Saturday, April 16, 2011

Something Old, Something New

I pressed the "repeat" button tonight to get my evening rolling. I went to Amuse for drinks, even though I'd been there yesterday. I saw the "Celebration of Print" show at VMFA for the third time this week.

But repeating myself was more than worth it because I was meeting up with a recently-engaged friend  (now wearing a carat and three quarters on her left hand and, holy cow, that's a lot of ice) who told me all the details of her proposal. I love that he asked her by saying, "So what are you doing for the next twenty years?"

Our libation of choice was the Montand sparkling rose (redundant, I know, but at $5 a glass, impossible to pass up), enjoyed with an amuse bouche of smoked duck on rye with allspice creme fraiche and pomegranate gastrique. Divine.

We followed that with tonight's special, lamb/pork/beef meatballs in Romesco sauce with turnip puree and fresh peas. My friend declared them "little meatloaves," and said they made her crave exactly that. Knowing her, she'll make meatloaf this weekend.

Since she's an illustrator, I insisted that we take in the print show before we left because I knew how impressed she'd be. And she was, oohing and ahhing over the big names, the unknowns and the three prints of cats.

It was so enjoyable to go back over the show with someone so familiar with all the printing processes, my own little expert, so to speak. Once more, I saw the show with fresh eyes.

Afterwards, she went home to her man and I met another friend for dinner at the Cellar Door; it was his first time and my fourth and we enjoyed it equally.

Despite him arriving a half hour before me and scanning the menu endlessly while he waited for me, he'd somehow missed their Peruvian chicken specialty and ended up ordering the Jackson Ward sandwich, probably because it's where we live.

Not me. I had the Mansion salad, loaded with that chicken and their spicy Peruvian ranch dressing. I traded a bite of mine for a bite of his marinated beef sandwich and jicama fries, so everybody was happy, but I guarantee you he'll get the chicken next time.

He had updates on his love life to share as well as tales of gardening and rug binding. Sometimes he's as good as a girlfriend for girl talk (and I mean that in the most complimentary way). If only he hadn't been too full for dessert.

Then we were off to different shows. I ditched my car at home and walked over to Gallery 5 for a superb night of fresh-sounding music. When I arrived, not a soul was outside except for the two headliners, heads bent together in the glow of the street lights. It would have made a great photograph.

The Cinnamon Band had just begun and it took me only seconds to recall how much I'd liked them when I first heard them at Live at Ipanema, here.

This time they were back in their usual electric mode, but no less impressive. And this time I got to hear the shimmering chords and explosive drumming that had been toned down at Ipanema. Happily, the audience was attentively into them, and the energy in the room was terrific.

All the way from Montreal came Handsome Furs, although somehow there were only two of them instead of the usual dozen or so that comprise a Canadian band. I don't know how they get away with that in a country that boasts bands bigger than sports teams.

A guy behind me noted, "Damn, they're short!" and another said, "Skinny, too!" Between them, maybe 200 pounds, but their sound belied their size.

The raw energy of Handsome Furs was complemented by Alexei's exuberant synth and drum machine playing and  Dan's excellent guitar playing and vocals. Plus they're married and in love, so they kiss between songs sometimes. You don't see that much.

After tearing through the first couple of songs, Dan took off his shirt, saying, "Virginia is hot! But the smokes are cheap. I'm such a dirtbag, I love to smoke."

He introduced the song "When I Get Back" by explaining that it was about post-tour resolutions, like not drinking lighter fluid because it was the only alcohol in the house or giving up cigs because they're bad for you. It was pretty funny stuff and the song rocked.

Alexei showed off her flexibility with waist-high leg kicks to match the beat and a flailing arm to balance herself on keyboard on occasion. Her little two-piece midriff and short set with red tights made her a  pogo stick of color as she played, her long, red hair falling in her eyes pretty much all the time since she never stopped moving.

The music had definite 80s undertones (Human League, Devo) but with elements of blues and rockabilly over post-punk. As always, I appreciate the way young artists are able to choose one from column A, one from column B and one from column C and reinterpret it all as new.

Songs were short, fast and energetic and it's clear why they're both so skinny given the physicality of the workout performance they gave. They really looked like they were having a great time up there.

As was I. Nothing wrong with starting with something old (and familiar) especially when I end up with something new (and different).

And you know I can skip the something borrowed and something blue.

No comments:

Post a Comment