Saturday, October 04, 2008

Friday Nights - FTW

Usually I am not much of a Friday night person. I look forward to wine, some food, Back Porch Music and an early bed time.

Last Friday my routine was changed. I meant to write about it earlier ... but (insert excuse here).

"The Dream Still Lives"

I had the best time last Friday night.

I got to see Spot!

My friend Mamie's husband belongs to Spot. I got an e-Mail announcing a Friday night gig ... and among other things it mentioned "the new Frank". In turn I invited my friend Meg (and a whole lot of other people) to join me, but only Meg took me up on the offer.

While making mygiddy plans to spend a Friday night out, Meg eMailed me back and asked, “So what kind of band is this?”

The question made me stop and consider … what type of band WOULD THIS BE?? I knew Mamie’s husband played the guitar. I knew he had a band that occasionally played at their church. So –they could be a "Good Band" – OR they could be“Not-So-Good-but-We’re-All-Polite-and-We’ll-Clap-Anyway” type band.

Being optimistic, I told Meg the band was in our age range and I was expecting blues and acoustical sets. Stuff we'd like.

After a great dinner with Meg and her husband (who is a loser and didn't join us afterwords), we headed out for the warehouse district. Spot's studios are in an artists' studio. It had exposed brick walls and this most amazing mural backdrop.There was a decent sized crowd ... (maybe 50 or 60 people), just friends of the band and friends of friends ranging in age from 30-70 years old. Everyone had BYOB and showed up to have a great time.

However, I didn't know what we were really getting into (at that point) after Meg's questioning I was really worried about the band. I kept flashing back to high school garage bands. You know the type. They were made up of guys that were going to "live the dream and become a Rock Stars".

Although as you stood there, freezing your butt off in the garage, it was apparent the only reason you were there was because your best friend's boyfriend was in the band. True, they were enthusiastic. They had instruments and big dream. On the minus side, they also started every song 4 or 5 times. Between playing (partial songs) they had endless discussions about which song to sing next. After four hours of rehursing they'd sung four songs that you couldn't recognize. Because it was high school - you kept your thoughts to yourself although you thought what you were hearing was crap. (Because what if they DID become famous some day?)

So, my expectation was that I was going to hear a group of 40-plus year-old-high school guys play. (and I kicked myself for my enthusiasm)


I had some details wrong. Durham (Mamie's husband) didn't play the guitar once. Instead, he's the keyboardist for this group and this night he was sitting behind this great Hammond B-3 with a Leslie. All the guys knew their way around the classic rock sets. Not only did they know the songs, they knew the order they were singing, and they never had to start a song a second time!

Besides Durham, there was a bassist with this great mop of curly hair, an elegant long face - and this intriguing looking mouth. As in any normal band, there was also the lead guitarist (the new "YOUNG" Frank aka Frank Gordon), a drummer (Bruce Sauls) and rhythm guitarist Mike Proctor.

In the first set, the song "Mustang Sally" with "the old Frank" singing set the evening's perma-grin on my face. From there the band moved onto the Ramon's "I Want to be Sedated", Led Zeplin's "Bring It on Home", Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman" ... and lots of other blues inspired, growling, good-time rock and roll songs. (Or song that sound like those listed. I wanted to get a play list, but I didn't - and I am crap at recognizing song titles and artists.)

At some point Meg wanted to know who owned the space since her former studio was in this same neighborhood. Mamie told us it was the bass player's loft. At the next break, Meg went up to the guitarist to find out who painted the mural - and more about his space and work. We found out the mural was painted by a young art student and left behind after Tom honored him with a cocktail party during a showing of his work.

And the bassist himself and his work? Turns out he's Thomas Sayre and he is the designer of the new Raleigh "Shimmer Wall" at the Convention Center. We were both endeared with him as he actually *blushed* as he admitted that the wall was one of his projects.

Standing in the crowd ... bopping to the music, I was taking notes, as random people walked in and out of the space. The ever changing spectators were drawn off the street by the music and the energy. I was busily jotting down impressions of the evening when this guy showed up!

A fun thing about hanging out with artists. They always add their own creativity to the evening. Meg, unable to resist the look of this guy - grabbed the notepad from my hand and began sketching. Looking up, then down at the pad, she made a line drawing. Finishing she handed the pad back to me and disappeared for a few minutes. Returning to my side, she had her own notepad and as she giggled and laughed she did line drawings of each band member, repeating over and over again, "This is so much fun! I've never done drawings like this before".

I think she caught their personalities - and the spontaneity of the evening perfectly. She kept those images with her, but I wouldn't be surprised to see them showing up in her art work in the near future.

Near the end of the evening Durham, sang an original song. Like all the other music of the evening it was great!

I loved seeing him sit behind his organ, face lit up with the joy of singing as he growled out the lyrics. I do believe I'm going to become a permanent Spot devote! It was great seeing these guys who are still "living the dream" (and 100 times better than most garage bands I sat through as a teenager).

We didn't get home 'till late that Saturday night - and I swore to myself "no more late Friday nights!" Especially when I have a 1/2 day of Saturday office work ahead of me (as I did last weekend - and this weekend).

I was going to keep that promise, until my friend Gina called me last night at 5:15.

"What are you doing tonight?" she asked.

"Nothing. Why? What are YOU doing?" I said.

I knew she was in Raleigh dog sitting this weekend - and I assumed she wanted to enjoy a bottle of wine with me.

"I have four, eighth row seats, to go see the Allman Brothers Band tonight. FOR FREE. Plus VIP Parking and free drink tickets. Wanna go?"

Now I ask you ... HOW CAN YOU TURN DOWN AN OFFER LIKE THAT? (even if it means breaking your promise to yourself.)

So we loaded up two other friends ... (Hi East! Hi! Chris!) and had a great time. (Read his blog for more about the music)

Now I must admit. I am not a huge Allman Brother's fan. I mean, certainly I've heard their music as I was growing up. I liked it. If you'd have pressed me though, I'd have had a hard time naming a single song of theirs - although I can pin down their sound.

Before leaving for the show, I went to YouTube to refresh my memory. I was thrilled to find they were the band behind Melissa, Jessica, and Midnight Rider. I also saw one of the song's titles was "Statesboro Blues" which holds some special memories for me since Statesboro, Georgia is a cotton city. Of all the songs they played, I think I enjoyed Soulshine the best.

You may not realize this, but I have a huge "weirdo magnet". Without meaning to, I often engage it because I will talk to strangers. It was on FULL FORCE last night.

During the evening I switched places with Gina and ended up standing at the end of our group (away from the aisle) - with two highly "energized" fans in standing in front of me. Beside me were two men close to my age. As the concert went on small quips and comments were traded back and forth between all of us.

As I said, the two guys next to me were slightly older than myself, but not more than four or five years. However, they apparently didn't realize this as they kept asking me, "What do you think of this type of music?" I figured they were asking because although I was standing and clapping in time to the music, I wasn't bobbing and weaving in that Grateful Dead/Phish manner. Finally, I felt I needed to clarify my age with them and I said, "It would be hard to grow up in the late 60's and early 70's in the Bay Area and not have heard this music." I wanted to indicate that I LIKED the music, but somehow I just felt like I was certifying "uptight and out of my element".

Still I was enjoying myself until I had this surreal conversation with one of the younger two fans standing in front of us. It began when he asked if I was older than twenty.

(And may I add a "WTF" here? I do not think on the BEST OF DAYS I look anywhere near an early twenty-year-old-woman. NOT TO MENTION that Gina and Chris are BOTH ten years younger than me and look/act MUCH more youthful. Especially last night and at this concert.)

So - anyway - there I stood. Ms. Chatty - who accepted a compliment on the pashmina I had thrown around my shoulders in a vain attempt to look "youthful" and "with it". The next thing I new, TY-ishF (The Young-ish Fan) was saying to me,

"Give me a kiss!"

In reply I gave him the death look.

"Come-on, kiss me! Just once? It would totally make my night," he said as he moved from the seating section in front of us and glommed onto my side.

Continuing to twitch to the music and staring at me, he said, "No? You won't give me one long kiss? Then how about a short one?"

"No?! May I kiss your cheek? I can't kiss your cheek?" His incredulous voice made it hard for me to keep a straight face, but I was already kicking myself for talking to a stranger ... and knew with any more encouragement I'd be in deep water. My stoic and unchanging stance led him to this time-worn line.

"You're beautiful. You know that right? You have amazing cheeks." Which earned him a snort from me. Taking this as encouragement he moved on to, "Can I kiss your earlobe? It will make you weak in the knees, I promise! Nooo?! How can you say that?"

All this time, my friends were off to the right - totally grooving on the long percussive transitional section of the concert where the three drummers totally got it on. Back in my own private hell, we'd moved onto,

"How about a hug then? I'll feel better if you'll hug me. Not even just a quick little hug?"

I declined all forms and time frames for exchanging hugs with him.

"You got a boyfriend don't you? A husband? Oh! Are you into women?" At this point I looked at him and said, "No - I hate ALL PEOPLE and I'm a crotchety old woman. Now leave me alone."

Finally, after I convinced him I wouldn't just "stare into his eyes for a few minutes" (no, not even for just 10 seconds, nor 5 seconds... or even GLANCE HIS WAY) he decided I was serious - and moved back to his row of seats ... and then sat there and pouted until his friends roused him into some more "dancing". (WITH OUT ME! yay!) Even while TY-ishF was annoying, I totally enjoyed the evening - and watching/hearing Gregg as he sat behind that B-3. The music and lyrics reminded me of SPOT and how I can't wait to hear them again. (where it appears I am safe from people thinking conversation is an invitation to soul kissing.) Maybe going out on Friday's isn't so bad (if you don't talk to strangers).


The Purple Panda said...

Wonderful post, Mit! And I wanna see that band (it's been a while since I've heard good live classic rock)!

mamie said...

Honey, this one was worth waiting for! Great PR! Glad you were there. I'll wait for your review of the Fairmont Gospel Revue after tomorrow night...and Durham DOES play guitar in that band. See ya at the show!

Al Smith Photography said...

your a funny chick, you and your earlobe. lol
The concert was well worth canceling my scheduled masturbatory indulgence indeed. lol

how old are you anyways? lol

I H8 24 said...

What a great post and it sounds like an amazing night!!! I think it would serve you well to start going out on Friday nights!

Anonymous said...

Oh my - you do draw some good ones, don't you ! Both at the concert and in the Comments !
Sounded like a wonderful concert - ? tp

saturday's child said...

'an interesting looking mouth', eh?