Saturday, May 1, 2010

Take on Me (and the Heat)

"So glad it's summer, but damn! It's hot up here," drummer Lance Koehler told the crowd at the Camel tonight, not that it was news to anyone in the crowded, overheated room. There were so many sweaty bodies jammed in there tonight, but poor Lance was trapped on a three-sided stage behind eight other musicians, all blowing hard, so I have to assume that it was even worse for him than the rest of us. And, let me tell you, the rest of us were hot.

But then that's the way the No BS Brass band rolls and that's why they've got the devoted following that they do. Walking in to a nearly full room, Reggie (Can't Stop, Won't Stop) Pace waved hello and I could tell he was already warm and they hadn't played a note yet. I'd thrown a hoodie over my summer dress just in case, and had to peel that off within minutes. Sadly, the band didn't have much to peel.

From original material to raucous covers, No BS worked the crowd like the pros that they are. "Here's a song that you might have heard, but not by us...from 1989!" introduced their cover of Aha's "Take on Me" and whipped the crowd into a frenzy despite many of them having been in potty pants when the song came out. When Reggie commanded, "dance contest!" from the stage, people did as instructed and there was much flailing.

Early on, I heard a girl behind me tell her companion that she didn't recognize a single person in the crowd and I had just been thinking the same thing. I've been to plenty of No BS shows, but tonight's crowd wasn't familiar at all. I saw a guy I'd met at Garnett's and guitarist Scott Burton from Glows in the Dark and that was really it besides Lance and Reggie. Very strange.

I'd come to hear brass from a late happy hour at Garnett's with a very good friend. She was a fan of the beagle and kindly offered her empathy on my loss, mentioning how fortunate it had been that I'd lost him now instead of a year ago when everything else in my life was falling apart. She was right about that; no question that that would have been the straw that broke this camel's back. It was bad enough now.

But we also discussed happier topics like sex and plunging into commitment, even as we devoured a slice of savory cheesecake. When we'd last happy houred at Garnett's on a Friday, they were out of this appetizer and tonight we scored the very last piece. It was a roasted red pepper and feta cheesecake, served with toasted baguette slices and it was divine.

Curt had recommended it as his personal favorite and it wasn't hard to taste why. We followed that with an excellent Cobb salad dressed with a French vinaigrette; the ratio of avocado, bacon and Gorgonzola was perfect, but then Mac is so good at what he does. We have a mutual admiration society, Mac and me.

And because we'd have been fools to leave without having dessert, we had dessert. Very good friend had never experienced the wonder of their chocolate pecan pie warm and oozing with richness, so we addressed that; even the shortbread crust was worthy of note to her. Me, I take it for granted, but then I've enjoyed far too many slices of that pie.

It was a good thing I'd laid down a base with such a pleasant meal before going to the Camel because given the extreme heat and airlessness, a girl with an empty stomach might have felt like fainting before long. And I'm not sure my night would have been as complete without the memory of the trickle of sweat dripping down my back as No BS rocked "Take on Me."

And by all means, take me on.

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