One of my friends is a multi-instrumentalist, although I'd only heard a recording and never seen him play live. Tonight he was going to play Rowland's, so the plan was to start somewhere else and end our night there.
Barrel Thief was suggested because they were having live jazz, so the three of us met there for a couple of bottles of Domaine Vissoux Beaujolais Primeur and some snackage. Two of us had soup (mine was roasted red pepper and crab, his was butternut squash) before we shared the antipasto platter. I followed with some stinky cheese (the Truffle Tremor) and she had an Italian panini. I finished with the chocolate truffle sampler. There were several dates going on around us it seemed, including a woman who both my friends knew, but weren't especially fond of. It is most assuredly a small town when it comes to running into your past here, isn't it?
Leaving the far reaches of town, for me at least, we headed into the Fan. As I was approaching Rowland from Shields, I was surprised to hear a great deal of laughter and conversation from within. There was already a lively crowd in the place, but we managed to grab three bar stools near the front for the best view. My friends got something to drink and I ordered dessert. Yes, again. This time it was the chocolate creme brulee and although it wasn't quite as dark as Black Sheep's version, it was quite good. When the peer pressure became too great, I ordered a glass of Temperanillo. The problem was more fullness than lack of desire for wine, but then, two desserts will do that to you.
My talented friend and the other two musicians played a variety of covers, a lot of Beatles, some Bob Marley and such. It was interesting to see them follow each other as they had had limited practice time together, but they made it work. They played for close to two hours and seemed to be enjoying every minute of it. I have to say I love what a bowed instrument adds to a rock song... and what six extra strings add to a guitar.
I asked one of the musicians, who was from Asheville, N.C. about his music preferences and he said it was so rare to be engaged in a music conversation by a stranger. Then he lamented the absence of much besides dance bands and jam bands in Asheville. The jam band thing I can see from what I know of the town, but not so much the dance thing. We talked about the evolution of new musicians discovering older material. He was a huge Doors fan, but born in the late 80s, which always cracks me up. It's probably a good thing that there are people out there willing to listen to the music that I've already heard to death.
But I can always enjoy hearing a talented friend play music, no matter how far back they pull from. Which is not to say that as soon as I got into my car afterwards, I didn't turn up the volume on The XX, because I did. Hearing old music, even the truly great and classic stuff, just makes me appreciate the new stuff more.
And sometimes talking to strangers about music is the best way to hear about something new or interesting. Or even just surprise somebody with my topic of choice; I love it when people do it to me. Personally, I <3 random music conversations.