After ordering a "Stevie Ray Vaughan" mixed drink, I took a seat at the bar. ("Why do you call it a Stevie Ray Vaughan?" I asked. "He liked to drink them." "I see. Did he call it a Stevie Ray Vaughan or a Me?" Silence.) After a bit, I ended up in a conversation with a guy asking about "that music review and drinking column you do." First, I explained to him, this is not a music review column (Don't let the fact this edition is entirely about music fool you!). A lot of the events covered are musical, but it ebbs and flows from week to week due to bookings and my schedule. He seemed to buy it. As for the drinking comment? If you had to go see half the crap I do every week, you'd drink too.
Friday evening, Todd Busch and the Goldenrods played the Steeple Lounge, in what might have been one of the weirder shows I've seen all year -- amazing, yes, but weird. After a fine albeit short Goldenrods set which included a number of new songs and a Kinks cover, lead Rod (and apparent birthday boy) Benji Hughes invited the audience to chill out and enjoy the solo stylings of Todd Busch. Admonished, perhaps. Exhorted? In any case, it was the most good-natured-yet-profane gentle butt-spanking of an audience I've ever seen. Hughes leaves the stage. Enter lots of loud 80s rock blaring from the speakers, napkins flying through the air, and dancing. The music stops. Busch steps to the stage, barefoot, and launches into some of the most intricate, minor-chord songwriting you'd ever want to hear. Other musicians stand hushed, appreciative. The word "genius" is used by one appreciative onlooker. The words "You fucking suck!" are used by another (slightly balding, trustfund-looking) kid. Cue another gentle Busch song. Cue a similar proclamation. Lather, rinse, repeat. A few local musician types confer. Did that guy say what we all think he did? Soon, a group of people forms an ad hoc posse to give the balding dork (did I mention he was trying to hide the fact that he was balding?) a talking-to. A few reasoned, then stern words were offered, and the guy paid his tab and high-tailed his (dorky, balding) ass out of there. Who says local musicians don't stick together?
On Saturday, I visited the new music venue The Room in order to check out The Alternative Champs, who were holding what they called a "Craptacular/Spectacular." The Champs are half accomplished rock band and half Second City or Mad TV, the band members wearing different "themed" outfits for every show. (In a Behind The Music moment, I had bumped into the boys in the Community Thrift store on Freedom Drive earlier in the day, when they were deciding on outfits. They wound up with a pseudo-Strokes sort of look, complete with moptop wigs).As for The Room, a big thumbs-up. The spacious front area (ok, room) is littered with comfy couches and tables, and has great sound no matter where you happen to be sitting. There are some pool tables, but they're in the back and far enough from the stage to be low profile. It makes seeing a show seem more like a party than anything else, and when you're listening to a band sing about the hair on their genitals, it's damn near perfect. Picture a kick-ass frat house, with one important distinction. No frat boys!