Somehow the week just slipped by without an opening to slip in the First Friday photographs. It was an incredibly packed First Friday that found me falling far short of my goals to make the complete rounds. It’s gotten impossible. Last spring I resolved to pick one or two things and stick to it. That lasted a month or two. So, here goes another jam-packed First Friday.
“Jam” packed is a good way to put it. There was so much music in the city it was difficult to find a spot where you weren’t hearing at least one band. Additionally, the variety of types of music made it that much better. If you hate music, you might have a hard time with our First Friday. If you love music as much as I do, you just can’t go wrong.
Urban Woman and I started the evening at Cook Loft, which is located at 722 South Gay Street (near Dazzo’s). It is a facility available for rent that provides space for up to fifty people comfortably. I imagine we had that many last Friday. It has two bedrooms and two baths as well as a great kitchen. Tommy provided free homemade barbecue, tea and wine and the music was provided by Knoxville’s own answer to boy bands world wide: Subtle Clutch. This is what a true band of talented young men sounds like.
It was fun getting to meet their parents. The guys are some of the nicest and most talented you’ll meet and their families are as nice as you’d expect from meeting them. Also fun was the diverse crowd the event attracted. I had a great time talking to some of the younger folks and seeing so many people introducing themselves to strangers and having a pretty cool Knoxville evening.
Urban Woman felt like she’d had all the excitement she needed after a long week of work, so I dropped her off at the house and passed through Market Square where the bluegrass was just getting started. WDVX hosted music on the square all evening and attracted a huge crowd. The square was full with children playing in the fountains, young men playing corn hole, patios full of people enjoying a meal and the music, of course.
Just around a couple of corners on Gay Street in the Knoxville Visitor’s Center, WDVX was hosting another event and broadcasting live on the radio. Bear Medicine played ethereal music with intriguing lyrics. They are definitely a band I’d like to hear more from and I hope they come back to town, soon. They traded the stage back and forth with RB Morris who read his latest poetry, which are based on the mockingbird. Not like any mockingbird you’ve met before. He’s accepting pre-orders at his website.
I stopped into Gallery Nuance where my friend Al assisted guests with the oculus. The device, combined with a computer, allows people to experience virtual reality. It was quite the hit, with a long line snaking across the room. The deck behind the 100 block was also full and with the view of the newly beautified courtyard behind the Armature Building, it makes for a very pleasant spot. Of course, there was music.
Across the street the Emporium held its monthly opening both upstairs and down. String band music followed the art appreciators as they browsed. It was down a small hallway, however, that I found what I was looking for: Vance Thompson, Greg Tardy, Keith Brown and band laying down the best jazz you’ll find anywhere. I swear Greg Tardy nearly set the saxophone on fire with the solo pictured here. I wish you could hear it.
As the 9:00 PM hour struck, of course, most things began closing down. I never think that’s late enough. Maybe we should have it until 9:00 for families and then at that hour start a sort of second shift for adults. We could call it First Friday After Hours. We really need to keep hopping until midnight, at least, in my opinion.
I walked down into the Old City and noted how many people bike into that spot. I hope they don’t drink and try to bike home. Organized Play had quite a few people doing just that. A pretty pre-occupied group, they didn’t seem to notice the strange guy taking photographs all about. I followed the sound of music I’d heard all the way up on the 100 Block and traced it to the Old City Courtyard where a string of concerts are celebrating the tenth anniversary of the venue. I think the band I photographed was Monster Truck. There was a huge crowd there just like in so many other spots that night. It was a noticeably different crowd gathered for the metal music than gathered on the square for the bluegrass, there.
One group that I knew would still be rocking was the drum circle on Krutch Park and, sure enough, I found them in full swing. Drummers drummed, dancers twirled and a large crowd witnessed the spectacle. With the giant sunflower design as a backdrop, a fire juggler spun his fire magic in a mesmerizing display. It always smile at these gatherings. There’s an innocence about the whole thing, as if dancing, drumming and twirling make the world alright for a moment and that’s exactly what it seems to do for my spirit.
This weekend promises to be a great weekend in the city with crisp temperatures making everything a bit more fun to enjoy. The UT game is in Oregon, so that won’t be a variable with parking. Tonight starts the Movies on the Square. I may try to make that. I’ll definitely see you at the Farmer’s Market. Have a fun one.