Photo courtesy of Marty Groark/Section 8 Chicago

Songs and chants

According to some fans of the Seattle Sounders, the stadium-wide call and response chant (In their case: “Seattle”…..”Sounders”) was invented in the Pacific Northwest.

We in Chicago know better.  If you’ve been to a Fire game, wherever you’ve sat in the stadium, I hope you yelled back “FIRE!” as loud as you could in response to the call you heard blasted out from Section 8 in the Harlem End of the stadium at some point in the game: “Who’s the best?” “Who??”

In Section 8, we try to get the rest of the stadium involved as much as we can in vocal support for the team. We don’t really expect the entire stadium to start singing with us for 90 minutes. But as we look to expand across the Harlem End, we’d like to get more people joining in more of our songs and chants more often.

Most of them are simple. It can’t get much easier than:

* clap-clap*
* clap-clap-clap-clap*

Your two year-old can join in on that one!  Sometimes the short chants go on for a while – the rhythm builds up, the drums bang on, a kind of hypnosis sweeps over Section 8.  A few people don’t like this style: for me, though, it builds a drumbeat of support for the team that has an inbuilt defiance to it. Whatever’s happening, support for the Fire goes on and on, loud and proud.

Some of the songs are longer and more complex. There’s “Hot Time In the Old Town Tonight”, for example, referencing the origins of the (actual) Chicago Fire, sung to the Bessie Smith tune:

Late last night
While we were all in bed
Miss O’Leary left a lantern in the shed
When the cow tipped it over
She winked her eye and said
“It will be a hot time
in the old town

Some songs are spontaneous: yet another good save from our goalkeeper on Wednesday generated two competing Sean Johnson chants in Section 8. At the front, the old standard “SE-AN JOHN-SON”. At the back, a group belting out (to the RUN DMC call and response) “Who’s house? SEAN’S HOUSE!”

The latter, I think, will win out for future Sean saves. We’ll certainly be chanting it for Sean during warm-ups in Philadelphia tomorrow (we have about 100 folks headed out east for the game). In general, the songs we sing are determined by the “Capo” – the song leader you see on the big red stand in front of Section 8. Sometimes he or she will pick-up on songs spontaneously springing up in the section, but either way, following the Capo has long been a key tenet of Section 8 to avoid the disorganized mess most other MLS supporters’ areas have in trying to coordinate chants.

Over in section 101 at the south end of the stadium, meanwhile, Sector Latino has their own repertoire of songs, mostly in Spanish – we might have to steal one or two, because the passion and noise they have going on during their chants is impressive.

Of course, we have a couple of Spanish tunes in Section 8 too. Sometimes I still stumble over the pronunciation, but they work well:

La maquina roja...
Esta noche
Tenemos que ganar...

We even have a video-game inspired tune – when our trumpeter plays the Tetris theme song, it gets you dancing in the stands pretty easily.

All in all, if you want to join in and help us make some noise for the Fire, buy a ticket in Section 8 and join us any game. Or even better, if you sit elsewhere every game at Toyota Park, get the fans around you singing along and get the whole stadium rocking – print out our songsheet and share it around!

Everybody, Everybody. . .
Who’s the best??