Monday, May 31, 2010

Like Cookouts. Love Music.

I didn't get invited to a cookout tonight, so I went to the Camel instead to hear music.

It worked out well because there were 100 other people who didn't get invited anywhere either and it made for an enthusiastic Sunday night audience.

Or perhaps it was the fact that a lot of people didn't have to work tomorrow; actually the reason matters not.

People were into it.

My farmer friend appeared, freshly showered and ravenous after a day working the land.

He squeezed into the booth I was sharing with Treesa, the violin-playing part of Prabir's Goldrush, her visiting mother and a woman who coincidentally had replaced me at a former editing job six years ago. Just another random booth in Richmond.

The show began with Lexi and Kate, sisters who harmonized in that beautiful way only kinfolk can.

One nearby guy made the astute comment that, "I love skinny girls with guitars" and another said, "We need more clean hippie chicks."

Once they began singing, though, no one mentioned anything but their voices, but the night was already shaping up to be an interesting one.

Prabir and the Goldrush played their usual energetic set with only a few mixing missteps.

Before their cover of "Eleanor Rigby." Prabir specifically said that he wanted the strings brought way up, but they ended up lost in the mix; too bad because the violin and upright bass playing on that song were rocking.

"Bohemian Rhapsody" again closed the set but the crowd was not of the singalong type tonight so it played as a hard-driving instrumental for much of it.

About this time, another friend came over to ask us if we knew that Amazing Ghost was playing the Republic tonight.

"That's why half the crowd just emptied out," the farmer explained.

I am most definitely a fan of Amazing Ghost and most definitely not a fan of the Republic, so it was never an issue for me.

Besides, as someone pointed out, "Amazing Ghost will be around, but these guys are great and they may not."

Ophelia, a recent collaboration between Jonathan Vassar (he of the Speckled Bird) and David Schultz (of the Skyline) boasts the drummer from Thao and the Get Down Stay Down (and Diamond Center) as well as the bass player from the amazing Mermaid Skeletons.

They've already recorded a CD, due out late this summer, although tonight was only their second show live.

And it was every kind of impressive.

When you start with two great voices like Vassar and Schultz, add in some alt-country hooks, a melancholy accordion, harmonica, kick-ass drumming and a strong bass line, you get a sound that speaks to just about everyone in the room in one way or another.

Or at the very least, it speaks to the kind of people who don't get invited to barbecues on Memorial Day weekend.


  1. hey, I didnt have a cookout to go to either, you should of put the word out to your readers and we could of met up for our own fun.

    i get a kick out of reading your blog. like everyone keeps telling you, BLOG ON!!

  2. Paul,
    Until I got to the Camel and saw all the other uninvited souls, I assumed I was the only one!

    Don't you worry, I'm happy to blog on. Like I have something better to do?

  3. hi karen, it's grant from ophelia. love your blog. read it everyday. thank you for the kind words about the band. take care...!

  4. Wow, every day? Then I would say we have a mutual admiration thing going on here.

    Awesome show! Play again soon.