Saturday, May 12, 2012

Missionary Work

Look how sunshine is the punchline.

A clandestine dinner at an undisclosed location brings up the question of the evening. How much pig does any one person really need?

Music four ways followed at Gallery 5. Walking in, I asked the ticket taker how soon till music. "In a second," he said as the poet shushed me from the first row.

At that moment, David Shultz began singing. Timing is everything.

We had arrived too late for seats, though, so we found a table at the back and leaned in to hear his songs of "every once in a blue moon" and "spirits ain't too frozen."

As much as I enjoy David playing with his band The Skyline, it's always a pleasure to hear his heartfelt songs accompanied only by his guitar.

Athens, Georgia's Hope for agoldensummer was up next and, while I've seen them before, this time they were as much a comedy act as a musical one.

Don't get me wrong; the harmonizing of two sisters is a thing of beauty, but as someone who has five sisters can attest, sisters have a unique bond and language.

These two were hysterical,doing a sound check to a song about THC and LSD and talking about their long drive down I-95 today to reach Richmond.

Apparently they decided to learn a Robin song. "So we have this awesome three-part harmony," Claire explained. "But it looks like we forgot it."

Forging ahead anyway, they asked what the song's first note was, guessing F.

Their long-suffering male band mate looked over at them (no doubt after an endless afternoon hearing them practice this pop throwaway) and with just the slightest bit of condescension said, "It's an A!"

Only then did we hear any Robin.

They told of going to a corn maze ("We love corn mazes") and getting lost for four hours.

They'd seen a sign at the concession stand saying that if you created a song about the corn maze, you got a free candy bar.

Tonight we heard the song that won them the candy bar.

There was instrument trading, anecdote sharing and saw playing.

It may quite possibly have been the only saw playing going on in Richmond tonight.

But it should be noted that there was also vox saw courtesy of Jonathan Vassar and Speckled Bird, hot off their recent Obama rally performance, and playing next,

"I have to tell you, Michelle Obama's arms are even more impressive in person," Antonia shared. Damn.

During some technical difficulties with Josh's cello (how often do you hear that?), Antonia and Jonathan brought out the banter.

They also brought out the music, beginning with "Cold River Cold" and mentioning their upcoming CD release show.

Standing there hearing Jonathan's sad songs and Antonia's angelic singing with Paul's horn and Josh's cello or clarinet reminded me how far their sound has come since I first heard them.

It was always Americana but now there's a beautiful lushness to it.

Last up was the Diamond Center, a band I've seen scores of times and love for their fuzzy psychedelic big sound.

And yet the show poster had promised that they'd be playing "acoustic-ish."

That was way too alluring to pass up hearing.

Where was all that noise, tribal drumming and volume going to go?

They solved that by being a two-piece instead of a four-piece.

Guitarist Kyle led off with, "It's warm in here. I'm as sweaty as a whore in church," before launching into the most ethereal TDC sound ever.

Brandy's voice and acoustic guitar met Kyle's quieter guitar playing (it was still a Rickenbacker, after all) for a stripped down and yet still swirling sound.

She warned us that Kyle was going to sing a cover next and he even apologized in advance for it.

Turns out they did an excellent cover of Velvet Underground's "Candy Says" as well as some rarely performed older songs from their last record.

"We need to record a new album," Kyle admitted. Indeed they do.

A highlight arrived when the duo invited nine people up on stage and gave each a pitch pipe.

Up there was Matt from Snowy Owls, Allison from the Garbers, Dave Watkins and all of Hope for agoldensummer."

"If yours has an A, play A," Brandy instructed. "If not, play D and don't pass out."

Everyone followed instruction and the song had a special charm for the accompaniment.

The show ended abruptly when they realized how late it was getting, but I already had my satisfaction.

I may never hear them play that way again.

Leaving G5, it was an easy two-block stroll to Bistro 27 for late night cocktails and dessert.

Everyone I take to 27 lately is loving on the Simpatico, a riff on a Negroni, but I went simply with Cazadores on ice.

And a chocolate mousse because it seemed like the least difficult dessert to request at that hour.

Over drinks and a stellar soundtrack, we discussed evangelism, travel, overindulgence, five-year plans and organized religion.

Not bad considering the hour, but some credit must go to the barkeep who kept things lively.

In the words of someone else, "Just another Friday night."

Hey, as long as my night has a good punchline, it can be just another Anyday.

But sunshine's as good an analogy as any.

No comments:

Post a Comment