Friday night (July 11) was my first visit to the new Bottom Lounge. It was too bad when the old Bottom Lounge near Belmont closed (I saw a few bands there, including the Hold Steady, the Like Young and the Redwalls), so I was glad to hear that the venue was coming back – albeit in a completely different location. It’s out on the near West Side, near the corner of Lake Street and Ogden Avenue. That’s not far from Union Park, which hosts the Pitchfork Music Festival this coming weekend, and it seems like that area is gaining in hipness lately.
The new venue is … well, new. It just seems too clean and antiseptic right now for a rock club, but maybe that’s just because it hasn’t had time to get a little dirty. Neatly arranging the posters for upcoming concerts on a bulletin board in the hallway rather than plastering them on the walls does seem a little too anal-retentive, though. The main music room is a nice big space with decent sound and sight lines. The lighting seemed pretty good at first (from my point of view as a photographer), but then it seemed to get dimmer as the night went on.
I saw a couple of shows by the Chamber Strings back before the band went on a sort of hiatus. They sounded as good as ever Friday night, with nice poppy tunes. I recognized some of the songs, though I can’t say I know their repertoire inside and out. I’d like to hear them do more new songs. The band’s capable of good things.