Best mistaken cultural reference: Cashier looks at me and says, "You look like a '70s rock star." Which one, I ask? "Um, Cyndi Lauper? You know, with the scarves and the hair?" I do know, but that was the '80s, sweetheart.
Best way to spend the evening with an early bird friend: Wait till her husband goes to a bachelor party in Baltimore and invite her to dinner and an early music show. Only downside: our evening was over before he made it to the, ahem, "gentlemen's club," from which we were very much looking forward to seeing photos.
Best place to meet a picky eater at 4:00 for linner (her word, not mine): 821 Cafe, where the server doesn't ask what I want but whether I want a whole or half order of black bean nachos (half today). M.I.A. was the usual thrash soundtrack, perhaps a nod to the older crowd who'd come from seeing "Million Dollar Quartet" at the
Best/most unexpected response when you walk up to a friend listening to loud music in her car: "Drake is the best!" hardly surprising from the person who introduced me to Miguel.
Best reason to go to Hardywood for the third time in 8 days: To hear Dave Watkins played his Mogwai cover and his own killer song "Marshall Street," to see Gull's one-man band Version 2015 (new mask, better songs, interpretive dance) and to be among the first to get to see Lobo Marino's new video "Holy River," a song so amazing it's likely to catapult them into the big time.
Best reference by the video's filmmaker: "This is the Hobbit of Lobo Marino." As in, the video shoot for "Holy River" resulted in so much footage that he also made videos for two other songs from the upcoming album. And we got to see them all tonight.
Best line about a guy with a beard: "He needs to cut that off and donate it to Locks of Love, pube version."
Best reaction to a song about a snapping turtle: "Did I tell you I bought a glass with turtles f*cking on it while I was thrifting today?" Nope. When she pulls up a picture, I see, yes, two happy green turtles engaged in the act. The caption reads, "Faster, faster."
Best Facebook status update while we're at the show: "My husband is out of town...so naturally I'm watching Gull cover Beyonce with Karen. I should point out that Karen had to ask me what Bey song it was. HALO, Karen, duh."
Best stranger to stand next to at a show: Sketch Girl, the artist who turns a blank page into an ink-wash illustration of one of the musicians onstage while the rest of us are just enjoying the music. Not to mention the heady scent of her markers, a flashback to the only acceptable childhood high.
Best compliment called to me from a passing car: "I love your hair. You look like a rock star!" Yes, I know the shouter, but that makes it no less flattering.
Best crack at Hardywood's expense: When Laney and Jameson are calling for Graham, their guest tabla player for the evening and he's not to be found, Laney muses, "He's not from here so he doesn't know how strong Hardywood's beer is." Fortunately he had not passed out and returned to join them for one more song.
Best use of the most body parts: Jameson of Lobo Marino who managed to drum while playing harmonium with one foot and shaking the bell on his ankle with the other. Truly impressive.
Best possible way to end a four-hour show: With Lobo Marino reprising that killer new song "Holy River," which sounds even more wondrous live. Beautiful, magical and a clear indicator of a whole new level of songwriting for these two, who leave tomorrow for a two-month tour down the east coast to Key West. Their return show is already on my calendar.
And the winner is...Karen, duh.