Tour Diary: Dekalb, IL 2/23/12

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On Thursday, the 23rd of February, the Giving Tree Boys loaded up their bus and hopped over to the city of Dekalb to play a show at the House Cafe. I met up with them a little later in the evening due to a scheduling conflict that had me in the city. When I arrived, a few of the guys were completing a few last minute pre-show rituals before the doors opened to the public while the others had already walked up the street to a Thai restaurant for dinner. Completely smitten with the grooviest little cafe I'd ever been in, I stuck around to check the venue out.

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After dinner (which judging by the leftovers brought back, mostly consisted of basil fried rice), half of the guys returned to grab their instruments and begin warming up while the other half took the time to greet fans and friends patiently waiting for the show to begin.  Dave Green took the stage shortly after, performing a diverse acoustic set that included a righteous cover of an MGMT song. I'm not particularly familiar with their song titles so I can't tell you which one, but perhaps a reader out there will lend me a hand... :)

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Following Dave Green were Chicago locals Dasterdly. Like The Giving Tree Band, the quintet is contingent on the use of many different instruments including accordian, banjo, guitar, and clarinet. Their music is rooted in Americana but employs humor and a little bit of punk-esque vocals to brand their music as their own. On another note, if you find yourself at a Dasterdly show in the near future, make sure to swing by their merch table; their t-shirts are awesome.

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What began as a drizzle earlier in the evening had turned into an all-out snowstorm that evening but a steady stream of people filtered into the House Cafe regardless of the conditions. By the time The Giving Tree Band took to the stage, the room was getting crowded and enthusiastic about the evening's show.

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It didn't take long for the dance floor to fill up. In no time at all, it seemed as though the majority of the crowd had left their seats and moved toward the stage to join in on the action. On stage, the boys reflected this energy as they performed audience favorites such as "Caged Lion" and "Together" as well as newer additions to the set list including "Dead Heroes" and "Brown Eyed Women".

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It took a while after their set to clear out, as many folks stuck around to chat with the band, ask a few questions, or grab a quick autograph but once the room had emptied, I began to explore the House Cafe again. Clearly this was my first visit to the House but it seemed like the kind of place I'd want to visit more often. Besides a very vegan-friendly menu (some selections included a variety of vegan baked goods, vegan wraps, & soups), a well rounded variety of espresso beverages and beers for those so inclined, the atmosphere was out of this world, though perhaps in line with their decor--totally in the center of this universe. I've been to a lot of joints that strive for a hodge-podge appearance but  end up with a room that looks like it was just filled with someone's old junk. The House Cafe has it right. The walls are lined with original artwork, the ceiling covered in balloons and handmade sculptures which perfectly catch the stage's colorful lightening, and the stage itself is adorned with yards of gypsy linen and oriental lamps.

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After Norm finished reading the news and the others filled up their water bottles, we all drove off slowly into the snowy night.

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For more photos of the House Cafe and the Giving Tree Band performance, please click here.

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