Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Rebel L

Low-key evening launches with libations and lepers and lingers through laughter and lyrics.

Given the lower temperature, it seemed like a good night to walk over to the Black Sheep to eat. I'd run into Melissa recently and the first thing she'd said was "I haven't seen you in forever!"

And wouldn't you just know, she wasn't working tonight. No matter, the other servers know me and offered me a booth, which I was reluctant to take, being alone and all, but they insisted.

My server didn't ask what I wanted to drink, but instead, "Which wine looks good tonight?" I chose the Kluge Estate 2008 Albemarle Rose, figuring it was good match for the bowl of vegetarian chili I also ordered (it was the soup DJ). Pretty and pink and with a big floral nose, it was the right libation for dining alone.

The chili had garbanzo beans, black beans and Great Northern beans but definitely didn't qualify for vegan status given the enormous dollop of sour cream on top. But then I'm no vegan, either.

The chili was excellent, hearty and with just the right amount of heat, but so filling that it precluded dessert. Which probably made it a good thing that Melissa wasn't there, because she expects me to have my usual LaBrea tarpit and scolds me when I don't. I was just too full.

I'd brought my latest read, Who Walk Alone, about the author's life as a leper. It's so engagingly written, although its 1940 publication date makes for some dated vernacular ("It was a peach of a fight.") and some with which I'm just not familiar ("Some of those babies really came tough in the regulars." Huh?).

I lingered over my book taking time to digest and drink pink after my satisfying meal. And luckily I had the walk home to help that full feeling before going to Sprout for music.

Lobo Marino
I love this band's sound with its oblique lyrics and South American influences. When I first saw accordionist Laney tonight, the first thing she said to me was, "We're doing a longer set because you said to."

I laughed, knowing she was referring to a post I'd done about another show they'd done and I'd said it was wonderful but too short. "You don't have to listen to me, " I told her sincerely. "But you're wise," she said. Great then, I'd love to hear a longer set.

The crowd at Sprout was a lot of friends and fans of the band, making for an informal vibe with the audience talking back to the band. Guitarist and singer Jameson was playing especially exuberantly tonight and the new material (he referred to them as instrumental movements) between songs added a lot to the set.

When they finished and the applause died down, Jameson looked across the room at me and asked, "Was that better, Karen?" What band wouldn't appreciate a fan who wants to hear more? He later told me that they were tired of playing the same set, too, so it was good for them as well as me.

Low Branches
Lo and behold, when I'd walked into Sprout, Christina from the Low Branches had approached me and introduced herself. "I see you everywhere," she said in a voice as languid and delicate as her singing voice. Drummer/percussionist Matt extended his hand, reminding me that we had met before.

Waiting for Lobo Marino to start, I asked Christina about what she listens to and we had a good talk about folk music in particular. Not surprisingly, she's a big fan of 60s and 70s folk, despite her tender age. I gave her my take on why I like new music so much and she seemed to get it.

Their set, as in the past, was strong on evocative lyrics and lingering sounds. The dynamic of this band is hushed and sweet, the kind of songs (sung poetry?) you lean forward to hear. Christina's voice is a thing of beauty and there's just no better way to describe it.

I logged a lovely evening listening to lyrics both laugh-worthy and lush. Not even lonely. Lucky, aren't I?

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