Last night, I got to drop an entire entertainment centre off of a third story balcony. But you don’t want to hear about that. You want to hear about the recent musical events I’ve attended.
Shoe Suede Blues at Darwin’s Blues Club in Marietta
deidrecorwyn e-mailed me in the middle of the week a couple of weeks ago to let me know that Peter Tork’s blues band, Shoe Suede Blues, was going to be playing at a little club in Marietta, and didn’t we want to go. We did, so we set out to find Darwin’s Blues club shortly after they opened their doors at 6pm. We ordered some pub grub for dinner and claimed choice seats at the end of the bar.
Because we arrived so early, we got to watch the setup, including numerous sound checks for the opening band, made complicated by the fact that the soundboard had, for reasons I couldn’t quite fathom, been set up on a high shelf on the side of the stage, making it necessary for someone to climb up on a chair to make any adjustments to the levels, then climb back down and walk to the back of the room to listen again.
deidrecorwyn showed up before the music started, along with her boyfriend M., who I hadn’t met previously. He seems like a nice bloke, though he didn’t seem to know quite what to make of me. *shrug* I suppose meeting your current SO’s ex is awkward for most people, I dunno. (Once you get used to meeting your current SO’s other current SO’s, ex’s seem mundane,somehow. *grin*)
The opening act was a band called Aura3, which consisted of three women, consisting oddly of two vocalists and one vocalist/instrumentalist. The instrumentalist played a twelve-string guitar, harmonica, and bass, sometimes all at once. The bass was the niftiest thing I’d seen in ages: it was a box with long pedals, sort of like you might see on a pipe organ, and was played with the feet. At first glance, I thought it was a large and unwieldy effects box for the guitar, but I quickly realized that she was tapping out the bassline on it. I caught up with her between sets to ask after it, and she told me she got it back in the 1970s and had been looking for another one to have as a backup, but that they didn’t really make them anymore since they’d never really caught on.
The group itself wasn’t bad, though they didn’t really grab me by the throat. They did do a really nice cover of Neil Young’s “Old Man”, and a lot of original stuff with some nice harmonies in it.
After a brief break, Shoe Suede Blues came on, opening up with a blistering rendition of “Annie Had A Baby”, and going on for a solid hour of high energy electric blues, wrapping up with Muddy Water’s “Got My Mojo Working”. In the course of the set, he did toss in two covers from the Monkees as a nod to the people who’d probably only come because he used to be in that band (I often wonder what they think of the rest of the material, which I was totally grooved by). “Last Train to Clarksville” was transformed into a deliberately plodding train song, to great effect. Later in the show, he introduced “I’m a Believer” as “A song you all have probably heard before….actually, it’s a Smashmouth cover.”.
We only stayed for the first show, since the second show was smoking-allowed and we were tired, but it was a marvelous time and I hope we’ll catch them again the next time they swing through town.
(Amusing postscript: I was were leaving, I stopped to compliment Peter on the set. He was sitting on a park bench outside the club with a women who was with the tour, trying to look genial as a very drunk man slurred “Man, you know, I grew up on your music, man….I used to watch you on TV.” The woman looked at him with a perfectly straight face and said “No one *ever* tells him that.”)
GaFiA Housefilk, at Bill and Brenda’s in Marietta
This past Saturday was the monthly Atlanta housefilk, held this time at bedlamhouse and ladyat‘s home in Marietta. Earlier in the day, kitanzi and I had gone to give blood. They ended up not allowing me to because my pulse was slightly elevated, which was a bit of a letdown, but I got to enjoy juice and stuff while they drained a pint from kitanzi. During the wait, I got a call from bedlamhouse, who let me know that ladyat had fallen and hurt her ankle, and would we be willing to show up a bit early to help setup. So we headed over to Bedlam House about 5pm, where we got to hang out with quadrivium, who we hadn’t seen in far too long, so it was good to catch up while setting up the munchies and stuff.
ladyat eventually was returned to home, with a multiple fracture, so we ordered Chinese food and sat and watched MythBusters while waiting for her prescriptions to come in, then she was helped up to bed. I’m sorry she didn’t get to hear the music, but sleep was probably the best thing for her.
People started to filter in as we were eating dinner, and we eventually had a pretty full house, with myself and kitanzi, bedlamhouse, surrdave, quadrivium, tarkrai, joyeuse13 and abovenyquist, spambrian, Alice, mrpsyclops, Myra and Harry,
and some others I’m sure I don’t remember now. The highlight of the evening, for me, was the run of Paul Simon songs, which started with tarkrai playing “Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard, followed by surrdave doing ”59th Street Bridge Song“, me doing ”Only Living Boy In New York, tarkrai performing a truly awful-in-the-best-way filk of “Loves Me Like A Rock” (by Renee Alper, about the Star Trek episode “Demon in the Dark”), and finally bedlamhouse, myself, and tarkrai doing Catacombs. Bill and I also debuted a new song which we wrote together previously in the week, but which won’t be posted just yet as it will be appearing in an upcoming issue of Xenofilkia. It seemed to go over quite well. 🙂
We ended up leaving the filk early, as neither kitanzi nor I were feeling 100%, but it was a marvelous time while we were there.
Great Big Sea at the Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points, Atlanta
I forget who first brought my attention to the band Great Big Sea, though I’m pretty sure it was either cadhla or ladymondegreen. Regardless, I had become a big fan of their albums, and when I noticed they were on tour and making a stop at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, I immediately bought tickets. Monday, April 24th finally rolled around, so we took off after work to Little Five Points to catch them live. While waiting in line, we ran into weirdsister and kiltedwitch, who ended up sitting behind us, with a couple of their friends who I’m told I met at the Bedlam House new years party, though I confessed I didn’t actually remember, as it was rather drunk out at the time.
Being very early, we were the 7th people through the door, and managed to grab premium seats, in the center of the first row of the padded seats. (About 5 rows of plastic chairs had been set in the “standing” area between the stage and the fixed seats.) Of course, the downside of being very early is there’s not much to do in a theatre half full of people before the show starts, so I downloaded a Sudoku game to my Sidekick to keep kitanzi amused, and chatted with our friends.
Finally, eight o’clock rolled around, and the band took the stage. Now, everyone had told me that you have to see these guys live to really get the full impact, and boy howdy, they were right. The band made a big deal throughout the show of how they had the day off tomorrow, and thus were under no obligation to show any measure of “professional restraint”, and then proceeded to kick out the jams. The first set was mostly stuff from their latest album, “The Hard and the Easy”, while the second set was stuffed with all their best-known stuff from their earlier catalog, and two encores.
The only downside to the show was that it was overwhelmingly loud for kitanzi, who felt a bit worn down by the middle of the second set, even with earplugs in. We’re definitely going to invest in some professional quality musicians earplugs for her before we go to see another rock show.
kitanzi insists she had a good time despite the volume problems, and I have to say that it’s easily the best live show I’ve seen in *quite* some time, and I’ve seen some really good live shows in recent years. I picked up a copy of their live DVD from the merchandise table, and will definitely be going back to see them the next time they come through Atlanta.