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...