Over a month ago I noticed that for the Jim Grimes Farewell Show in Chicago that Cro-Mags and Merauder along with Death Threat were to play. Local bands, Convicted, Left Hand Path, and The Killer were also slated to play the show creating a solid lineup. I bought my ticket on a whim not really knowing how I was going to get to Chicago or where I was going to stay. At the the moment when I bought my ticket the only thing that I cared about was seeing Cro-Mags at a relatively close distance from Omaha. My original plan was to take a bus with my friend Dann and stay with a mutual friend in the city once we got there. I would later find out that my friends Nick and Moose from Lincoln and were going to the same show. Nick needed a ride to Chicago, and Moose needed a ride back. I've taken a bus to Chicago before in years past and felt that even though the traveling wasn't the most comfortable it was still an interesting way to travel. No one else going to the show felt the same way, and wanted me to drive, so after a couple weeks of delay I decided that I would. By this point a mutual friend, Jeff asked to be picked up at his home in Iowa City on the way. Moose had set up a place for us to stay in Chicago with Zach from Expire and we all took the weekend of the show off for the show so we were pretty much ready for the road trip. The plan was to leave early Friday morning, get to Iowa City to pick up Jeff by 1 and get into Chicago in the late afternoon with time to explore the city for an evening. After a few minor delays, we finally left Omaha a little after 1:30pm.
Driving through Iowa can be somewhat boring for most people. The wide open spaces of cornfields, the rolling plains, the small towns can seem like a moment frozen in time from years past. With the tallest buildings being grain elevators and local entertainment includes driving up and down "the strip", I can see why bands popular enough to tour across the country wouldn't like driving through the plains states. Driving through Iowa and later Illinois for me however is a way to relax before getting into the very dense and vertical city of Chicago. The drive from Omaha to Iowa City seemed to go by really fast with lot of talking about various hardcore bands and shows we have seen in the past. We picked up Jeff in Iowa City at about 4:30 and quickly got back on the interstate towards our destination. Jeff likes to talk to there was plenty of conversation to be had, making the traveling time seem to go by even faster. By the time we were crossing the Mississippi River into Illinois darkness was setting in, but that didn't mater because Hatebreed's Satisfaction was blastin' and I think we saw the foot of a corpse hanging out of someones car trunk in Davenport. After nearly flying off an exit ramp to the toll road towards the city, I remember the highway being really dark and not having many people driving on it. After lots of tolls paid and continuous hardcore chatter, the outskirts of Chicago seemed to come out of nowhere. By this point in the trip is was after 9pm and rainy. Chicago traffic wasn't as heavy as I thought it would be, and with the help of a GPS we were able to find where we were going to stay quite easily.
Zach's house is in Logan Square, a pretty quiet neighborhood that reminded me a lot of parts of the Twin Cities with it's parkways, shops, and local restaurants. After lugging in all our stuff, I got to meet Zack's girlfriend Maggie, as well as Nick and Jeff's girlfriends Lauren and Ashley who were both in town to see the show as well. I would find out that Zack wasn't in town for whatever reason I couldn't remember and Nick and Lauren ran away to be alone for the rest of the weekend. By this point I haven't eaten much all throughout the day, so we walked to a local Chinese dive a few blocks away. Along the way while walking through an alleyway Jeff noticed that in a basement apartment there was a guy crouched over eating pizza on the floor naked... while watching the Office on a projection screen. If you are going to eat naked in your apartment, at least close the blinds, ha. After watching him for a few seconds we knocked on the window and he gave us a thumbs up. That guy really knows how to live, and yes I saw his penis. We arrived at the Chinese restaurant literally minutes before they were about to close and I'm sure they were pissed to see us walk in. Under normal circumstances I wouldn't do this to the cooks and dishwashers, but I was mad hungry and I'm sure everyone else was too. After scarfing down some MSG we headed back to Maggie's place and met up with a couple that I forget their names (sorry if you read this), and started to plan out the next day leading up to the show. Dann called Moose and found out he was going to be in town sometime in the small hours of the morning. Someone mentioned that a new Straight Edge documentary called Edge and it was playing in Chicago the same day as the show. We all agreed we'd check it out. The night pretty much ended with us sitting around hanging out talking about hardcore and whatnot, while Zach and Maggie's Boston terrier named Franklin went all fucking crazy running around while we were tossing a toy around. This dog is merciless and will head walk anyone in it's way. After a while I was so tired from driving all day I unrolled my sleeping bag and passed out almost instantly. I slept pretty shitty that night and I think I may have heard Moose arrive sometime in the night while I was sleeping.