The Nine Circle ov… Chicago Open Air


Wait, wasn’t this like… a month ago? Yes. Yes it was. But you see, while Chicago Open Air delivered it’s moments, I never felt the obligation to cover the festival in writing. It was a decent experience but not an event that will end up going down in history. Some of the bands performed well, many of them I skipped, and basic logistics were a nightmare at the venue, so I mean… not the best. But my time in Chicago (first time, mind you) was awesome. So I decided I would use this particular piece of rotating content to cover some of my highlights from the weekend.


Of course Rammstein is a no-brainer here. Their live shows were few and far between in the United States for years, but this marks my third time seeing them since 2011. This particular set didn’t surpass either of the previous performances, but seeing them play those songs… with those pyrotechnics… it’s a thing of beauty. There is absolutely no other show that compares. If you get the chance, you gotta make it happen.


Wrigley Field

Why the hell not? I’m not the biggest baseball fan in the world, but there’s something amazing about those old school ballparks. Of course I grew up near Fenway and have taken advantage of that regularly enough. But Wrigley was a new one. It didn’t have the same grit as Fenway (friendly confines?), but was overall a more enjoyable park to watch a game. The fact that I stayed awake through the game is still a miracle. We were talking 30 hours of no sleep at that point. And it was baseball and stuff.


Metro Chicago

I saw Deafheaven and Carcass play twice in the same day. Round one was actually at the COA grounds. That was all well and good. Round two was at Metro. This was by the far the preferred experienced. Both bands killed the smaller venue. Carcass is always legendary live, as is Deafheaven, and I was finally drunk enough at this point to get my mosh on during “Dream House” (which Deafheaven did not playing earlier in the day).



One of the bands I did make a point to see was Gojira. They played Saturday as well and absolutely annihilated their midday set. With a set featuring a number of tracks from their recently released Magma, they managed to offer a wide range of sounds that certainly won over the audience that may have been previously unfamiliar. One of the small handful of bands I wasn’t going to miss. And it was totally worth it.


Sheffield’s Beer & Wine Garden

Chicago has beer. A lot of it. And also a lot of good beer. Which works for me. This was our stop prior to heading over to Metro for Deafheaven/Carcass. Maybe we missed the first Deafheaven track as a result, but I’m not complaining. There’s something amazing about sitting in an outdoor garden in a major city and drinking beer on a weekend night. Few things are equally as relaxing. The beers were solid, the setting was even better.



Fine, let’s bring the focus back to the festival. Meshuggah played day one, right when I was at my most exhausted (not true, that was during Rammstein). We may have been wandering around during their set and didn’t spend much time in front of their stage, but their sound was massive enough that you didn’t need to be. And yes, they played “Bleed”, because I’m sure someone is going to ask.


Running Along Lake Michigan

I’m one of the weirdos that brings my running shoes on vacation. Saturday morning, after being awake for about 36 hours through the night before, we rallied and managed to log a few miles in the morning. I didn’t realize how massive Chicago was spatially until this point. But the run along the water, something I didn’t think I was going to be able to do, was really cool. Besides the great views, it felt like I was running along the ocean back home (minus the waves). Sorry, I had never stood next to a Great Lake before. Jesus.


Adler Planetarium

I like space. And I like drinking beer after reading about space. And I like drinking beer after reading about space while staring at the Chicago skyline. Space. Beer. Chicago.


Killswitch Engage

This made 15 year old me so happy. Killswitch was one of the last bands I saw perform at COA. They took the second stage towards the end of the afternoon on Sunday and probably got the biggest reaction from the parking lot crowd (that I saw at least). Their set was a solid mix of old and new, having Jesse back on vocals is a wonderful thing, and there may have been crowd surfing Power Rangers. What more could you ask for?


“Ein Bier… bitte.”
– Corey

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