Saturday, March 5, 2016

Black Tea Power

Today's offer: Get two drinks and pay for them both! ~ sign in front of Gus' Bar

Best reason to stop working and go listen to a DJ at my neighborhood record store?

Steady Sounds was hosting the release of DJ Carl Hamm's record anthology celebrating Pop Yeh Yeh master Adnan Othman, whose Malaysian rock is familiar to anyone who listens to Carl's show on WRIR.

And while it might be Malaysian in origin, it sounds pretty much like all the rock music being made in the late '60s, sort of Beatles-influenced, mildly garage-like and steadily rocking. Word was Carl had done a stellar job of interviewing the musician and gathering keys tracks for this compilation.

I walked in to find the man of the hour already spinning tunes from "Bershukor: A Retrospective of Hits by a Malaysian Pop Yeh Yeh Legend" in the loft, but also graciously serving a fabulous black tea to those he knew and who was I to turn down a cup of warm tea after a blustery three block walk over?

It was a great way to spend the late afternoon, with lots of music-loving friends in attendance, including two of the vinyl-collecting couples I'd written about recently, the gallerist dazzling me with his upcoming line-up, the guitarist and I comparing notes on why we hadn't gone to the Lucy Dacus show last night and the movie king looking for ideas for a band to play at his next event.

In between, the vintage store owner and I dished about why we'd both opted out of the Elbys (anything "en blanche" feels so passe) without regret. A musician chimed in when we began talking about how much the scene has grown and how it's now possible to go to a show and know so few people.

Especially house shows, my 36-year old friend added. "We went to one the other night and after the first band, I turned to my boyfriend and asked if he wanted to go home and make a pot of tea. I felt like the grandma, but I'd seen enough to reassure myself that the scene is okay without me and I just wanted to go home."

Unlike some of those shows, today's crowd was mostly familiar, meaning opportunities to talk about a friend's recent Vegas/Death Valley trip, another's adjustment to a new job that's not in the music industry and why cheaper motel rooms aren't always better when you're on tour ("The first thing to go is the comforter!").

And like a good party, the soundtrack was fabulous, with all kinds of Adnan Othman tunes blasting out, tempting people to buy the colorful album.

It was just another of today's offers: get an earful of terrific music and catch up with a dozen friends. What better reason to hit the pause button on work and join the party?

I loved it, yeh, yeh, yeh.

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