If you’ve seen me on the street the last few days, you might have noticed I’m looking a bit bleary eyed. I attended various music shows four consecutive nights last week, starting on Wednesday. I can’t usually do this sort of thing because I have to get up early to work, but having a little time off at this point, I figured, why not? I think the caliber of music at our local venues has never been better. Whether it is a local band or a traveling band, it’s worth getting out of the house and checking it out.
I also generally favor early shows, but these shows all trended late. I started Wednesday night by attempting to stretch myself a bit: I attended a techno show at Latitude 35. It started at 8:00, but went to midnight with a promise of four DJs. I waited until after 10:00 to go, figuring we’d really be getting to the best part and that the crowd would be really into it by then. If I really didn’t like the music, there would at least be some good people-watching, right? Not so much. No crowd had materialized and I listened to a very repetitive groove for about thirty minutes and left the other three people behind. Sometimes you win and sometimes, not so much.
Thursday night Flow Tribe played Preservation Pub in a show scheduled to start at 10:00. Shows on the main stage at Preservation Pub – or Barley’s and Pilot Light, for that matter – don’t generally start on time and this was no exception. The music started closer to 10:30 and by that time the smoke was thick, which isn’t my favorite thing. But sometimes you just have to sacrifice for art, my friends. Flow Tribe is a funky outfit from New Orleans and they put on a very fun show. Their own songs intermingled with snippets of great funk songs from the seventies and eighties.
The crowd had a blast and how could they not? Check out their video and consider getting some of their music. Very tasty gumbo. This is a band to hear if you ever get a chance. Check out their music and remember I told you about it, first.
Friday night my road show moved to Boyd’s Jig and Reel, which is a favorite for me. It’s non-smoking, the food is good and the music is generally good and easy to hear. It’s more of a listening spot, sort of like the speakeasy at Preservation Pub. Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons started at – you guessed it – 10:00. Bands generally start on time at Boyd’s and that was the case Friday night.
Angela and her boys were a cheerful delight with excellent vocals out front and great musicianship in the band. The music at times veered toward traditional country and then a Wanda Jackson song would add a little soul. I kept thinking of Lucinda Williams, but a much perkier Lucinda Williams. The solos on the saw were a highlight.
Saturday night I walked back to Boyd’s for Grace Adele and Her Grand Band. I’m not sure where the Grand Band were that night, but she and partner Keenan Wade put together an excellent show. A multi-instrumentalists, Mr. Wade played guitar as well as an acoustic and an electric mandolin. I never get used to electric mandolins. They may look like toy guitars, but the robust sound he brought to bear with the little instrument removed that image.
Grace Adele has a voice for the ages. Metro Pulse had mentioned Margo Timmons (of the Cowboy Junkies) by way of comparison and the comparison was apt, though Ms. Adele’s vocals weren’t quite as understated. The music veered around a bit and would be called “Americana” today, but there were elements of old style country and western with a very strong folk influence. At least one tune reminded me of the Civil Wars with the back and forth vocal play.