My Year in Concerts: 2013 & 2014

Craig Finn, lead singer of The Hold Steady and rock 'n roll prophet, soaks in the love on July 3, 2014, at Summerfest.

Craig Finn, lead singer of The Hold Steady and rock ‘n roll prophet, soaks in the Summerfest love in 2014.

We saw some great concerts in 2011 and 2012! So only seeing five shows in 2013 was a let down.

Nevertheless, when I put the last two years together, we saw some great concerts and although I don’t get to shows as often as I used to, I can’t think of many places I’d rather be than amidst other music lovers, beer in my hand and the music of a band I love making a moment into magic. Read More


Wandering Chicago: A Trip to The White City, Goose Island & The Squared Circle


Michelle and I hopped the 6:05 Metra train from Kenosha pointed at Ogilvie Transportation Center in downtown Chicago. She was headed to a conference and I was planned on wandering the city on a beautiful, warm spring day … one of the first of the year.

What followed was an adventure in miniature. I traversed Chicago on foot and via bus, train and subway … all between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Read More

My Year in Concerts: 2012

The Hold Steady in Chicago. Photo by TJ Uttke

The Hold Steady in Chicago. Photo by TJ Uttke

2012 was an extremely busy year for me. Michelle and I planned a wedding. I took work trips to Colorado and New Orleans. I enjoyed a bachelor party in Las Vegas. We bought a house. We got married. We went to Cabo on our honeymoon. It was the most amazing year of my life!

But there wasn’t much time (or money) for concerts. I only attended eight in 2012, a depressingly low number for me, especially coming off such an incredible, musical 2011 (i.e. We saw ARCADE FIRE!).

Nevertheless, I saw shows in three states with a dozen different friends. I had my face melted from breakneck hard rock and was lulled to euphoria by sweet three-part harmonies. Read More

My Year in Concerts: 2011

Craig Finn of The Hold Steady gesticulating wildly in Cleveland, Ohio, one of my favorite 2011 concerts

Less Than Jake @ The Rave | Milwaukee, WI 2-5-11
With Mike

It is bittersweet seeing a Less Than Jake concert, more than 10 years after my first show. Mostly everything on the stage is the same; it is the crowd that has changed; we are less in number, though more of us are consuming alcohol. Besides a few diehard ska lovers, skanking has pretty much gone by the wayside. I spent most of the concert outside of the pit, just watching, rather than mixing it up in youthful revelry. The songs are the same, LTJ dutifully avoids playing a lot of their new stuff, sticking to their classic albums, ‘Losing Streak’ and ‘Hello Rockview.’ Those songs still get the crowd the most pumped up. Still, I marvel that when I listened to those songs, then, as an 18-year-old, they are about people who were the age I am now. How they haven’t transcended that spectrum and become even more meaningful to me is a mystery. Maybe we just tire of music eventually. Eventually, when we come back around again, these familiar anthems comfort us, bringing us back to a time where things were simpler, but also more complicated. These thoughts, coursing through my mind, while the beer coursed through my veins, didn’t allow me to fully live in the moment at the show, but there was something comforting about seeing LTJ again. Read More