Saturday, February 1, 2014

Feet on the Ground, Head in the Sky

Frequency isn't making the heart grow any fonder.

Once again, I gave Hardywood a shot because a band was playing that I've been trying to get to see.

Knowing it was a warm, sunny Saturday afternoon, I anticipated a mega-crowd, knew I'd have to park 3/4 of a mile away, and would be jostled by drunk people.

Check, check and again, check.

I did see some people I knew - several musicians, a photographer, a WRIR DJ, although you can't swing a dead cat at a music show in Richmond without hitting one of those - but very few considering the size of the crowd.

Walking in as the band started their first song, I was caught off guard to see a familiar face onstage.

Bob Miller, who plays trumpet with No BS and the Hi Steps was playing keyboards for Fear of Music, the Talking Heads tribute band I'd come to hear.

With him were a drummer, a percussionist, a female bass player, and two guitarists, one of whom sang lead and looked amazingly like David Byrne.

And may I just say that the bass player wore the cutest red dress, the same exact color as her bass, the ultimate she-musician fashion statement.

The crowd got rocking with "Life During Wartime," with even the baby boomers, or perhaps especially the baby boomers in the crowd, shouting out, "This ain't no party, this ain't no disco" while trying not to spill their cups of beer.

I found a good spot near the stage and as the band tore into "Once in a Lifetime," it occurred to me that the one person I knew who should be there was my former Floyd Avenue neighbor, Matt, a passionate Talking Heads fan.

Then, like I willed him into being, he walked out of the crowd and stood a yard in front of me.

Tapping him on the shoulder and no doubt grinning like a fool, I told him how glad I was to see he wasn't missing this.

"(Nothing But) Flowers" not only had the crowd singing along, but a gaggle of women of all ages dancing down in front of the stage.

And, why not? I once read an interview with David Byrne where he said the band's biggest influence had been Kool and the Gang.

And people dance to Kool and the Gang. Besides, these guys were spot on, nailing every note and playing with energy and what looked like exuberance in being there.

Midway through their set, the garage door next to the stage was rolled halfway up, probably to provide air and cool down the room, which was solidly packed.

They did "Stay Up Late" and then dove deeper, with lead singer Nate saying afterwards, "There's a reason that song's called 'Drugs.' It's a beautiful, weird one."

Saying, "We need some house,", they played my favorite Talking Heads song, "This Must Be the Place," giving Bob his chance to shine since his playing made that song.

Hi, yo, I got plenty of time
Hi, you, you got light in your eyes
And you're standing here beside me
I love the passing of time
Never for money, always for love
Cover up and say goodnight, say goodnight

Naturally, the crowd wasn't nearly as into that as some others, but that wasn't my problem. Besides, "Wild, Wild Life" and "Girlfriend is Better" came next and everybody started singing and dancing again and forgot about my sweet, little favorite.

Introducing the band members after their set, Nate was introduced by the bass player Chrissie, who turned out to be his wife, appropriate since he'd introduced her as the "most attractive member of band."

Turning to introduce him, she joked, "Is that a Stratocaster or are you just happy to see me?"

Both, actually.

Hell, I was happy enough to see them to brave the port-a-pottie crowd and small children on their drunken fathers' shoulders.

Hi, yo, we drift in and out
Hi, you, sing into my mouth
Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view
I'm just an animal looking for a home
Share the same space for a minute or two

And then get the hell out of Hardywood without getting beer spilled on me.

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