Saturday was my pal Justin's birfday. A gang of us went out for sushi and (a whole bunch of) sake. Our plan was to go from dinner to a punk rock band/mud wrestling league show at an abandoned office building on the outskirts of Chicago city limits. This proposition was met with a chorus of unenthusiastic maybe's from 'round the table. After everyone else slinked off under the guise of one excuse or another, three of us remained. We set out on that dark and rainy night heading due West outta town, more that a little apprehensive about what to expect.
The building was located without much trouble and we were let in upon paying our $5. As it was, in its former life, a 5 story office building, and we had arrived fairly early, we were left to wander around the dark and empty hallways and rooms in an attempt to find the room where the magic was to happen. It was fun in an unrban spelunking lite kinda way and brought back memories of exploring abandoned factories as a teenager in good ol' Central Florida. Upon finally discovering the rock and roll room, we decided that the situation was more akin to various clandestine parties we'd raged at in Brooklyn or Detroit... though we doubted anyone came here armed.
Gays in the Military played first. Their sloppy take on late 7o's synth punk was made tolerable (hell, fun even) by their crazy faux queer-army guy getups and the low slung ceiling that caused the taller members to cock their heads at funny and uncomfortable angles throughout the performance. Cos' band The Functional Blackouts played the next set. They've settled nicely into the second phase of the band where the guitarist sings and the overall songwriting has grown beyond the spit and bile of their early material. Eager to hear the new album that is being sat on for some reason.
Finally, The Billy Carter Band served as the backing band for the bombast of amateur, league style mud wrestling courtesy of Chicago's Mud Queens. The matches began and very, very quickly, it turned into a wacky, violent, filthy, somewhat titillating evening. Exactly what one should expect, I suppose, from a punk rock, feminist mud wrestling show.
The crowd (pretty equally both guys and gals) were whipped into a frenzy from the start. It was a cathartic whirlwind of violence, nudity, dirt, booze and loud music. Everyone dutifully played along for the seven or eight bouts, cheering and jeering on cue and one "lucky" audience member even won a chance to strip down to his underwear, get up onstage and wrestle two gals. They pinned him immediately into the second round but through the thick coat of mud that covered his entire body, I could see the goofy smile on his face that's probably still there this afternoon. Just a little wider than the rest of ours.
*Note: I was highly intoxicated by the time the wresting started and was lucky enough to have a ringside perch. I left covered in mud. Jacket and jeans probably ruined from massive mud exposure. It was rad. However, at the end of the show, I wound up scooping armfulls of mud from the stage and flinging them all over the crowd and the stage like a two-year-old partying with his poo.
**UPDATE #1: Here's a link to the Chicago Reader's coverage of the event. The tag line in Jessica Hopper's godawful rendering of the event refers to all "The Pigs... in the crowd" but then fails to mention anything about said piggish behavior in the article. Why? Well, probably because there WASN'T any piggish, frat-type behavior to speak of. Everyone was as rowdy as they were respectful. Whatever. While the article does the evening little justice, I'm in two of the pictures, so check it out.