Thursday, January 19, 2012

Blood Brothers Let It Bleed

It began, innocently enough, with the story of a gold cocktail dress.

So right there you know it wasn't my dress.

A friend and I met at Lemaire to partake of well-priced wine and so that she could tell me about the dress she'd finally found for a big party this weekend.

Nothing about my upcoming weekend requires a cocktail dress, so I had nothing dress-related to share.

Still, we started with a bottle of Rias Baixas Albarino while listening to tales of the James Beard Foundation dinner recently held at Lemaire.

Judging by the storyteller's face when describing Chef Bundy's butter-poached Rappahannock oysters with Kite ham, it was clear we'd missed quite a meal.

We took that as a cue to order and I chose the smothered Broken Arrow Ranch Bandera quail with stone-ground Ashland grits, rainbow chard and "sawmill gravy."

Because, you know, if I'm going to get my sawmill on, there's no place like Lemaire. I kid because the succulent little bird with the gravy-covered grits was very much a take on comfort food.

We befriended the guy sitting next to us when he noticed that my girlfriend hadn't finished her scallops.

I explained that she's just picky and that the seared jumbo sea scallops with white beans and escarole in ham hock broth were actually quite good unless you were eating them and dreaming of a big old steak like my friend was.

He turned out to be a new visitor to Richmond from Philly, here on business and eager to hear more about the dining scene.

We talked about our local strengths and then shifted the talk north. He was fascinated to learn that I'd been to Morimoto in his home town and we compared impressions of their tasting menu.

A woman at the end of the bar overheard us talking and chimed in to  get some foodie talk, too.

She was a citizen activist, here from godforsaken Northern Virginia for the duration of the Gen Ass, and eager to find authentic (her word) local restaurants.

By the time I wrote down the first three that she needed to try, I was inviting her to join our little ad hoc group.

Meanwhile, at the far end of the bar, I spotted a friend ordering wine and within moments another came into Lemaire for a burger.

It was one of those nights where I had all kinds of company, familiar and new, with no effort on my part whatsoever.

Just sit here and they will come, Karen. Why, I think I will.

Gradually the business travelers had to leave to go to bed and it was time for me to say goodnight to my girlfriend and go find some music.

At Ipanema, the music was going strong when I arrived with sidekick in tow, and the guy at the door stopped me to ask for my ID.

"Really?" I asked. "You really need an ID from me?"

At the point, two of the staff sitting nearby looked at him and instructed, "She's fine," which was code for, "Dude, she's plenty old enough."

The bartender, a former Sprout friend, high-fived me in greeting and then was gracious enough to pour some Primitivo for us.

The attraction at Ipanema tonight since I'd already eaten was the Blood Brothers, Jamie and Duane, playing the vinyl that they love so well.

If anyone is concerned that the music of the sixties isn't being properly revered, they obviously haven't heard these two modsters trading turns on the turntable.

Longtime friends, they try to outdo each other with their choices. You'll see one pull an album out and just hold it in his hands for a second, trying to determine if it's got the perfect next song to play.

It was when they played the Stone Poneys' (featuring Linda Ronstadt) "Different Drum" that the crowd in the room lost their shit desire to gab and began dancing.

You and I travel to the beat of a different drum
Oh, can't you tell by the way I run
Every time you make eyes at me.

And of course once you get the crowd dancing like that, you have to play just the right thing to follow it, in this case the Spencer Davis Group, a good match energy-wise but not nearly as recognizable to the crowd.

Still, it was a well-made choice, a skill set the Blood Brothers have in spades.

We heard girl groups ("Be My Baby") and bad boys ("Get Off of My Cloud") and the floor had dancers as often as not.

Coming out of the bathroom, a guy recognized me but he had to tell me his name before I knew who he was.

It was an enthusiastic member of Team Sex, a bicycle collective known for their speed in scavenger hunts whom I hadn't seen in ages.

The people you meet after answering Nature's call.

But there were lots of familiar faces in the crowd of vinyl and/or sixties music-lovers. The pastry chef, the server from a favorite wine bistro, several DJs.

From the end of the bar, the Blood Brothers spent the evening pushing out tunes to keep sidekick and I happily ensconced on a bench watching the parade of humanity whilst sipping our earthy red wine.

Did I mention how cool they looked doing it and how much fun they were obviously having?

Cause I know it was obvious how much fun we were having listening to them. Who needs a gold cocktail dress when you've got the Stone Poneys?

Or the Blood Brothers?

You cry and moan and say it will work out
But honey child, I've got my doubts
You can't see the forest for the trees


  1. I'm gonna guess that you already know who wrote that ("Different Drum")

  2. Hey, hey...! And I'm gonna guess that you already knew that I did.

    1. Okay, but did you ever see the episode of the Monkees where he sings it in kind of a offhand, self-mocking way?

      I think a new cover is in the works for PI & the Rubes...

  3. Wow, no, I never saw that!

    Can't wait! What an awesome song for you guys to cover! Will you promise to sing it in an offhand, self-mocking way, too? Pretty please?

    1. No. It made sense for MIke Nesmith to do it that way. I'm going to do it very stiffly and seriously. No-- I don't know how-- or if-- I'm gonna do it yet.