Tuesday, June 12, 2012

If We Ever Met

In the scheme of Monday nights, I could do far worse.

First there was Carytown's tequila bar, Don't Look Back, for some Cazadores and mariachi music, albeit only briefly.

But that was just setting the scene for a wide-ranging night of music at the Camel, where the topic of ticketed patrons (like me) is still very much a hot one.

I spoke to a friend who'd not discovered the ticket on his car for several days, meaning he'd been falsely lulled into thinking he'd escaped penalty.

It's going to be interesting to see how long it takes to get the outdated "No Parking 11 p.m. to 4 a.m." signs removed.

I can assure the city that as many times as I've parked along that strip to go to the Firehouse or the Camel, I've never once seen any "cruising," supposedly the reason behind the signs.

Inside the Camel, Dave Watkins and his mighty electric dulcitar were already in full epic mode when we walked in.

I joined a group of devotees a few feet from where Dave had set up on the floor.

Within minutes, I could tell who was experiencing Dave's magic for the first time by the look of amazement on their faces.

When his set ended, one of the guys turned around with his mouth hanging open.

"First time?" I asked, knowing the answer.

"Yea," he said, clearly still in awe. "What was that he was playing?"

Electric dulcitar, I explained as smoothly as any tour guide, mentioning that he also has an acoustic one.

With Dave's shows, it's not just that he loops endless sounds to create a lush soundscape coming from a one-man band.

He's also playing a highly unique instrument unfamiliar to most people. The combination is generally irresistible.

Next up was the reason for the show, the Nashville trio Paper Lanterns.

With an instrument arsenal that included, upright bass, guitar, mandolin, ukulele, glockenspiel and accordion, they impressed by trading off constantly.

And then there were the incredible three-part harmonies that defined their sound as they played a set and clearly had fun with it.

"We all have super hero alter-egos," they said by way if explaining the buttons they were giving away.

Before their last song, "Fool's Gold," they said, "Come see us at the merch table and give us a hug...or some money."

I thought they deserved both.

Zac Hryciak and the Jungle Beat followed and they're a good example of a local band with an amazing sound who don't play out often enough.

The affable Zac began by admitting, "I was drunk and then I had three cups of coffee, but I'm gonna be so good for you."

That was a promise he kept, as much because of his sweet-voiced singing as for the well-placed violin and distinctive drumming.

We were asked to pity the poor bass player who was doing a stellar job in spite of recent mayhem.

"He works on a food cart and they went to Bonnaroo and he chopped off part of his finger," Zac informed us.

Ouch. Well done, sir, considering the injury.

For my companion, who'd never heard the band before, it was a delight to hear the tempo changes, gypsy-like drumming and diverse song structures that are Jungle Beat.

And as many times as I've heard them, like here, here and here, I proudly wave my fan flag every time I get a chance.

During the break, I ran into Laney, recently returned from touring Europe and the musician who had organized the show months ago when her band, Lobo Marino, had played with Paper Lanterns.

I don't know which of us was happier to see the other, but it's always good when her positive energy is back in River City.

The last set of the night was by Moonbees and credit went to the fans who stuck around for the fourth band of a Monday night show.

And I don't mean me since what else did I have to do at that hour of early Tuesday morning?

I can never decide which appeals more to me about the Moonbees' sound: the epic guitar playing or the multiple male voices singing.

Songs one part psychedelic made for one melodic gem after another for a set that rewarded those of us who'd hung past midnight.

Luckily, we were parked legally, so we could. How better to ensure not having a Blue Monday?

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