Finally the day arrived. One of the highlights of the tour was the chance, no the honor, no better yet, the privilege to play with Chicago Irish punk rockers The Fisticuffs! First, and foremost we want to thank Tony (the drummer) and his fiancé Sara for letting us stay at their really nice pad out in Oak Forest. We arrived at Tony’s in the afternoon on Friday and had some BBQ and set the mark for how the next five days would go: WEIRD!
The first show was at Sullivan’s in Midlothian, another suburb of Chicago near Tony’s. Sullivan’s is not your typical Irish pub…it’s huge, big stage, big room, big sound. The Ridgelands opened the show. A local three-piece power punk band, definitely got the crowd going. Then we took the stage, powered thru it, and then The Fisticuffs closed out the night. Bob (vocals), Dave (mandolin), Sean (guitar), Neil (bass), Aracdia (violin), and Tony (drums) make up the band that we now call our friends and can’t wait to play more shows with them in the future. They killed it! It was a hometown show for them and it was high energy punk with Celtic elements. We loved it! After the show, we partied at Tony’s and got ready to go to Wisconsin on Saturday.
On Saturday, we slept in, had some Dunken Donuts courtesy of the wonderful Sara, and made the quick two hour drive to Racine, Wisconsin. I do have to mention it cost us about $20 in tolls to get out of the Chicago area which, for San Diego natives, is pretty fucking stupid. Back to the music, we loaded in to McAuliffes and met its owner, JJ (former member of The Sandcarvers). Earlier that day we learned that a third band was added to the show. Skerryvore out of Scotland missed their flight and was suppose to play the La Crosse Irish Festival so they were added to our show. They had a very pro sounding Celtic folk pop sound and I can see why they do well at festivals. Those lucky blokes get to play Milwaukee Irish Fest this weekend too! Fisticuffs opened and killed it. Their energy is infectious and makes bands around them step up their game. Which I feel we did in Racine. Everyone stayed as we headlined the show and it turned out to be one of our best sets on the tour. JJ came up and played a couple songs on bohdran too. It was a party in Racine!
We woke up and both bands met at The Farm for breakfast. What we thought was a family restaurant turned into a fried chicken fast food joint. Not too bad, can it be really when you have a “cheesebuster” on the menu??? The drive to Madison was only a couple hours. We got to High Noon Saloon and were blown away again. Alot of these venues have been spectacular and High Noon Saloon was no exception! The American Dead opened the show. They should be titled The American Rock because that’s type of performance they put on. In your face, American Rock! Next up on the bill were the Screw City Saints from Rockford, IL. If we call ourselves American Fiddle Rock, and I would say Screw City is American Flute Rock. Angie rocked the flute and penny whistle as Screw City rocked all the classics like “Black Velvet Band” and “The Wild Rover”. The Fisticuffs were suppose be up next, but they were nowhere to be found! Apparently Neil had one too many cheesebusters in Racine, so they called in a replacement band to take their spot. That band, no they weren’t a band, they were an idea that transcends the boundaries of traditional music, the legendary American Gerbil Rock outfit – XING FELD!!! Madison went crazy! Cami danced all over High Noon Saloon like a hippie at Woodstock, she even kneed Vince in the balls which was enjoyed by all of us. Xing Feld will stand the test of time and Madison is now a different city and High Noon Saloon will forever be known as the place Xing Feld played on a calm Sunday night in August. We closed out the show and did our best, but to follow Xing Feld we might as well stayed home and reflect on why we even play music in the first place. Side Note, JJ from McAuliffe’s made the trip to Madison to see the show, and that was really rad of him! He definitely gets super fan points and makes the Midwest Missile Tour Honorary Cool Peeps list.
On Monday, we headed back to Chicago for the fourth and final show with the Fisticuffs. Getting gas, we ran into another touring band from Des Moines called They Will Repent. Cool kids who rock Progressive Metal similar to San Diego’s As I Lay Dying. They gave us some suggestions for food in Des Moines and we exchanged albums. We were happy to get some new road music for the rest of the drive to Chicago. Once we got to the city, we dropped off Cami so she could hang out with friends and we went to meet up with Bob (lead singer of the Fisticuffs) to hang out in the south side and have some pizza at Connie’. We got a stuffed pepperoni, mushroom, and meatball pie and it was delicious. We then walked around in the drizzling weather to a hidden pub called Maria’s, had a pint and next thing you know we are getting ready for the last show with our new friends at Reggie’s Music Joint! Reggie’s is awesome! A very cool punk venue with a built in record store, great food, and just a perfect vibe. Warsaw Vices opened the show. I would best describe them as an in your face indie pop rock outfit. I really liked the fact that they had three lead vocalists. It is a nice change of pace on each song and gives the band a good dynamic. We played and with the help of Don, recorded our set. It was an okay recording, we will see after we mix it down if we can use any of it. The Fisticuffs closed out the night and rocked our brains out. We are really gonna miss those guys, they play with such energy and are all really cool people! I wish we had more bands like them on the West Coast. And I could definitely see a Lexington Field/The Fisticuffs/Hoist The Colors tour in the future! Thank you Tony and Sara for the hospitality and we will see you soon Chicago!
– Beau Gray