When I first moved to the city in 1997, I began work as creative director of a small record label called “FlyBy”. The record company was so small, in fact, that we had only one act and one record. The band was named Kid Million and the album was “Heaven Smiles on Every Bastard”.
The album was amazing. The band got attention on Q101, toured nationally, and could be found filling up Chicago’s famous Metro on a regular basis. The guy running the label and the band split acrimoniously within a year or so. I took my skills and morphed into a web developer and didn’t hear from any of those guys for ages.
Fast forward 19 years to 2016… a new coffeeshop / tavern opens up in Albany Park. I’m excited about this because I spend lots of time doing remote work in coffeeshops and having a great new place so close (4 minute walk from my apartment) is a game-changer. Not to mention, I always had to hop on a train to get to a mid-upscale bar. Nighthawk Coffee Bar & Tavern is both. Great coffee in the morning (from Colombe roasters), and expertly made craft-cocktails come nightfall.
On my first visit to Nighthawk, I found myself waiting in line to use the restroom and what did I see on the wall? A Kid Million poster! Wut wut? I asked one of the employees “What’s the story with the Kid Million poster?” and was told the bar was owned by two members of the band.
Over the next few weeks I reacquainted myself with proprietors Brendan Phillips (who played bass guitar in Kid Million) and Howard Windmiller (who played drums). In short order, we all reunited in a creative way- I became Nighthawk’s web designer, and my wife Maureen and I are in charge of their posters and other print materials every month. Howard has also just contributed his drumming expertise to my upcoming single. It’s all been great!
A couple months back, Kid Million was approached on Bandcamp by a younger touring band. They invited Kid Million to open for them at a small club gig in Lombard, IL on a Wednesday night. It was apparent this other group had no idea Kid Million disbanded over a decade ago, but since the invite seemed so absurd, the band decided to reform one night just to take this nutty gig in a suburban strip mall bar.
It wasn’t long before there was a Nighthawk endorsed excursion planned, complete with trolley ride from Albany Park to Lombard’s Brauer House and back. (poster by Maureen)
The event finally came to pass last Wednesday, and it was an amazing time. It was great to see the door guy’s face when this ridiculous trolley pulled up and dropped off 20+ people at his sleepy suburban club.
Kid Million was in great form after all these years and ripped through about 40 minutes of top material from their three albums. Here are a few images from the show!