Saturday, February 19, 2011

I rocked then I got rocked

Playing right now: Eric Dolphy - Last Date (Fontana)

For some reason I thought Nathan Davis played on this session, but I think there was some stretching of the truth with this album, that it's not actually Dolphy's last recording date (it's a live performance) and that maybe there was a studio date after this. It's odd to hear Han Bennink sounding so grounded and boppish. Knowing how wild he can be these days, this performance almost holds the group back. Bennink is solid but almost stiff or nervous.

Wednesday night, the Love Letters returned to Rock 'n Bowl. We played there almost a year ago to the date, give or take about eight days. Snowmageddon hadn't completely subsided at that time. Aimee couldn't dig her car out so I had to pick her up. There was a light sheet of ice all over the sidewalks near Arsenal Lanes. To top things off, I hadn't had a chance to make myself some coffee so I was going through a bad caffeine withdrawal and felt miserable all night. Until we got paid, and we made what I consider some good money. Then I reconsidered everything.

This week it was a beautiful, balmy 40 degrees, no snow, slush or ice in sight. We decided that rather than writing up a set list, we'd put all the songs we wanted to play into a hat. We encouraged people to help us out by fishing them out, and a few people obliged, which was a pleasant surprise. A lot of times at Rock 'n Bowl, people just bowl without any regard for the rock. A couple gals were actually dancing to us. And we didn't end up playing all the slow songs or all the songs in G in a row, so the set held together pretty well. Another key: pick two titles at once, so there isn't a lull between each song.

Arsenal closes at midnight, so we were out the door and packed up by that time. That allowed me the chance to catch half a set by Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds up the street at Howler's. During one song, I reminded myself, oh yeah he was in the Cramps - no wonder he can make one chord sound so good. There was a lot of primitive stomping going on and it worked really well. I regret that I walked in right as the band was wrapping up their take on the Gun Club's "For the Love of Ivy." Wish I could've heard all of that. They encored with "Sex Beat" in which Kid sounded a little more like Jello Biafra than Jeffrey Lee Pierce, but it still got everyone up and screaming.

Driving home I had to open the car window because the residual smoke was so strong that it felt like being in a car with someone who had a lit cigarette. My hat and beret spent the night on the porch, airing out.

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