Friday, October 28, 2011

This Must Be the Place

As much as I enjoy seeing an intimate show, a part of me always wishes that more people were there.

Such was the case tonight at Sponge HQ in the Anderson Gallery for the Small Houses CD Release show.

A lack of attention had me there when the doors opened instead of closer to music time, but it worked out well anyway.

I ran into a friend who wanted to go across the street to Cous Cous for take out so I joined her for a drink.

Her Campari and soda seemed much more sophisticated than my Malbec, but I needed something to thicken my blood after Old Man Winter arrived unexpectedly today.

How is it I was wearing shorts and a T-shirt yesterday and it was sleeting today?

But never mind. If I understood science, I wouldn't be a writer.

We fell into a terrific discussion of our memories of elementary school, mine of singing folk music and hers of learning about people like Stephen Foster.

We agreed it was unlikely that children get any exposure to either in these days of SOLs and what a pity that is.

Returning to Sponge for the show, I put out a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I'd made for the attendees.

No, I don't usually bake for shows, but Sponge shows are always so intimate and it seems like both musicians and music lovers are always hungry.

The three members of Michigan's Small Houses were performing on a raised platform that barely contained them.

Actually, last time I'd seen them, it had been just the singer Jeremy and I'd been blown away. Tonight he had keyboards and backing vocals for a much lusher sound.

Introducing "Tired in 20 Cities," he said, "Which we are now, but that's okay because this is what we want to do."

They played several songs from their new CD and mentioned it was for sale.

"All the money we make selling CDs goes into the Waffle House fund. They're so awesome! We don't have them in Michigan. We went twice in one day!"

Jeremy took a moment to tune before their final song and keyboard player Adam noted, "The guy gets one Nick Drake album and now all his tunes are weird tunings."

"I have three," Jeremy corrected him with a grin before launching into a song from the new CD.

After a break to mill about and admire the beehive, the aquarium and see what everyone is doing for the rest of the weekend, Psalmships took the stage.

Psalmships is Joshua from Philly and I had also seen him before at the Listening Room; I recalled his distinctive four-string guitar playing and emotive voice.

After playing a few songs, he invited keyboard player Adam up to join him, clarifying that they'd never played together before.

"I don't know Adam from Adam," he joked.

But with direction ("A minor, G, A minor") from Joshua before each song, Adam complemented his songs beautifully.

It became clear from those instructions that it was mostly minor chords, so I leaned over to a musician friend and asked a dumb non-musician question.

"Minor chords because he sings sad songs, right?"

"Dark," she clarified for me. she whose favorite bands make her cry. She knows from dark.

In fact, she and I were the only females at the show. When I mentioned it to my seatmate, he said, "Guys are dumb. Guys forget things."

Too bad for guys. They missed a couple of excellent touring bands and homemade cookies.

All except for the smart ones and they're the only ones who matter anyhow.

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