Thursday, May 12, 2005

SPMC & Mammy Nuns at 331 Club, Mattson at Grumpy's

What a week in the "life of Cyn!" Besides chasing down news stories, I've been keeping up the live music listening. . . always so fun in this great music town. The Mammy Nuns kicked off their First Tuesdays at the 331 Club, in a fine way. They were as terrific acoustically as they are plugged in, I swear. And with a big following of earlier SPMC regulars at the Turf, it truly felt like "mini-Turf" at the 331. Joe was phenomenal on the sousaphone, wandering the streets with it at one point as I hear he's wont to do. Alas the bordering restaurants Erte, and the Modern Cafe were closed, so it was just I and Dawn Drouillard in the drizzly moonlit night enjoying the nomadic tuba tones (Dawn's former lead of Interstate Judy, now of That's What You Get, playing the Entry May 19th at midnight -- yes, those of ye who know me, know I'll try to catch both the Green Party bennie and TWYG).

Hazy Dave is a phenomenal, versatile guitarist, ranging from slide blues, to old-time to Latin with equal skill -- perfectly harmonious with lead Rob who simply "Rules" -- the sound of their two guitars together was electrifying; I was at times awestruck by the sounds only two in perfect nonverbal sync for seemingly years, can do. Andy's drumming was stunning as well, brilliant Latin, Cuban, rock, country rhythms, always the perfect backbone flowing in and out forefront and back perfectly timed and just absolutely fun, with the solid bass notes, at times melodic of Joe's tuba. I was delighted that they played one of my very favorite songs of all-time, "Long Black Veil," covered by many through time, from Johnny Cash to Nick Cave. Willy Murphy's version is also great. But the Mammy's really truly did this song about betrayal, honor, and justice, justice. It makes my heart hurt every single time I hear it. Dave also sang a traditional song I love that the Dickel Brothers also cover really well (I don't recall the name) about a guy who comes home different nights to: different shoes, coat, and head on the pillow, which the wife says "you blind old fool, you drunk ol' fool, surely you can see? That's a cabbage my momma gave to me." But, he replies, "whiskers on a cabbage, I swear I've never seen." Probably a Skillet Lickers song, it would be about right.

Jokes abounded as we all partook heavily of the cheap margheritas, and perhaps mistakenly of the new "official SPMC drink" at least for one night, (for that, I hope!) Unicum, from Hungary, that the band kept waxing on about. Being the fearless reckless sort that will always try anything once, my sneaking suspicion was confirmed by a Canadian that this was one form of another nasty infamously dreaded Hungarian drink, Polanki. The description for you, curious dear reader is thus: Jagermeister, with some of the sweetness removed, mixed with a Palmer's style Long Island Ice Tea (those who have been there know better), and ear wax, yes ear wax. That bitter nasty flavor that makes you wish you could shave your tongue to rid the nasty aftertaste that lingers for days. But I digress. That's just how bad it stays with you. Eck!

The music was great, tho! Martin Devaney got up there and did a couple of old Hank tunes, something that always makes me happy. And Terry Walsh of 2 a.m. and Belfast Cowboys wowed the hangers on with his excellent voice, worth checking out more of. The newly renovated 331 is beautiful. We were all so happy regular SPMC nights are on all over our town.

Fun at Grumpy's NE last night, Wednesday, for the weekly "Stripped Down! Bare Live Music, 8 - 10 pm" hosted by Baby Grant Johnson. He usually plays the first hour and hosts another great musician the 2nd. Last night the first hour was Mike Nicolai, who Grant plays with in his band, New Vintage (formerly "the Baby Grant Johnson Band." The second performer was an absolute never-miss favorite, Rich Mattson. He has such a great voice and his songwriting is the best! I hear that Baby Grant has 4 performances in various configurations around town next week. I'll keep you posted! The first one is Tuesday night at the Turf 'round 10 pm.

Next Wednesday, Grant tells me Ethan Azarian, Austin Texas is his guest. I hear Ethan is unusual, really like nothing I've ever heard, and excellent. I look forward to it.

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