I had to sit through a lot of crap to get to the good stuff watching the Tonight Show last night. I haven't watched a Late Night Talk Show in a while and seeing Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Larry the Cable Guy, didn't make me feel like I've missed much. Ms. Louis-Dreyfus harkens back to the Gay '90's and Larry the Cable Guy, well...Hee Haw.
Neko Case, on the other hand, is timeless. I wish she could have played more than one song is my only regret (and that the sound was a tad reverb heavy). Her band last night (and for her tour) is made up almost entirely of Chicago players who gravitate towards the Hideout when they're in town. Some of them are accomplished frontmen on their own such as Kelly Hogan who is also a Hideout bartender. Neko's bassist is up at the Hideout every Tuesday with the exceptional "Asylum Street Spanker-esque" Devil in a Woodpile. Jason Creps actually lives in the same building as the Cashiola brothers whose latest project is being recorded at the Disclexington Sunken Monastery Studio. Such a small world. The only player I didn't recognize was Canadian Paul Rigby but let me tell you, that boy can play guitar!
The Hideout is one of my favorite Chicago live venues but I have a love/hate relationship with the place. It is home to many of the city's finest musicians and along with Fitzgerald's out in the western 'burbs it is home away from home for Bloodshot Records, one of Chicago's finest labels. But of late, the club has steered away from the hideout feel and seemingly is trying to go Big Time. The problem is it's a pretty small place and when crowded it is sucky especially in winter and especially post E2/Great White when the city is coming down a lot harder on capacity violations. The venue has also become insular catering almost exclusively to their little nest of musicians. I tried to book the excellent Australian rock-a-billy band Red Hot Pokerdots at the Hideout and they wouldn't hear of it even though two of their respected bartenders put in a good word for the band. Well enough criticism - an awful lot of good things keep crawling out of this scene so let's enjoy it while it lasts.