August 19, 2002 ... Park West
Lose Me On the Way
On the Low
Friends of a Smile
Bavarian Fruit Bread
Silver and Gold
Around My Smile
Play With Fire (The Rolling Stones)
- Ben Maki: Caught the Chicago stop last night at Park West mostly due to the fact that Mark Lightcap from Acetone was on the tour. The band was hanging pretty low due to excessive celebrations after what was according to them one of the best stops on the tour so far in Minneapolis the night before. Had dinner with Mark, Al, Colm & the light guy--or as I like to call him the Dark Man, seeing as Hope is constantly asking him to turn down the lights because it's too bright for her. (even though prior to her asking it so dark that one of the band clocked himself in the head onstage trying to change instruments) They're a nice lot. Colm & Al were rather quiet, due in some part to the aforementioned hangovers and unfamiliar company. They seem to be having fun on the tour and are starting to loosen up a bit with the songs.
I enjoyed the Soledad Brothers. Nice simple raw sound. Provided a bit of energy before the big slowdown. Hope's set was nice. There was a brief delay around the third song as they started only to discover the bass amp had gone out (the ghost of Richie Lee causing trouble-it was his head) Hope was forced into what was pretty obviously an uncomfortable position of having to address the audience. She handled it fairly well with a couple of remarks and then asking the audience for cigarettes, then more cigarettes and then a lighter. Equipment issues were rectified before it got too ugly. The set was nice. Very low key, but things gelled well. Being a huge Acetone fan I was thrilled that--while others cycled on and off stage--Mark (and Colm) were always there backing Hope. At times the mix was not quite ideal, but I think that was more the venue than the band.
The encore was what stunned me, they come back out and break into the opening riff of "Louise" by Acetone. "They can't be" I say to my friend. Sure enough, a sweet cover of a song by a band that Hope has always been a fan of. Later I found that there were several Acetone songs they were deciding from for the tour because she really wanted to play something of theirs. This was followed by a great version of Play With Fire. So, nice show, some surprises (but don't expect any material from her other projects)
After the show I had a chance to chat with Johnny of the Soledad Brothers and others that were hanging out from both bands (and significant others like Meg White of White Stripes) Everyone ended up hanging out either in the bus or on the curbs outside the bus for quite some time. I did get to meet Hope, but didn't pursue much of a conversation with her other than to locate a bottle opener for my beer, which she graciously opened for me. She is talkative in familiar company, but she and others were getting ready for the night trip to Toronto so I wasn't going to outstay my welcome. I saw that quite a few fans got to stick around and chat up various band members out on the sidewalk (including a few that eventually got a chance to go on the bus and meet Hope) All in all a very nice lot of people.
As far as Mazzy Star plans, my understanding is that Hope and Colm are going back to Norway at the end of the tour to start work on the new album. I didn't really press for any more details.