Saturday, July 12, 2008

Legendary Local Shows. (or "This is why I play music")

Legendary Local Shows. (or "This is why I play music")
Current mood: blissful
I grew up at Air Devils Inn. My parents were/are wonderful parents, but I must rat them out on this one ... they took their redheaded pigtailed child to a lot of dive bars.

Then again, I fell in love with Fats Domino on the jukebox at the Germantown Cafe. And I first saw Tim Krekel at Air Devils when I was probably 13 or so. I head a lot of great music from a young age. This is probably why I was listening to John Prine and Carole King when my peers were listening to the Fine Young Cannibals and Poison.

I also remember hearing people like Motorcycle Joe (blog about who he was to come at some point) talk about brilliant shows they had seen. Things like random amazing musicians sitting in with each other, just beautiful moments in live music history.

Where was I going with this... ? Oh yes, an appreciate for live music and a good live show.

I think a lot of local musicians -- everywhere, not just Louisville -- forget that it's called a "show" because it's "show business." You don't have to be contrived or fake, but you should be entertaining. Otherwise, people could just buy your CD and enjoy it in their own homes . When people get a babysitter and hit the town, you should give them what they pay for, even if the cover's only five bucks. Put on a show, love every minute of it, make beautiful music, and mean it.

Last night at the Monkey Wrench was one of those shows that people are going to be talking about for a long time. It was a completely packed venue, full of shiny, happy people, who were t here for the music. It wasn't a hipster scene or a sit-down symphony type It was music-lovers enjoying themselves, and watching an amazing group of musicians enjoying themselves too.

It started just a week ago, when I caught up with my chum Shannon Lawson in Nashville. He mentioned he would be in Louisville for his birthday next week, and I said, "You should play while you're there." And he said, "Well, put a show together." And not being one to take a challenge lightly, I got on the phone and booked a show within an hour. By the time I got back to Louisville 3 hours later, the fabulous Stacy Stiletto had already printed fliers for the Shannon Lawson/Brigid Kaelin show, and by Tuesday, Shannon's photo was in the paper and we had radio interviews booked.

See? You gotta make things happen, people.

And it helps that Shannon is a phenomenal talent with a bit of a reputation in Louisville. I never heard the Galoots back in their day -- i was too young (sorry, Shannon) -- but I have heard music fans and bar owners reminisce about the good ol' days of crazy crowded shows and the Galoots jumping off stages and singing notes that men shouldn't be able to sing.

But the best part of last night wasn't even Shannon (again, sorry, Shannon). It was this unbelievable combination of great Louisville musicians who wanted to be a part of the night. People joined the stage, played with each other, sang backup on songs they didn't know, smiled a lot, shared a bottle of Knob Creek on stage (thanks Hickory!), and left every bit of ego in their guitar cases. Last night was about the MUSIC, as it should be. The crowd danced, sang, bobbed, drank, smiled, laughed, reminisced, and stayed out well past their babysitters' bedtimes. It was beautiful!

Peter Searcy, Shannon Lawson, Johnny Berry, Brigid Kaelin, Hickory Vaught, Paul Culligan ... i mean, from indie-rockers to honky-tonkers and everything in between, i'm still riding high from the adrenaline. I missed Steve Cooley though, I must admit.

It's one of those shows people are going to be talking about for a long time.

I also love CitiScoot for driving me home after splitting that bottle of Knob Creek.

Do you have any local legendary show memories? Or what's your dream ticket here?

I'll let you in on a little secret ... the Original Highlands Festival here in September is shaping up to be pretty much my Louisville Dream Ticket of a show. I can't let any details because they haven't confirmed everyone, but trust me ... block out September 13 for a day of great music in my favorite neighborhood.

Ok, i'm taking a little powernap before i venture up to Air Devils to recount my childhood, er, I mean, to dance to Johnny Berry and the Outliers...

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