Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Music Three Ways

"I promised to hold the show for you but I didn't promise not to embarrass you."
~ Chris Edwards

I arrived at the Listening Room late, at 7:55, but once again my parking spot was suspect. So, I ran back out to move my car just in case. I returned to the opening remarks by MC Chris, in which he was saying. "And we can begin now because Karen is here." It was after 8:00. Mortifying.

But the music, as always, was terrific. Exebelle and the Rusted Cavalcade were on first and I was happy to see Ben Wilson on keyboards. Ben, formerly of We Know, Plato! is a long-time favorite of mine for his thoughtful lyrics, excellent voice and talented keyboard playing.

E&TRC was unique in that all four members wrote songs and all four sang. We listened to a song by each (Ben introduced his as, "Spilt Coffee, semi-colon, the end" and naturally, I'm a fan of punctuation geeks). Their alt-country sound with banjo, upright bass, mandolin and pedal steel was a pleasure to listen to and I'm not usually a country music fan.

Favorite lyric: Every now and then the craving comes in, The door I thought I had locked. Runner up: My heart needs a slow dance. Any kind of romance. Leave it to country music.

Bluegrass followed in the form of River City Band, a group described as "bluegrass done right," an apt description of this multi-talented group They focused tonight on original material, something they said they don't often get to do. We did hear some traditional songs (Handsome Molly) and a Jonathan Vassar-penned tune as well.

Favorite lyric: Stand up straight, Put a hop in my step, I'm on my way, But I'm not there yet (from Taking a Break from the Blues). These guys are not to be missed.

The Happy Lucky Combo began by describing themselves as a combination tango, klezmer and zydeco group, something between Middle Eastern music and the blues. Then they proceeded to impress.

Their eclectic sound used electric upright bass (even bowed occasionally), accordion and drums. Cotton Pickin' Bulgar was a song about a broken heart, but not written from the view of the breaker or breakee, but instead from that of the friend helping the breakee.

A standout was Zydeco Samba ("Not really zydeco or a samba," we were told) with drummer Pippin Barnett playing a mean and non-stop triangle. It made the song. They finished with a polka because, they said, they didn't know any Hendrix.

And not once did the lights fall.

I then grabbed the friend who had helped me as a breakee and we went to Rosie Connelly's to talk madly after so much intent listening.

This was after she had passed me a note during the show saying "Do you want to be friends? Check One. Yes No Fuck Off." I laughed so hard and had to be silent about it that I almost stopped breathing.

Now that's a friend.


  1. the note is priceless... and I plan to steal it at random stupid meetings!!!

  2. I can honestly say I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard or so long. She finally nudged me to stop because I was making her laugh, too. I showed it to Andrew on my other side and then he lost it.

    Something about all the remembered notes of childhood, I guess.

    And, yes, she even put boxes next to the choices so I could check my answer.

  3. this is great! i love the listening room, i'ts always a good time.

  4. It is that. It was my note-writing friend's first visit and she ws blown away by the experience, even telling a stranger about it at the bar afterwards.

    I sing its praises every month with good reason.

  5. a great night indeed. love the comment about the lights! haha. thanks karen!

  6. It is you I should be thanking!

  7. Didn't mean to be rude. By the way, you have perfect taste in music. I like almost every band you listed as your favorites.

  8. We should probably talk then. I don't meet many people who say that to me.

  9. I liked the way the big bass player played the skinny bass (Happy Lucky), and the skinny player played the fat bass (River City). And I loved the suspense as Barry Bless played the accordion and I wondered if his beard would get caught in the bellows.
    I too miss the Falling of the Lights.