I got my music fix early and I got it nearby.
Steady Sounds was hosting a show with locals White Laces and Bake Sale from Memphis. How could I resist a free show three blocks from home?
Waiting for the show to begin, I flipped through albums, looking to see what was over-represented. My conclusion: bad 80s one-hit wonders and Dan Fogelberg.
I'd have thought that since his untimely death a few years ago that he would have been rediscovered by now. Apparently not.
I did, however, happen on a vintage copy of Elvis's first Christmas album ("I'll have a blue, blue,blue Christmas without you..."), eliciting a smile for an album I'd heard of, but never actually laid eyes on.
I was looking forward to seeing White Laces again since the last time had been at the Courtyard on a First Friday. Loud is an inadequate description of that show, and I know from loud.
The screaming guitar and pounding drum reverberated off those hard brick walls, essentially preventing the crowd from appreciating White Laces' sound.
Tonight, as they explained, it was just the two of them (guitar and bass), so that they purposely wouldn't be too loud for the space.
A performance that I could actually hear yielded an opinion I'd anticipated; I like White Laces' shoegaze sound. Especially like tonight when I could actually appreciate the bass line, hear the vocals.
Lead singer Landis acknowledged, "We're trying to make all our songs sound as much like Galaxie 500 songs as we can." Well done, guys.
Their set was too short, but helped me realize that I need to get out and see them play again.
Up next was Bake Sale from Memphis, a four-piece girl group who were all about some garage rock.
Let's just say that my friend Paul would have approved and he is tough to please. Prickly, even.
They meshed girl group vocals (with two or three at a time sharing vocals) with screaming guitars and pounding drums. THey were hard and fast and cute. That's not sexism, that's fact.
At one point the guitarist with the pale green guitar (as opposed to the yellow guitar) handed off her guitar to the drummer and they switched places.
Every guy in the room had their laser beams set to the female quartet rocking our faces off.
It's highly irregular to have such a high level of musical satisfaction before 9:00, but the circumstances were unusual. Thanks, Steady Sounds.
Happy with the first few hours of my evening, I was off to the near West End to meet a friend for drinks at the Blue Goat.
She is one of the countless Westhampton neighbors who is positively thrilled with their new hot spot.
As it turned out, a Monday night at 9:15 was light years from last Wednesday's 6:30 visit.
The bar was mostly full but not every single table was occupied. It was a great opportunity to relax and enjoy the ambiance.
The rose had already exited the menu, so I moved over to the tequila selection, flummoxing my bartender by choosing the Hornitos.
Best of all, I could easily hear the music tonight and it could have been programmed for me.
I heard a couple of favorite Pete Yorn songs, another couple of Everything But the Girl favorites and a terrific Latin-infused cover of "You Can't Always Get What You Want."
Let's just say I was so impressed that I asked for the music's source. Turns out that it was the owner's mix. Tres impressive.
My friend ordered the white gazpacho, a lovely melange of cucumbers and white grapes with a definite heat behind it. She thought it was superb and I agreed. The contrast of heat and cool was addictive.
We drank and talked until the bar was long-closed (officially it's 10 during the week), but didn't feel too bad since a few other people lingered as well. The weekend end time is "until...."
As one of the servers noted, "Once the Continental Lounge opens, this'll be a regular destination bar block."
I think my friend echoed the neighbourhood sentiment.
"About damn time."