Thursday, February 16, 2012

Under the Milky Way Tonight

Today was Galileo's birthday and somehow that must be worth noting.

Surely the Italian who discovered the phases of Venus (love struck, lovesick, smitten) and the Galilean moons deserves some sort of acknowledgment, even if he was doubted in his own time.

I decided to go with music. The way I see it, how better to celebrate science than with the arts?

Because celebrating a scientist with science sounds duller than watching paint dry, at least to me.

Besides, I was going anyhow. I even had a willing accomplice for the show, a guy with nothing better to do.

Balliceaux was hosting a double bill of Allison Self and Ariel Rubin, making for two Venuses with ukuleles.

Allison, who needs no introduction (or mic), did one of her usual strong sets, choosing music by Loretta Lynn
("Don't Come Home A-Drinking"), the Carter Family and a song about gin by Bessie Smith, as well as her own original material.

She alternated her two ukuleles, promising the small but enthusiastic crowd that Ariel would also have two ukes.

When she mentioned having CDs for sale, she allowed that they were also available "If you want to do something for me."

Pause. "Come on guys," she laughed. "Like sweep my floor."

Oh, that.

Allison was opening for Boston's Ariel Rubin who brought with her a stellar guitarist (and plenty of effects) to augment her folk pop sound.

She, too, had two ukuleles, baritone and tenor, both amplified, but it was her voice that grabbed the room and held fast.

A song about crazy eyes was hauntingly beautiful, leaving listeners stunned when it finished.

"Mama, I'm Leaving" told the story, she said, of packing up and moving from western Canada to Boston. Mom was less than enthused about the move, it seemed.

Favorite lyric: "You wanna do right, but not right now."

She continued with one beautifully sung song after another before thanking the crowd and thanking Allison for making it possible.

And we fans were turned out into the night to finish up our evening under Galileo's moons.

Forget science, I'm convinced I not only want to do it right, I also want to do it right now. Maybe even sweep the floor, too.

Doubters, take note.

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