I can relate to late bloomers.
Cliques in school? I was never part of one. When I went back for my 20 year high school reunion, very few people remembered me. Granted, I'd graduated a year early, but still.
When I first started working for a publishing company in my '30s, my boss told me he thought I was just coming into my own then.
And if you were to ask me, I'd probably say I've only really come into my own in the past decade.
So you can see the appeal of a group called Joe Keyes and the Late Bloomer Band, the ten-piece that played Balliceaux tonight in honor of what would have been Gil Scott Heron's 65th birthday on Tuesday.
Joe Keyes was a 6'5" black man wearing sunglasses and a caftan with a picture of Gil on his chest and he began the evening by announcing that he was a late bloomer. "I'm just getting started!" he proclaimed to the room.
Join the club, Joe.
Behind him, some on the stage and others not fitting there, were a conga player, a drummer, two guitarists, a bassist and a five-piece horn section that included two women. I wasn't the only person who commented on how great it is to experience a band that size.
The horns kicked in, the band followed and a few people in the crowd began dancing from the first song and right on through "Under the Hammer."
Good advice is sure enough hard to come by
Bad advice surrounds you constantly
Saying that they hailed from Baltimore, Joe told us, "The man here told me, 'Hey, I met my woman at a Gil Scott Heron concert' and I gotta have some of that." I think we all know who he was talking about.
The band may have been late blooming, but their energy was young at heart and non-stop, whether playing, singing or dancing in place and Joe took every opportunity to praise Gil Scott Heron and his song and spoken word legacy.
Proving his point with the classic "Lovely Day," the ever-growing crowd got more and more into it.
Yes, and all I really want to say
is that the problems come and go
But the sunshine seems to stay
Just look around
I think we've found
A lovely day
When he finished the song, he said, "When it's good, you know it's good and when the pretty girls give you high fives, it's even better."
A guy standing near me asked if I liked the music, as if anyone could possibly not. "Yea, when I saw it in the paper, I thought it sounded pretty interesting," he said with only a slight slur before asking me to dance.
By that point, even the people sitting down were dancing on their barstools or in their chairs.
All hail Gil and everybody dance now. Even the late bloomers.