I don’t know if you’ve ever used Uber before, but it’s a pretty handy app if you’re looking to catch a cab after a show. Especially if you’re in an area that isn’t generally heavy on taxi traffic (like the Camera Obscura show at Thalia Hall-definitely requested an Uber after that one). They’ve come under some scrutiny lately, with the government trying to run them out of business, which I think is totally unfair. In a move that I think helps their case tremendously, Uber teamed up with Lollapalooza and Target last week to host a bunch of random shows all over Chicago.
If you opened up the app last Thursday, you saw something called #UberLIVE. All you had to do was enter your location and you would receive a text whenever there was a show near you. From 2-8pm, they had bands playing downtown in random locations that only those that received a text would know about. I received my first text just after 2, letting me know that a band would be at Ed Debevic’s in 15 minutes. We’d just received a new lens in the mail the night before, so I grabbed the camera, attached the lens, and ran out the door.
They never let you know which band is playing, so I was pleased to arrive one song in to a set by Wildcat! Wildcat! A big crowd had already turned up, and I worked my way through the dancing mass to get some shots of the band. They played some tunes off No Moon At All, and even pulled out a couple of new songs. It was a lot of fun, and it was just the beginning.
As soon as that set ended, around 25 minutes or so, I got another text. 10 minutes until the next show at 210 W Hubbard. I ran over there, passing Danger Mouse on the street without really noticing until after I was passed him. I got to the address, which is just a parking lot under the el, and about a hundred or so people were already there. The mobile stage showed up and some guys got out of a Uber Black Car to reveal the next band would be The Kooks. The people around me were absolutely delighted.
I can’t say I’ve loved everything The Kooks have done, but their first album is pretty great. Lucky for me Luke Pritchard announced at the start that they’d be playing a lot of old stuff. And he wasn’t lying. They opened with “Ooh La” and made their way through “She Moves In Her Own Way,” and a fan-requested “Naive” which apparently wasn’t on the set list. They also played a new song that may or may not have made the Lolla set list, but the fans here seemed to like it.
The crowd participation was a bit higher with The Kooks, most likely because they’ve been around a lot longer than Wildcat! Wildcat! It was nice to hear a bunch of people singing along with no sense of shame. It’s a testament to just how good Inside In/Inside Out is that people still want to rock out to those songs.
Later on in the day #UberLIVE hosted shows by Phantogram, Bombay Bicycle Club, and Into It. Over It. Those were outside walking distance for me, but I’m sure they were a blast if the two shows I saw were any indication of the audience Uber was able to generate.
You can check out a few more pics on my Flickr page.