Thursday, July 14, 2016

Double Door no more?

After a lengthy litigation, a Cook County judge today ordered the eviction of Double Door from it's space on Milwaukee and Damen. This is generating cries of outrage and disbelief. At one level, I get it -- the club became a Wicker Park institution. But, on the other hand, I'm pretty unsympathetic.

The owners of the Double Door (one of those owners is Joe Shanahan, who must be much less involved in Double Door)have not had the best relationship with the landlord of the old liquor store/bar that they converted into a club. In 2005, there was legal action that was resolved. You would think that this would have put the Double Door on notice to tread carefully and adhere to their lease. Based on the coverage of the trial that led to this eviction, you would turn out to be wrong. The landlords had two issues: 1) Double Door had fallen months behind on its rent, and, 2) Double Door failed to follow the terms of the lease to execute an extension. The provision required notice by certified mail with a certain amount of time before the lease's expiration date. According to the landlord, they never received any notice.

There was not much in the news coverage regarding the rent. I get the impression that the failure to pay was conceded. The big issue was the extension. And Double Door's defense was not a good one. The claim was that one of the owners wrote a note seeking to extend the lease and threw it in with a (apparently rare) rent check. In other words, the Double Door's defense was, "Hey, we violated the lease, but we really wanted to renew." Ultimately, the judge didn't buy it, and the eviction date will be set at a subsequent court date (DD has shows booked into November).

Now, all is not lost. Double Door can appeal, which could delay things. We'll see if they do.

It should also be noted that the judge gave the parties ample time to settle this. The landlord obviously wants to jack up the rent, and Double Door, based on its non-payment of the rent, likely had a problem with it. While it sucks that bands many no longer be able to play there, the landlord is entitled to make money off the place.

So we've lost a cultural institution, I suppose. I've certainly seen some fine shows there. I saw a Facebook post where someone got married there. It has sentimental value, for sure.

But, in the end, Chicago will survive. It always has. I think of all the clubs that have come and gone over the years. Club Dreamerz (where I first saw Didjits and The Jesus Lizard). The West End (I saw The Feelies close it down with 8 encores!). Gunther Murphy's. Thurston's. The Note. Batteries Not Included. The original Exit. The Elbo Room (wait...The Elbo Room is still open? How the fuck did that happen???).

And Lounge Ax. It was a really big deal when Lounge Ax had to shut down due to noise complaints. The place had booked so many great acts. It was romanticized to the nth degree. But you know what? It was a really lousy place to see a show. A small, narrow space with a low stage, meaning that if you weren't within 15 feet of the stage, it was hard to see. And when it was hot during the summer, it was miserable. I felt bad it had to close, but I never really missed it.

And that's how I feel about Double Door. While the repurposing of the place was kind of neat, it didn't have the greatest PA or sight lines, had the sound board in an awkward place, and once you got towards the back, it was just a place where people gabbed. I'll remember it for my show there (Elastica w/Smoking Popes), seeing the original line up of Naked Raygun days before my wedding, Frisbie's first record release show and Didjits' last ever show, among others.

But there nothing about the space that can't be replaced, and replaced by something better. Most clubs are fungible dumps. I'm going to Empty Bottle tonight to see Royal Headache and Negative Scanner, and while I've seen many great shows there, the room itself ain't much. If it went, something would take it's place. Something always has.

Maybe it's a blow to Wicker Park, but I think Wicker Park can handle it. Who knows, maybe the next occupant will also be a music venue.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

July 9, 2016 CHIRP Radio Playlist (Show #301)

9:00 AM John Lee Hooker • Too Much Boogie • The Legendary Modern Recordings • Flair

9:03 AM The Fall • Petty (Thief) Lout • This Nation's Saving Grace • Beggars Banquet

9:09 AM Jaye Bartell • Light Enough • Light Enough •Sinderlyn

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Mid-year Top 40 albums of 2016

This is a very loose ranking of my favorite albums of what has already been a terrific year for new music. After the first 10 or 11, the rankings aren't really that thought out. There are video or audio clips where available. I was surprised how much harder it was to get things -- apparently Google doesn't allow for 100% Blogger/YouTube synergy.

1. BeyonceLemonade


2. SuedeNight Thoughts


3. Emma PollockIn Search of Harperfield

Saturday, July 2, 2016

July 2, 2016 CHIRP Radio Playlist (Show #300)

For this show, I played at least one 3:00 song every set. I've marked those songs with an asterisk.

9:01 AM Bat For Lashes • In God's House • The Bride •Warner Bros.

9:06 AM The Pearlfishers • Say Goodbye to the Fairground* •Sky Meadows • Marina

9:08 AM Samara Lubeski • The Spectacle of Exile • The Gilded Raid • Drawing Room

Saturday, June 25, 2016

June 25, 2016 CHIRP Radio playlist (Show #299)

9:00 AM Garbage • If I Lost You • Strange Little Birds • Stun Volume/BMG

9:04 AM The Members • Working Girl • Uprhythm, Downbeat •Arista

9:08 AM Mitski • Your Best American Girl • Puberty 2 • Dead Oceans

Saturday, June 11, 2016

June 11, 2016 CHIRP Radio Playlist (Show #298)

9:01 AM Paul Simon • Insomniac's Lullaby • Stranger To Stranger • Concord

9:05 AM James Blake • I Need a Forest Fire (Ft. Bon Iver) •The Colour in Anything • Republic

9:10 AM Cassius Clay • Round 3: Do You Have to Ask? • I Am The Greatest! • Columbia

Saturday, May 28, 2016

May 28, 2016 CHIRP Radio playlist (Show #297)

9:00 AM The Jayhawks • Lovers of the Sun • Paging Mr. Proust • Sham

9:03 AM James Carr • These Ain't Raindrops • The Essential James Carr • Razor & Tie

9:05 AM Mosaics • Freedom • Year of Valor • self-released