Sunday, October 16, 2005

Weekend shake up

Well, things happen for a reason I guess. I was supposed to go to El Paso and then Albuquerque again to be with Del Castillo, and other things got in the way. I was really in a traveling mood though, so I went a different direction: north. I went to Dallas to catch Billy Harvey, twice, actually, in two days. The first was at the Cavern, on lower Greenville Ave., the bar strip. I have been to both the original Cavern site in Liverpool (now a parking area) and the Chelsea Drugstore in London (Rolling Stones' song "You can't Always Get What You Want"?). This place did not resemble either one..... it was nice little club, but nothing particularly special. Billy's short set was well received, but left me hungry for more. Sadly, I spent most of the rest of the night driving around looking for something to do. Equally sad, Dallas can be like that. Just not very satisfying....
I was ready to go home Saturday morning. I knew of two bands in SA that would be playing that I wanted to see. Yet for some reason I kept delaying my return home. I am happy to say that staying was a good choice in the end.
Right now, the sun is about to come over the horizon (I drove home after the gig, for several reasons) I need to go get back into my coffin for awhile at least, and then I will continue the story.
no need to wait by the computer, but I do have much to tell you! Sleep first though.....

approx.1.30 PM

That cursed day star is still up but so am I so I continue.
Bend Studios. Dallas. They have got a really good idea going here. By day a mild mannered yoga studio for the rich yuppie and student sorts that live in the area.By weekend night, a small intimate place to listen to singer/songwriters who have trouble being heard over the usual club noise. (that was really bad English, but I have to take poetic license now and then...)

The place is small; they claim up to 80 people but I think that would be a bit over-crowded. Last night was about 30, and seemed a little low. There is a good midline somewhere in there. Soft lighting, decent acoustics and a better sound system than many clubs use, chairs or mats or beanbags for the limber or brave....BYOW (bring your own wine) or buy water or tea from them. It was a relaxed atmosphere, and it was enough to show off the artists' talents. It was also small enough a situation that the musicians felt at ease with us and could joke or expound on a piece. It was really a good way to see a singer.
It reminds me of the Wiggle Room, SA's avant garde art spot for music. You have to know where the Wiggle Room is to find it, which means that the audiences tend to be small too. There are about 20 bleacher seats for a bird's eye view and about 50 chairs on the floor, usually in a semi-circle around the stage. Other than overly chatty people failing to take it outside, not a bad place. Everyone behaves for the most part and cleans up after themselves, and gets to hear some really good music in a more intimate setting.
Anyway back to this place in Dallas. Opening for Billy was Kristy Kruger, an independant singer/songwriter who spends much of her time driving from place to place around the US, playing her music and enjoying the traveling. I wish I had had that sort of nerve when I was younger. Maybe when I get older....
She has very much got her own style, and the songs have depth, humour and honesty going for them. I don't know if she has a website but I will try to find out.
Kristy's music reminds me a lot of early Suzanne Vega; it cuts to the quick sometimes, but is really descriptive and thus draws the listener into her world. That's one of the things about this new (or maybe revived) songwriting trend that I like: paint me a picture. Draw me into your world. Tell me how you see things. Even if I don't agree, at least we have started the basis of communication. It is a good feeling to walk away from a gig feeling like you and the artist have connected on some level, however minute. i was really impressed by Kristy's powerful tunes, especially when they come out of someone so quiet. i will review the CD I bought when I get a chance.

and billy.

Well, I have gushed on this guy enough. I think he is getting a little wary of me too. Seem to bring that out in some folks....Let me leave it at this: his writing is getting more intense, his delivery is maturing, and his sense of humour is something to be experienced in person. I enjoyed the heck out of myself last night, and have come not to regret staying in the big D, even when I had trouble filling in the time. I must advertise both for end and Billy: they record these concerts and sell the CDs at the Bend Studio website. So you can hear last evening's performances if you wish. I bought two of the past BH performances, and while it is not the same as being there, what I have heard already convinces me that the Cds are good investments. I have to encourage Buttercup to do something similar.

And on she goes. Much to do after knocking around a foreign city for too long. Must get on with it. More pictures to go up soon, and maybe a more bands to write about. Next weekend is Del Castillo, and I am really looking forward to it. I miss my guys.
They are going to disappear into the larger fabric of the music world soon, so I will take every chance I can to be at their gigs. They are already too few and far apart....such is the price of attempting fame.


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