Wednesday, May 22, 2013

And There It Goes

Tonight was the calm before the storm.

I have birthday plans for the next few days, every night.

And while I intentionally plan it so my birthday gets celebrated for as long as possible, I know from previous years that it's wise to take a wee rest in the midst of the reveling.

So that was me tonight, sedately having a Tennessee dog (mustard, onions, chili, cole slaw) and chocolate shake at the bar of City Dogs when a panicked-looking guy came in.

"We were just here and my friend's sister left her green cell phone here," he said breathlessly, indicating the bar area immediately adjacent to where I sat.

The guy on the other side of the indicated area looked at me and we shrugged; neither of us had seen a green phone when we'd sat down.

We all checked the floor, the bar stools and nothing.

The bartender had the bright idea of telling the guy to call the girls' phone, but he said he didn't know her number.

That was when the friend and her sister, the one who'd lost the phone in the first place, came rushing in.

Fortunately, she knew her own number and gave it to the bartender to call, hoping to locate the phone that way.

He called, we heard nothing.

Just then an older guy with a backpack comes in the restaurant holding a green phone out in front of him.

Turns out he'd found it in the grass on Main Street, ringing, and brought it into the nearest business.

The girl who'd lost it snatched it out of his hand, saying, "Thanks, crazy guy," and flouncing out of the restaurant with her phone and friends in tow.

The guy two seats away who'd helped me look around for the phone looked at me incredulously.

I'm sure my look was identical.

She could have at least bought the guy a $1 RVA dog, I said to him, still amazed at her rudeness and sense of entitlement.

"You mean instead of calling him "crazy guy" for no good reason?" he asked.

Clearly some people were raised by wolves.

I left that crowd for something more civilized, the Listening Room.

Clearly the planets were still out of alignment, though, because despite arriving at 7:32, someone was already sitting in my seat.

Okay, it's not my seat but it is the one I always sit in.

Plan B, the seat directly in front of my usual.

Also unusual tonight was that there was no set decoration onstage because Firehouse Theater is between shows.

Playing first tonight was man-about-town Prabir, playing songs off his new album, "Once Upon a Breakfast Menu."

It took him no time at all to play the funny guy, asking the crowd, "How're you guys doing?" before putting out his hand to stop us from answering.

After all, there's no talking at the Listening Room.

He did a song called "Clouds" about reaching for a CD ("what an archaic reference") and one called "Sept. 7" with an analogy for the ages.

"I took out a knife and carved up this life."

After multiple exotic tunings, Prabir called a friend up on stage so they could have a bowl of cereal together while we watched.

It was breakfast as performance art, only with Silk because Prabir has apparently recently gone vegan.

He also invited violinist Treesa and bassist Matt up to augment a few songs and promote their show Sunday night.

"We're playing a show with Paul McCartney's son at the Camel Sunday night," Prabir said.

"He has a name, you know," Matt reminded him.

"Yea, ca-ching!" Prabir retorted, grinning.

Fortunately, it's okay to laugh at the Listening Room.

Next MC Chris introduced Mohawk Lodge, a Canadian band with most of the members on their way back to Canada.

The tour that had begun April 29 had the rest of the band members leaving in the band van to return to Canada today while leader Ryder continued solo in a rental car ("It's kind of tough but I couldn't not play a show").

Taking the stage with his electric guitar, he took a moment to listen to the silence and observed, "Wow, this is an amazing room."

There was a lot going on his songs, despite him subbing for an entire band.

Favorite lyric: "I call timber because everyone I know is falling."

He took requests from the audience and played them, to his credit.

"Canadian Girl," was requested, along with "Calm Down," about which he said, "I haven't played this in a really long time."

I'm sure I wasn't the only one touched when he said, "I woke up today and my grandmother died and I'm going to play some songs. This one is for my Dad."

He played a couple of songs that had been written when he was part of a songwriters' conference in Berlin, including a political one despite not being a political person, he said.

"You guys are rad," he said, promising, "I'm coming back to Virginia."

We should be so lucky.

During intermission, I heard a friend's report on the new Mellow Mushroom in Carytown.

He gave it a thumbs up for the extensive beer list and vegan cheese available, neither of which matter one bit to me.

I am curious to see the Plan 9 tribute wall, though.

The last band of the night was My Old Ways, whom I'd seen at the Listening Room last June.

Made up of members from a bunch of local bands, they feature acoustic guitar, pedal steel, bass, drums and backup vocals/shaker.

Playing drums and every kind of percussion he could get his hands on was Willis, the guy who adds immeasurably to any band he plays in.

And he has dimples.

There were sad songs, pirate jokes, a song called "Dance" ("I just want to dance") and one written only two days ago, "And There It Goes."

I have to admire a band willing to debut something so new, although the lead singer acknowledged, "This last song we're going to play may be a disaster."

Favorite lyric: "Can we just go back to 2003?"

As evocative a lyric as that is, I don't really want to.

I've already carved up the last ten years and that knife is a tad dull at the moment.

Maybe I'll call timber instead.

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