Chicago Caitlin was kind enough to put up with me for much of my recent sprint through the midwest. In the down time between work events, Caitlin and I hit up some coffee shops and some eateries, but by far the most fun evening was Monday night’s dinner and open mic.
First, Caitlin and I got all dressed up and hit up Fogo de Chao (an exciting Brazilian steakhouse) for dinner. We had steaks aplenty and then concluded with coffee and their Signature Papaya Cream (daaaang! – delicious!)
Then, we returned to Caitlin’s apartment and walked down to Quenchers to participate in their Monday Night Open Mic.
First some background. I’m fairly sure that I was sick during this entire evening. Mid-dinner I felt a fiery fever begin to rage in my forehead, accompanied by mild dizziness. I swallowed some Tylenol post-dinner and trucked onward. Adding personal pressure to the night, Tuesday morning was going to be an early one. My coworker Brian and I had a meeting at 7:30, so I knew I’d have to arise around 6:15 to get in gear.
After dinner, as my temperature soared, I was fairly certain I wouldn’t make it through an open mic night. Especially since Caitlin usually stays until 2am and closes out the joint. So I figured we’d get in there, play our tunes, and then if I had to leave early… no worries.
Begin the hilarity.
Upon arrival at Quenchers, we put our names on the list. Caitlin was 13th on the list, I was 14th. This would put our play time somewhere between 1:45 and 2:00am. Any thoughts of early departure were quickly crushed. Thankfully, the Tylenol started working and the music was worth the fever. For us, the night started with a dude named Scottish playing an epic rendition of Soundgarden. His playing was extremely precise.
There were solo artists, bands, and both electric and acoustic sets. It was amazing!!
Slowly, as the night progressed, the thick crowd began to thin out. People were going home. By 1am, only those with upcoming time slots remained. Finally, it was Caitlin’s turn.
Caitlin played two tunes, one cover and one original. Her playing has progressed so much since when I first heard her play. She really aced her tunes!
She graciously played only two songs (most folks played three) to give me time to get up there and play two songs of my own.
It was 1:53am and outside of Cait and myself, there were only three others in the audience: Steve, a drummer. Nathan, a bassist. and Darren, the hilarious open mic host.
I started with a quick Jesse Dee tune to get warmed up, and then played my original Sancho Panza: a deep voiced Spanish tale of Don Quixote and loneliness.
Not two verses into the tune, Steve ran up on stage and started whipping out some beats on the kit. Then Darren grabbed his guitar and started firing off Spanish riffs during the chorus. It was hilarious beyond measure. The song ended in a masterful fury of fast picking!! We all cheered with elation!
I loved every minute of that open mic night. Special thanks to Caitlin for bringing me along. Next time I visit Chicago, another open mic is a must.
I finally fell asleep around 3am for a quick 3 hour nap before company meetings.
Was it worth it? Absolutely.