Shortly after midnight — just as she was about to begin her set at Chicago’s Subterranean on March 18 (technically) — Holly Golightly addressed what became obvious at that point: “You may have noticed there are a few people missing tonight.” What was originally billed to be a set with a full band was instead Golightly and sideman Lawyer Dave as the Brokeoffs, originally slated to be the opener. (A solo set by Lawyer Dave filled the vacant opening slot.)
But other things seemed amiss that evening. There was a noticeably long wait between the sets in the small, overcrowded bar (to be fair, it was St. Patrick’s Day, and we were in Chicago), with no activity in the way of setting up on the stage. Golightly was upbeat during the set, and there was no shortage of diehard fans in attendance, but she didn’t seem to connect with the audience: It was actually hard to hear her over the chatter of the crowd. Interestingly, locals Screaming Yellow Zonkers, which opened the show, was the only band that night that succeeded in grabbing the audience’s attention.
Off night or no, the next time Golightly comes to town, I hope she brings her band (or at least finds a more suitable, intimate venue).