Milano

Halloween weekend was a weekend of music for us. It left me with a kind of buzz or high that carried me through at least half of the following week.

Not that I would know what a ‘buzz’ or ‘high’ feels like anyway. Ehem. Right.

Friday night was a blues concert hosted at the West side location of our church. It was incredible. Whoever that guy was on the harmonica–genius. Pure genius. My friend Carrie also sang, and she was fan-tas-tic. I love having musician friends–they are such an inspiration.

During her performance of ‘Black Coffee,’ Carrie crooned:

Now a man is born to go a lovin’
A woman’s born to weep and fret
To stay at home and tend her oven
And drown her past regrets
In coffee and cigarettes

Upon the utterance of the word ‘cigarettes,’ the young children seated right in front of us looked at each other in astonishment. “Is she promoting smoking?” they seemed to be asking each other with shocked eyes.

It was the funniest moment of the night. Their parents must be doing a great job.

Saturday night we went to a venue called Subterranean in Wicker Park to see a band called Milano. The subway was full of people in costume.

Sightings included: a creepy bride with a torn and bloodied gown. Zorro, as pictured above. Some kind of zombie drummerboy. There’s nothing like Halloween weekend to give that edge to the night.

We’d seen Milano once before, and were so excited to see them again. They’re a Chicago based band with a style that is a mixture of rock and folk. Jon Guerra, the lead singer, has an incredible and unique voice that pierces and soars. It’s like he’s putting 100% of his artistry and intentionality into each note.

Carrie and her husband Eric were also there. See if you can guess what they’re dressed as:

Extra points for anyone who can guess Eric’s costume. I’ll give you a hint: weird British TV show that Carrie and Eric swear by. Blue laser light thingy. And that’s all you’ll get out of me.

The energy at the concert was great. The first and second bands were pretty good, but vreeerrry loud. We had to take our eardrums outside for a breather to make it through. Sometimes I forget how loud live music can be, and then I go to a rock concert and I feel like somebody has inserted a drillhammer in my cochlea.

Milano was the 3rd band to play, and they were by far the best of the three. They were all dressed as characters from ‘Clue,’ which made them look even cooler than they normally do. You can’t tell in the picture above, but the violinist had a rockin’ Miss Scarlett vintage costume, complete with a piquante netted hat.

I want that hat.

But more than the hat, I want her mad violinist skills.

Milano’s style is described as ‘gypsy rock’ and they have gorgeous harmonies that make me want to burst into song with them. The interplay of the different instruments is genius. If I were of the correct age and disposition, I would strongly consider being their groupie. The concert was in celebration of the release of their new EP, which has 5 songs on it. The recording doesn’t have the raw energy of their live performances, but I’m slowly reconciling myself to that fact. Just like when we go to see Harry Potter #7 (release date is November 19th, I believe) I will have to reconcile myself to the fact that the movie just can’t be as good as the book. The songs are well recorded, but they don’t fully capture the controlled yet wild abandon of Jon’s voice. If I were in the music business, I’d sign these guys in a second. Then I’d assign them the best producer of all time. Then I’d re-record a couple of the numbers. And I’d re-make the first and second Harry Potter movies too, while I was at it.

Here’s their website–give ’em a listen. They’re awesome. And if you live in Chicago or its environs, you absolutely MUST try to catch them live. They make me thrill, cry, and want to fly straight up into the heavens.

I leave you with the lyrics to ‘Black Coffee’–totally unrelated to Milano, but they’ve been haunting me as of late:

I’m feeling mighty lonesome
Haven’t slept a wink
I walk the floor and watch the door
And in between I drink
Black coffee
Love’s a hand me down brew
I’ll never know a Sunday
In this weekday room

I’m talking to the shadows
from 1 o’clock til 4
And Lord, how slow the moments go
When all I do is pour
Black coffee
Since the blues caught my eye
I’m hanging out on Monday
My Sunday dreams to dry

Now a man is born to go a lovin’
A woman’s born to weep and fret
To stay at home and tend her oven

And drown her past regrets
In coffee and cigarettes

I’m moaning all the morning
and mourning all the night
And in between it’s nicotine
And not much heart to fight
Black coffee
Feelin’ low as the ground
It’s driving me crazy just waiting for my baby
To maybe come around… around
I’m waiting for my baby
To maybe come around

My nerves have gone to pieces
My hair is turning gray
All I do is drink black coffee
Since my man’s gone away

20 thoughts on “Milano

  1. Circe

    this is such a great post, I love live music too, though I haven’t been out to hear any in ages. This Halloween I passed by a whole group of very unfriendly “Where’s Waldos” I announced loudly that I had found them, and all but one scowled at me. It was kind of funny.

    Reply
  2. Steve Berg

    We should see if Milano is playing around Chicago when Steph and I come visit. That’d be amazingly awesome. Just bought the new EP. Awesomeness.

    Reply
  3. Ann McCormick

    Great photos!! I wish I would have done more on Halloween now. Im really spoiled seeing live bands. Makes you never want to listen to recorded music but we must to fall in love with ones we will never see.
    thanks Jenna

    Reply
  4. Joanne

    Whoa I absolutely love the lyrics to that song! They definitely seep into your pores. Sounds like one awesome halloween weekend! I’ve never heard of Milano before but I’ll definitely be checking them out.

    Reply
  5. Twinky Satterthwaite

    you’ve got the violin, …….
    and the guitar…….
    and the voice!!!
    ……….
    need I say more?! 😉

    Reply
    1. Jenna

      Audrey Hepburn is correct! (Holly Golightly in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”). As for Eric, I might as well reveal it for anyone still curious–he is Dr. Who. Yep.

      Reply
  6. Vesselina

    speaking of live music…. I so wish we could go together to see The Avett Brothers live on NYE. I miss you, friend. Also, thanks for the Black Coffee lyrics- a very fitting way to end the evening right now.

    Reply
  7. Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

    Hi, you asked about my crustless pumpkin pie if you could taste the Splenda. NO, you couldn’t! I’ve actually made this twice, I overcooked one but it was still awesome. I use splenda in savory sauces all the time and don’t notice it but I have on occasion tasted it in desserts. So I was skeptical too. I didn’t notice anything funky about it at all. It was delicious!

    I’ll check out more of your blog later, I’m off to bed but just wanted to address your question and I didn’t see an email address. Thanks again!

    Reply
    1. Jenna

      Thanks for tracking me down and answering my question Debbi! Now that’s commitment. =) Anyway, your pie did indeed look delicious. If I can get past my baking angst I’ll give it a try!

      Reply
  8. ma whats for dinner

    Sounds like fun. I must say I’ve had my fair share of black coffee and cigarettes…though if my man left me, it’d probably be a bit stronger than coffee, and I’d hate to have to quit smoking again. :)

    By the way…the mayo really add to the squash, you can’t taste it though.

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What’s For Dinner
    http://www.mawhats4dinner.com

    Reply
  9. Carrie

    wow. my eyelashes are seriously falling out. ehem…

    I’m so glad you made this post! What fun nights those were!!! And thanks for reminding me of those kids in the front row. I hope they don’t think of me from now on as the “cigarette woman”… though now that I think about it, might be kinda mysteriously exciting a persona to generate… I mean, I did spend that whole weekend smoking fake cigs, between the candy Friday night and the very life-like roll at the end of my cigarette holder on Saturday. There’s bound to be talk.

    Reply

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