fall back to the 90s at the elbo room chicago marquee reading The Big League Boys

I was born May 1st, 1990. If I’m being honest, I started absorbing music around 94.  I started really listening in 96. My older sister liked to crank Q101 to the max, and it was an extremely formative time as far as my musical tastes go.

Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Beck and Alice in Chains, duh. Ok Computer. No Doubt. Phish. Sublime. Weezer. 3 fucking 11.

What a glorious time to grow up in the suburbs of Chicago. MJ, Scottie Pippen, Rodman and company were cleaning house. Street Sharks and Power Rangers. The M in MTV was actually true. JNCO jeans were in style. If the phone rang, your AIM session froze the whole goddamn computer (and it was time to ride bikes all around the neighborhood anyway). Everyone who lived – not just grew up – in the 90s has a particularly nostalgic, romanticized view of that time. If you ask Tim, Mike, Brian, or Scott, they will give you an equally similar and different story than me about how great the decade was.

But what stands out the most to me is the extremely high quality of music overall across all genres. Outside of the megabands listed above, the one-hit dance wonders, pervasive car commercial songs, and tongue-in-cheek lyricism dominated every aspect of 90s culture. It was a less cynical time. It was a creatively explosive era. And it was absolute Nirvana if you loved loud guitars and real personalities in your mainstream bands.

In the months leading up to our “Fall Back to the 90s” show at The Elbo Room, we knew we would have a three hour set. Like the rest of our big themed shows (Girls Show, NOW show to name a couple), everyone would throw their favorite tunes from the era into one collaborative playlist. Which ended up being five hours long and counting. It was the classic cover band predicament: do we please the crowd with what is expected (and sacrilegious if we don’t play it, such as “Macarena”)? Do we please ourselves (play a Spice Girls track that isn’t “Wannabe)? Somehow, someway – we compromised and found a mix of both.

We tried to dress as douchey as possible. I think me or Mike probably won. Tim, Scott, and Brian looked awesome. Walking over to the venue, a group of Lincoln Park turbos actually scoffed and did a double take upon seeing Tim’s cutoff jorts. That’s when I knew we made it.

big league boys jumping on a couch outside of elbo room

Despite some sound issues, overall crowd reception was extremely engaged and intoxicated. As were the Big League Boys. As we ripped through Geggy Tah’s “Whoever You Are”, Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”, and Enrique Iglesias’ “Bailamos” you could tell this was a special night in the Elbo.

Many set staples made a debut at this show:

  • “Plush” by Stone Temple Pilots
  • “My Name is Jonas” by Weezer
  • “Fly” by Sugar Ray
  • “Ironic” by Alanis Morrisette (it was time to temporarily retire “You Oughta Know”)
  • “Livin La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin to close the show out

It’s incredibly hard to do an entire decade justice, even in three hours. To everyone hoping that we’d get some NIN, Foo Fighters, or Red Hot Chili Peppers in there… I invite you to come out to the next 90s show that will inevitably happen.

Once again, an unforgettable night in the world’s drunkest cover band..

– Joe

View the Setlist

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