The music gods have been smiling on me lately.
Witness free shows abounding.
Tonight's was the Garbers (because don't all bands name themselves after the building they practice in?) and the Green Hearts (whose early show at Sprout had given birth to the term "the prickly one") at Balliceaux and no steady rainfall was keeping me in.
That's what umbrellas are for, kids.
Walking into the back room, I got caught up in an hilarious discussion of last night's free show (Izzy and the Catastrophics), which inexplicably took a left turn into inter-generational personal hygiene.
You know someone has crossed a line when he starts a sentence with, "I'm not part of that generation that..."
A fellow music-lover and I took seats at a back banquette, where we found one of Richmond's favorite ukulele players absorbed in his phone while waiting for the show to start.
All at once he looked up and inquired of the overhead music, "Is this No BS?"
Affirmitive, I told him.
"Local bands on the stereo before a local band plays, I don't like it. Too matchy-matchy," he pronounced, sending me into fits of laughter.
The trio of the Garbers took the stage to shower us in pop goodness.
We heard a song about Thursdays and a couple of songs by drummer Gustino, one called "Wake Up, Allison" and another abut watching TV.
When singer Allison kept mentioning that Gustino had written the songs, he finally piped up,saying, "I feel like these are disclaimers!"
"No, no," Allison placated him. "I'm just trying to prove that drummers can write songs, too."
Cue music from "The Elephant Man" and Gustino saying, "I am not an animal, I am a drummer."
The Garbers kept up their sunny pop until Allison noted that, "All our songs end like that. Like trashcans banging."
Technically, that's an antiquated reference since most of us have big, plastic Supercans that do not sound anything like cymbals, but a minor point.
During the break I took stock of the crowd, finding an over-representation of WRIR DJs (like Allison) and local musicians amongst the gaggle of over-perfumed chattering women gathering for a birthday celebration in the back of the room.
You'd think a party of 8 to 12 birthday celebrants would have had the sense to stay at the front bar and take endless pictures of themselves there rather than in a room with bands playing in whom they had zero interest.
But you'd be wrong.
The Green Hearts sported their own DJ, Paul Ginder, and the husbands of several other DJs (very incestuous) and they rocked out a certain period in power pop history.
Songs like "Girl of My Dreams," "Shake Some Action," "Brickfield Nights" and their namesake song, "Green Hearts." Late '70s.
It didn't take long for people to start dancing right in front of the stage.
Before "Shake Some Action," Paul told the crowd, "This song is not new. I want to see you shaking it, though."
He handled the vocals, but he wasn't afraid to pick up a tambourine or cow bell when it was called for, either.
When they did the Jags' "Back of My Hand," exhorting the girl to write her name or number on the back of his hand, I reached over with my pen and wrote my number on the closest male hand.
I do what the music tells me to do.
By the end of their energetic set, Paul closed out by saying, "Thank you for dancing in whatever manner you chose to," a funny line given some of the inebriated dancing going on.
I'm talking to you, Girl Who Couldn't Get your Arm Out of Your Own Jacket.
As they said goodnight, one of the DJ/musicians in the audience called out, "I brought my W-2!"
Paul, ever the businessman, went back to the mic, to plug. "And we'll do your taxes."
You really can't ask for more than that on a rainy Thursday night.