Monday, December 12, 2011

Where's My Cloud Now?

Big Sexy Sly was probably smiling down on Balliceaux's back room tonight.

That's because playing were Jonathan Vassar and the Speckled Bird and Jonathan and Big Sexy were once coworkers at the old Bogart's.

You see, if you don't go to Sunday night music shows, you don't hear arcane trivia like that.

Even more impressive, you don't get to hear a favorite band in their latest permutation with the addition of cornet player Paul Watson. And cello player Josh Quarles on electric guitar and clarinet.

Balliceaux is not a frequent venue for JV & SB; the last time I'd seen them there was January and the show had unfortunately been scheduled for a Saturday night when all the pretty people show up there.

And by pretty people, I mean people who could not have cared less who was playing but came to drink on a Saturday night and talk loudly over the music.

Which is their prerogative, but made it hard to hear for those of us who came for music.

Tonight, on the other hand, everyone who came was there specifically to hear the band.

In fact, some of us arrived before the back room was even open. I waited at the front bar and a woman came in, sat down next to me and started peeling off clothing.

She was as hot as I was chilled, just having come in from the cold. She'd walked, so she'd gotten warmed up in a way I hadn't. I found out she'd come for the band, too.

When some friends came in and saw her next to me, one of them presumed us to be friends and introduced himself to her. Only then did I learn her name and that she lives in nearby Carver.

Once in the back room, though, I saw her saying hello to any number of people I know. I couldn't resist going over to her and teasing her about the two degrees of separation in Richmond.

We practically already knew each other except we'd never actually laid eyes on each other.

But it's that kind of crowd who comes out for a Sunday show of a local favorite: music lovers who know other music lovers.

Midway through the show I heard some nearby rustling and looked over to see the scientist with a chocolate bar.

He grinned and silently handed me a square.

After the first song, I  commented how much I liked the new sound of JV & SB and the musician next to me  agreed, saying,  "It's beautiful. It's the same and different."

The band was playing a lot of songs off their upcoming CD but had brought along overruns from their last CD, which they were giving away for free tonight.

"But we're not going to give our new one away for free," Jonathan told the crowd. Not that they'll need to considering how impressive the songs sounded.

The addition of Paul's horn, especially paired with Josh's clarinet, took the band's music to a whole new level.

When the set ended, the crowd clapped long and hard then didn't move.

"That's all the songs this band knows," Jonathan explained before Antonia suggested a song the two of them could do.

So the beautiful night of music ended with "Match Made in Heaven," an older song but the one that features Antonia's vox saw.

I can't imagine I'll ever get tired of hearing that amazing voice of hers emulate a musical saw to Jonathan's heartfelt (but always sad) lyrics.

No doubt Chef Big Sexy Sly would be awfully proud of his former dishwasher Jonathan and his excellent band.

I was just glad that the pretty people hadn't shown up so I got to hear every note.

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