Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Chicago Punks 2003.

On July 25th of 2003 I traveled to Chicago for work. I had flown in, in the morning, taken the train in to the city and checked into my hotel (the House of Blues Hotel Chicago).

As I always did when I was traveling I decided to walk to to grab lunch and head over to where I'd be working for the next 7 days, the Merchandise Mart, on foot.
When the Chicago Merchandise Mart opened in 1930, it was the largest building in the world with 4,000,000 feet of floor space. The Mart is a magnificent building and a gem of the city.

My stock and materials had already arrived at the Mart so I dug in to the work at hand. By the time I finally left the Mart the sun had set and it was going on nearly 9pm.
No stranger to walking city streets after dark, I headed back to the hotel on foot.

Fortunately, I had thought to bring along my trusty 1985 Canon AE-1, a flash, a prime lens and some Kodak BW400CN film.

The streets of downtown Chicago are as wonderfully diverse as any in the United States. ©Mike Vega 2003

After stopping in for a quick drink at a hotel bar I meandered back to my hotel.
When I arrived, I was surprised to find a large crowd of punk kids lined up outside. I'd completely forgotten that of course there was a club, the House of Blues, right next door to the hotel! 
While I was having a look around I heard someone addressing me. A guy in a Dead Kennedys shirt was asking me if I needed a ticket. I happened to be wearing an "X" t-shirt at the time. I told him that I had just gotten into town and didn't even know who was playing.

Chicago punks waiting to get into the club. ©Mike Vega 2003

As luck would have it, G.B.H. were on tour with the Circle Jerks and the Bronx! The guy had an extra ticket and offered it to me on the condition that I buy him a beer in return, done deal!

Local kid making me feel right at home. ©Mike Vega 2003

The show was sold out and I scored a ticket basically for free just by being in the right place at the right time. Thanks Chicago.

Punky punks at the punk show. ©Mike Vega 2003

The Bronx rocked, The Jerks nearly blew the roof off the place and G.B.H. delivered mass hysteria. Sadly the bouncer gorillas weren't too hip on my camera... So I had to keep popping the flash on and off to conceal it and couldn't get any shots of the bands. But in hindsight, I guess I really don't mind, I was just happy to be there.

Punks at House of Blues Chicago. ©Mike Vega 2003

I've been lucky enough to see bands all over the U.S. and punk shows are always great because if you are a punk, you are welcomed, into the crowd, the pit, the bar...

Chicago punk. ©Mike Vega 2003

   So after staying up way too late and drinking too many beers and screaming too many songs. With tired head, ringing ears and a 7am wake up call, I called it a night. How would the rest of the week be able to match the first day's pace I wondered...

Until next time...