photos by James Richard IV, words by Claire O'Connor
Tim Tuten, owner of Chicago's most loved small venue The Hideout took to the stage early Wednesday night to welcome everybody to the show and to explain that after 16 years as a Chicago institution and mainstay, they still haven't quite figured out how to order enough Old Style for a Friday night. Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein proceeded to turn the club into a small Portlandia enclave. I couldn't think of a better place for it to have happened.
The show started with a brief technical difficulty laden message from Portlandia's Mayor Sam Adams, played by Kyle MacLachlan. The message contained factual evidence that every attendee of the night was much cooler than everyone who wasn't in attendance, a fact that was already well established to the lucky sold out crowd. Fred quickly took to the stage to welcome everyone and himself back to Chicago. Loud cries of "AY-OH RIVER! AY-OH RIVER!" filled the room and Brownstein was found. Though in the show they never quite determined what "Ay-oh river" meant, it was pretty clear last night: It's Portlandia Time.
A quick slide show of Fred and Carrie growing up and a conversation about text etiquette to each other were all the onstage sketches for the night. With Rebecca Cole (of Wild Flag and the Minders) on keys and Michael Learner (of Telekinesis), Fred and Carrie took the band and audience through a live performance of "A Song for Portland" and "Do You Remember the '90s" followed by a new video sketch from season 2, "Dream of '90s in 1890," where hipsters don't own belts, but suspenders, face beards and hair gel run rampant and people make their own ice cubes; much like Chicago today, Armisen said. A sketch about a parent-meeting in which hyper-involved parents asserted their rights to ensure that their children heard only the best indie rock in the schools was met with many laughs and an unacknowledged understanding.
Special 'viral' guest Kristen Wiig showed up as a Portland fan obsessed with keeping Portland bands local via season two's hilarious sketch, "Catnip". During a short Q&A with the audience, Fred got back to his Wicker Park roots and Carrie admitted to not owning enough clothing items with birds on them. Due to an audience member's mishap (they meant to say Wild Flag), we found out Fred would not be a good member for Black Flag.
One of the more unexpected moments of the evening was accompanied by a few teenagers--Spencer and Sam Tweedy and fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson. The teens were brought onstage as the night's Chicago 'guides,' answering questions from Fred about their favorite hot dog place (Superdawg), where they get their hair cut, etc. A quick shout out to Sue Miller, who was in the front row, and a few more questions and the tour guide segment, was over.
The show ended with Sally Timms from the Mekons joining the band on stage for a song and Damon Locks from The Eternals (previously in Trenchmouth with Armisen) joining to finish the show with a cover of The Clash's "London Calling." Life-like piñata versions of Fred and Carrie were thrown into the crowd by the real-life Fred and Carrie as an "unexpected encore we probably didn't ask for."
The tour continues. More pictures from the show below...