It sounded like fun: the Human League at an outdoor street festival. Resurrecting fond memories of men in eyeliner, women in dark streaks of blush and the early days of MTV. With only a $5 suggested donation, it wasn't too guilty a guilty pleasure, and it also provided the chance to enjoy the summer weather a street fair. New wave nostalgia and fried Twinkies: how could it go wrong?
Egad! The idea was appealing to far too many people, and Northalsted
Market Days was just a sea of humanity. It's one thing to enter a mosh
pit and tacitly agree to be bumped into, but there was nowhere to avoid
being constantly jostled. The massive quantities of flowing alcohol
didn't help, but most of the problem was just the sheer volume of
people. I came close to telling one guy who did some inappropriate
touching as he pushed past me, "I don't care if you're gay. I don't
want strangers grabbing my ass."
The unbearable crowds were unfortunate because the performance was
showing promise. It was unnerving how much Philip Oakey sounds like
Alison Moyet, but he, Susanne
Sulley and Joanne Catherall were all in fine voice. "Mirror
Man" and "The Lebanon" were the anticipated and necessary reminders
that there was more to their career than "Don't You Want Me." But the
sheer unpleasantness of being part of the audience made it impossible
to stick around for their biggest hit.
One advantage of the $20 entry fee for the Goose Island Fest with Sonic
Youth, Guided by Voices, Bob Mould, Yazuka and the Waco Brothers is
that it should limit the crowd size. Here's hoping.