Saturday, October 29, 2016

Out There versus Not

Musical karma, that's what it is.

I'm talking about that thing that happens when you first discover a new band or someone tells you about a terrific band and then, bam! You find out they're about to play nearby, so you can indulge your new-found interest or appreciation almost immediately.

It was kind of like that tonight.

When last the Barrister and I met, we'd naturally talked music and he'd brought up a new-to-me local band, Paulo Franco (and the Freightliners, as it turned out), saying he was fond of their sound.

The very next morning, he messaged to share that he'd been reading Style and seen that they were playing Friday night.

Horse trading of a sort ensued because my plan was to take in some seasonal comedy at the Coalition Theatre, specifically "Vincent Price's Late Night Horror Program," so I agreed to go to hear Paulo if he'd come be horrified with me.

A deal was struck and we made plans to meet at Saison Market, which only became problematic when I arrived there to find an absent Barr and that no food was being served because, yet again, Restaurant Week had reared its ugly head.

The former situation was rectified when I found him drinking brown liquor at Saison's bar where we toasted his new-found qualifications in the Peach State which, we agreed, he need not exercise immediately. The latter problem was solved with fish tacos from Tarrant's back door, eaten at a table pre-set for Restaurant Week overflow guests because a server insisted we do so.

Fortified, we crossed the street to be spooked.

In the grand tradition of bad Vincent Price variety shows, we found good seats in a sold out room for a series of laugh-worthy episodes. The show's delayed start gave us time to exchange information that people who have only laid eyes on each other three times in a life time are not yet privy to.

Fact: before Barr embraced the law, it was geology that floated his boat. He, in turn, said he wouldn't have figured me for a Terrapin. We discovered a mutual admiration for the National.

We ceased our blather when the show finally began.

When the impeccably dressed Vincent - in silky shirt and ascot - wanted to summon the spirit of Poe, Player's cheesy "Baby, Come Back" blared from the speakers, inadvertently summoning Ellen Adger Poe in period attire by mistake.

She was far less melancholy than her brother.

Then the Paranormal Sisters of Kalamazoo spotted ghosts around the room and brought people onstage to explain their presence.

Dakota thought one angry ghost might have been his great-great-great grandfather, a restaurateur who prohibited certain kinds of guests from eating in his restaurant.

"You mean he was racist?" one sister asked of poor Dakota. "Just say racist! You think we haven't talked to a racist ghost before? We're in Richmond!"

The other Kalamazoo sister contacted the dead by having sex with them. Onstage while we watched and listened.

"Has anyone seen an apparition of the Virgin Mary appearing in front of them? No? Just me?"" her sister asked the crowd before finding a guy who'd lost his Aunt Frenchy because she was old.

Vincent returned wearing a pink-trimmed apron that read, "Kill the Cook" to demonstrate a recipe for candy corn from his new cookbook that involved teeth and shaved corns, the kind from feet.

The master of horror was especially adept at bad horror puns. "Can you necro-feel the love tonight?' he asked to groans, and, "Don't let me slip up carrying this Edger Allen Po-dium."

A segment involving a cursed camera had two characters frantically thumbing through to look up something in an imaginary Yellow Pages, causing the girl to crack wise with millennial humor. "Man, won't it be great one day when we can just look stuff up?"

Which is, of course, exactly what she was pretending to do, but she didn't see it that way.

"Fly versus Fly" had Vincent challenging Jeff Goldblum to an obstacle course to prove who was the better fly, while offering Goldblum a chance to ramble on about nothing and everything, to Vincent's great consternation.

Perhaps because I'm a fan of his demeanor, it had never occurred to me how easy it would be to imitate Goldblum's distinctive delivery and detours.

The final segment was a "Match Game" parody with celebrity guests such as Chris Rock, Katherine Hepburn, pro wrestler Macho Man, the part French/part Spanish designer Phillippe, and Obi Wan Kenobi.

Questions involved such burning issues as what First Man Bill Clinton can't wait to install in the White House (a stripper pole, the Force, a zero-gravity bidet) as well as cultural commentary, such as Chris Rock's answer to how Target bathrooms could be divided ("There are no Targets in the 'hood").

By the time the show ended, people were crowding the lobby and sidewalk out front for the 10:00 show and we had two miles to cover to access my companion's needs for the evening half of the deal.

He'd already scored a table in front when I walked in during the first song of Paulo's second set, demonstrating impeccable timing on our part. With his rose-colored glasses, Paulo bore a distinct resemblance to Jerry Garcia and his four-piece played a tight set for a diminishing crowd.

Although new to me, Barr was hoping for a few songs from Paulo's latest album.

Too bad about the smaller crowd because the songs were compelling, whether they were murder ballads, sung in Spanish (Paulo is Colombian), or when they were his wife's favorite (because it was about his ex-wife).

That three of the band members sang added a lot to their sound.

Returning from the bathroom, Barr told of a guy's peculiar hygiene habits and I, naturally, passed judgment on the unseen miscreant. "You're okay if we can talk bathrooms," the Barrister informs me.

Wait, he's just now deciding I'm okay? "It shows your range," he corrects himself.

I said good night to the last of my tequila as Paulo and the boys finished out their set, wistfully singing, "Good night, whiskey, mend my broken heart."

That's karma for you, book-ending the evening with brown liquor and song.

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