And the Hungry Brain is a lovely place. Nestled in Roscoe Village, its a cash only dive bar. The type of place I’d normally flock to. And on this particular night there was a jazz trio playing. I’m sure they were playing quite well, but at least in the back corner we occupied our laughter was the overwhelming sound. And the other patrons weren’t so keen on this. We got dirty looks often, and shhhhs a few times, so at the set break we walked around the corner to some 4 am bar that inexplicably had 3 motorcycles parked in the back room.
And our table was not unique. The overall feeling of the place was lively. People were laughing, and at times cheered and whistled for solos. The occasional drink was spilled without much notice. People danced on their way to the baño and stopped at other tables to chat on their way back.
In essence, it would have been the perfect place for Ravi and I that night after Pitchfork. And perhaps this is just an isolated example, but to me it felt significant. Here in La Paz music is about enjoyment, having fun, creating an atmosphere for smiling and laughing. In Chicago, home of Green Mill, and Old Town School of Folk Music, its about connoisseurship. And this is no moral judgment on either, but to my untrained ear, I’d rather joke with Colombian Jhonny about Paceños’ laughs than quietly get lost in the beat.