We’re back from Chicago and had an absolutely awesome time at The Next American Star National Finals. The band and I only had three days in Chicago, but managed to get to Uno’s, scarf down an Italian beef sandwich at Portillo’s, check out the Art Institute, and get around Chicago marathon traffic.
Oh, and we also rocked a street festival in the freezing cold.
We arrived in Chicago to rain on Friday morning, but that night headed over to the Crimson Lounge at the Hotel Sax, a very cool Chicago music-themed hotel. We met all of the competing bands and the Next American Star staff, and got to hear everyone play a short acoustic set, then headed over to Pete Wentz’s Angels and Kings for the after-party. It was a great way to kick off the festivities.
Saturday was the final performance at Clark/Belmont Street Fest, complete with headliner Vanilla Ice (he played at our finals at the Fillmore NYC, and once again brought the house down). My set was early in the day so I could play for the kids from the Starlight Children foundation-- they made our day as much as we made theirs. The temperature was already dropping fast at 1:30-- my nose was so red that you could tie me to the front of the sleigh. Despite the cold, and the wind, we played an awesome set that I felt really great about. We opened with Trust Me (as usual) and debuted a new song, Waste My Time; I’m in the middle of recording it right now and can’t wait for you all to hear it. We also made it on the local ABC 6 o’clock news! Anyone have any footage?
I could barely feel my hands when I got off stage, and I ended up going into the clothing store near the stage about 3 times to buy more layers as it got colder while waiting for Ice's set (anyone else see the irony here?). My band also did an incredible job playing without any feeling left in their hands or faces… the crowd was into it, so that kept us warm enough.
We had Sunday free-- it was a tad warmer-- so we got some sight-seeing in and capped off the weekend with some late night blues at Kingston Mines before we headed home early Monday morning (thank you, Delta, for getting our instruments back and forth safely). I’ve put some photos up from the weekend, and will have some video up soon.
I want to send a big “thank you” to the entire TNAS staff for all of their hard work in making the weekend so much fun. We can’t wait to be back in Chicago.
Don’t forget that voting is open through October 31st, so we still need your votes to be The Next American Star!
View a slideshow here.
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