There are some line-ups that are just too good to miss. Like Frank Turner and Lucero on my birthday at Red Rocks. Was driving to and from Colorado for a show a bit exhausting? Of course. But it was so worth it. That’s how I found myself in Chicago for under 24 hours just to see a show. I mean, come on, Mest, Descendents, Smoking Popes, Less Than Jake– how could I say no? After grabbing a friend to tag along on this adventure, we found ourselves in the suburbs of Chicago and show that, although quite strange, ended up being absolutely amazing.
My brother was the one that talked me into doing an insane drive for just a couple hours of music but, unfortunately, he had a change of plans and couldn’t go. I honestly thought about bailing altogether. I mean, loosing $50 on the ticket would have sucked but at least then I wasn’t paying for the gas, food, booze, and a place to crash for the night. I had a giant inner battle with myself over whether to go or not but after convincing a good friend to join me on the adventure, I got back in the mind frame that this was a show I just couldn’t miss. After the six hour drive and dropping out bags off at one of the most beautiful houses I’ve ever seen (yeah, we definitely felt a bit out of place), we Ubered to the Tinley Park Convention Center. I’m not sure what I was expecting but had it not been for the hoards of people walking in, I would have questioned our Uber driver on if this was really the right place.
The Tinley Park Convention Center is a beautiful building set in the ritzy suburbs (okay, not sure if it’s actually ritzy out there but it definitely felt like it compared to the other areas I’ve been to in Chicago). As we walked into the venue to get in line, the first thing I noticed was the air conditioning blasting. With the humidity running rampant outside, the A/C was a nice feeling but I figured it wouldn’t last and the hall we were waiting in would lead to a dark and dreary back room that nobody knew about. Oh lord I was wrong. After getting our tickets scanned, we followed the masses into a beautiful and huge carpeted room with tables in the back, merch tables scattered about and a stage in the front. Had it not been for the stage, I could have been convinced that I was at a wedding reception instead of a punk show.
All of the music I saw on Saturday was great. It definitely helped that majority of the bands that played were some of my favorites but it seriously sounded amazing and, as odd as the setting seemed, it worked. With six bands on the bill, it would be exhausting for me to write about all of them and with the copious amounts of 350 Brewing beer flowing through my body (mad props to them for putting on a destination festival while keeping it feeling local) I honestly don’t remember everything. I do remember being able to see some greats like The Smoking Popes and Descendents alongside my old favorites like Mest and Less Than Jake and watching some locals absolutely kill it (check out Sincere Engineer… seriously… do it).
Like I said, every band that graced the stage on Saturday was amazing but Mest definitely had my favorite set of the day (although it was a super close race). There was something about screaming along to the songs of my angsty childhood in a city where nobody knew who I was meaning I didn’t have to worry about making a fool of myself. I screamed every word until my voice went hoarse and, although I’m sure the people around me were more than annoyed, I was having the time of life and that’s all that mattered.
Between each band was wrestling which, if you’ve been following this blog or know me, you know I love me some amateur wrestling. The first couple of matches that we watched were almost laughable compared to the crew we have here in Minneapolis that does events like Wrestlepalooza. That being said, it was still super fun to watch and made the stage changeovers quick and painless. About half way through the night when my friend and I turned from watching the stage to checking out the wrestling, I was shocked to see a couple of my favorite Minnesota wrestlers in the ring. I watched with a giant smile as my favorite local boy- Arik Cannon- fought with another favorite of mine- Darin Corbin. It sounds cheesy but it made me incredibly proud to be a Minnesotan and definitely made me feel completely at home even though I was hundreds of miles away.
The music was great, the beer was cold, everything was perfect but my favorite moment of the entire day was something that lasted just seconds but meant absolutely everything to me. As I was walking to get a drink that I probably didn’t really need, a guy stopped my and pointed at my shirt. I looked down to realize I was wearing my D4th of July shirt. He gave me the thumbs up and then spread his jacket apart to reveal a Triple Rock shirt. A huge grin spread across my face as I held up my arm and showed him my Triple Rock tattoo on my wrist. After a high-five and a cheers I went on my way. Sure, this all sounds stupid and tiny in the grand scheme of things but that interaction meant absolutely everything to me and will be something I will never forget.
Was driving to Chicago to see a bunch of bands I’ve seen many times before really necessary? Absolutely not but life is an adventure so get in that car and go somewhere new and do something you love. I promise that, although your bank account will be screaming in pain, you will return home with a smile on your face and a memory to add to a lifetime of moments that will not soon be forgotten.