothering with their websites, they’re so well known you can Google them.) Conor was excited cos a side project of the band X was opening. So Conor was expecting punk but since it was a side project they did folk, including an awesome cover of Bobby Darin’s “If I Were a Carpenter”.  So I enjoyed them.

And I really enjoyed Garbage, too.  The last time I saw Garbage was right when their debut came out in 1997 at the Metro.  They played to a blind man and his dog.  Me and my friend Alex went and even though we were underage they let us sit at a table.  I thought they were good then, and they still are now.  They did “Vow”, “Queer”, “Only Happy When it Rains” (probably their biggest hit) and possibly “Milk” or “Stupid Girl”, I don’t remember if they did the last two.  They did do “Push it” and “Special” off Garbage 2.0 also.  And while it was well preformed, Conor and I reflected it maybe was a little too perfect, like hearing it on CD.

Blondie was a little disappointing.  Deborah Harry can’t hit the high notes anymore.  Troy was especially disappointed in “Call Me”.  A few she did well, especially the encore of “Dreaming” and “The Tide is High”, which were the songs Conor was waiting for.  I thought “Heart of Glass” wasn’t bad, cos she didn’t even try to hit the high notes.

And of course Ravinia is a lovely venue.  If you’ve never been, here’s a tip.  Drive, get there early, and bring a handicapped placard.  That’s if you’re on the lawn.  If you’re in the pavilion by all means take the train.  But if you’re carrying stuff drive.  You will never get on that packed train at 10pm and there may not be another one til midnight.  Lots open at 3, gates open at 4, and they allow in/out for smoking or getting stuff from the car.  You just need a handstamp.

We got home about midnight after dropping off Conor and did our concert ritual of 40 chicken nuggets.  Troy got a shirt, I got a tote bag because they never have shirts larger than 2x.  But that’s fine ‘cos I have a Blondie shirt anyway I got from Lane Bryant.  Lol.

So that, BBQs with my mom (my mom Mary Ann will figure largely into entries, too), some birthdays came up I needed to shop and make crafts for, grocery shopping, going out to dinner, hanging with my old neighbor Floyd, has kept me busy and broke.  Oh, I also got a root canal which I think I mentioned, so that needs to be paid off in the next 6 months or it’s 26.99% interest.  So yes, the book is delayed, so sorry.  I will in the next post put another poem from it for your reading pleasure.

And the next thing is we are going to NYC in 3 weeks.  I haven’t been there since like 2005 I think.  I used to live there while attending Fordham University but I graduated in 2001 so after all my friends moved back it was hard for me to afford to go there.  But Troy is very generous so he’s paying for the hotel and the airfare, I’m just buying a couple meals and maybe some transit and/or attractions.

That’s all I know for now, sorry this was so punishingly long but I had a lot to catch you up on.  I’m happy and busy, and I keep a pen and paper journal also so that takes priority a lot of the time.  Also gives me a first draft of what I write here.  Be well, as they used to say at Walgreens.