Last Tuesday I met one of my former improv classmates at The Hideout, a place I can't believe it took me three years to get to. His cousin is in (among other bands), a trio called Devil in a Woodpile, which plays the hideout "Every Damn Tuesday!"
The Hideout is aptly named. You turn onto Wabansia and you are in a vast industrial area where the City of Chicago keeps its truck fleet. Large hangars, huge diesel pumps, chain-link fences. The Hideout is a tiny house to the side, sandwiched between two other industrial buildings. The lit beer sign on the front is a warm beacon amidst the cold industrial wasteland.
My friend, A--, and another of his cousins (Midwesterners- a gajillion cousins are standard) were there. It was great to catch up, and I loved the band. I'd seen them open for another band at another venue, but this was a great intimate setting. There is a small bar at the front, and they just set up in the corner and play: steel guitar, upright bass, washboard. It was a blast. I was hoping Gary, a sound guy I'm acquainted with, would be there playing tuba, but he doesn't play as much with them as he used to. It's just something to watch someone play tuba.
I saw A-- talking to Kelly Hogan, a local singer who frequently tends bar. I told her that I'd seen her open for Wanda Jackson the first week I'd arrived in Chicago; she was the first performer I saw here, and her group's cover of "Papa Was a Rodeo" made me a Magnetic Fields fan.
"Arent' they great? They're coming here next month to the Old Town School," she said.
"I know - I managed to get a ticket just before they sold out."
"I'm supposed to interview Steve Merritt," Kelly said. "I'm so nervous."
I assured her she would be great. Because she is totally cool.
A-- explained that when she tended bar, all he had to do was rub his hand through his hair and she knew to get him a beer. "It's like our secret sign," he said.
It may also be that A--is well over six feet, so anything he does can be seen and interpreted as More Beer. He's very likable, so he moves easily in social circles.
I loved The Hideout. I'll be back for sure.