That's right I heard FIVE bands this week. It was kind of by accident, and I only heard one set of each, but here's my super speed listener review...
The Taters were doing their rockabilly, Roy Orbison, toe-tapping, big grinning music thing at Shenanigans mid-week. Honestly, no one else should be allowed to do Roy but these guys. They sounded good, were having a fun time with the crowd, and kept drawing gals to the dance floor. Jimmy Wark and his pink paisley guitar were in attendance, as was the ever chipper Harry Gore who sat in on a couple of tunes.
Chez Roue was swingin' the night away at Cafe Diem with the ever-morphing boogie boys and a few of the regulars. Sitting in for Johnny Hott who is on tour with Sparklehorse were not one, but two drummers. They looked like negative images of each other but both sounded good. My gal Becky and I were particularly impressed by the one who looked 16 but played like... well, Johnny Hott. There were also not one, but TWO keyboardists. Both play regularly with the band, but what a treat to have them together! Roger, Jonathan, and Sulser were all in great form but a special kudos to Sulser who absolutely NAILED the two songs we heard him sing on. And many thanks to all three for joining us, even if only briefly, on the dance floor. You are gentlemen musicians, indeed.
Billy Ray Hatley and the Showdogs played an opener for Dale Watson over the weekend. It was a joy for this groupie to see how a crowd of the uninitiated warmed to my dogs. The boys went very pro with their set: leaning to the country side of their expansive collection, keeping the banter brief and the music rockin', all in all producing a tight, clean set. Unfortunately, Drew the fiddle man is on tour (no, not with Sparklehorse), because he would have loved it and the crowd would have digged him. Also, I was sorry that Jimmy Wark was under the weather with a bug. Must have been the Taters the night before. He played through it, but looked a little puckish toward the end of the set. Get well soon, buddy man.
Dale Watson is a wiry man of enormous talent. He has a huge voice, clever writing, great musicianship, a face remarkably similar to Billy Bob Thornton, a tight and talented band, and one of the most beautiful smiles I have ever seen on a stranger. Unfortunately, the man will not shut up. It's a simple request, really. Sing, Mr. Watson. Shut the talking up, and sing.
I guess it's a good thing he didn't shut up, though, because I got disgusted, walked out, and went to see...
American Dumpster! This band is either going to get very very big or they are going to go nuclear and disappear. They had one of the rockiest beginnings to a set I've seen in YEARS. They were late, missing one member, poorly introduced, heckled, malfunctioning in the sound department, and then part of the equipment hit the floor in the middle of a song. That was 10 minutes into the set. An hour later the dance floor was full, the band was complete, and I was contemplating a move back to Charlottesville so I could see them more often. When they are good, American Dumpster is truly THAT GOOD. As for frontman Breeden - let us all say a quiet prayer of thanksgiving that he did not choose to start a cult, become a despot, or get his own talk show. He is one of the most magnetic performers I've seen from seven feet away. And he doesn't talk too much. (Someone call Dale Watson.)