Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The F Word: Listen to the weather

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2020 at 11:13 AM

I had an epiphany outside the Inn on Broadway in downtown Rochester on Saturday night.

For a nominal table fee of $25, folks could sit under the tent that was set up in the Inn’s parking lot and dig the blues of Steve Grills and the Roadmasters. You could hear it as you approached. Grills and his crew slung blue arrows that zinged and pinged and reverberated off the walls of the buildings nearby. It told me I was home.

It was a bluesy treat, especially with local great Joe Beard, sitting in and digging into the opulent Delta sound. The event was sold out, full of enthusiastic fans who were busy eating to the beat. It wasn’t crowded, but they couldn’t dance either, due to physical distancing protocols. OK, I did tap my foot a bit. I couldn’t help it. But it just felt so good seeing and hearing live music once again.

It was a particularly beautiful and balmy night. And during the performance, it got me thinking more about the weather. What is weather? Under its strict definition, weather is “the state of the atmosphere at a place and time.”

And as the band played on, it dawned on me —- the shuffles, the boogies, the eight-bar blues, the 12-bar blues —- it was all downright meteorological. They were weather, in a sense.

Teagan and the Tweeds rocked Three Heads Brewing from the inside out at a physically distanced show on an inclement Sunday evening. The first come, first served crowd was treated to a sit-down show by a stand-up band. In addition to the small but strong audience that had lined up outside, waiting for the doors to open, fans also took in the performance via livestream on the Three Heads website.

Teagan and the Tweeds are a hard-hitting act that can do anything. It’s a veritable Swiss Army knife of a band. They consistently deliver on the rock ‘n’ roll, but they can also go on musical jaunts that pull at your heart strings, like when Teagan Ward sings about her grandmother along with a prayer to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost things. When the song was finished, it began to rain softly outside. Weather, huh?

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Monday, August 10, 2020

The F Word: The new normal and the old weird

Posted By on Mon, Aug 10, 2020 at 4:29 PM

Who would have thought I would have lasted this long — almost six months — without going out to see live music? Forget the “new normal,” I want the old weird back.

And that’s precisely why I headed over to Abilene Bar & Lounge’s backyard patio on Friday, along with about 20 other souls. Musicians Nate Coffey and Mary Monroe were simultaneously celebrating birthdays during an exuberant set that doubled as a live recording.

Coffee was “en fuego,” as they say in Madrid, with strong and fluid guitar-picking that borrowed from flamenco without too much larceny. The man borrows from a lot of genres, far and wide, just long enough to put his spin on it before returning the musical styles unscathed.

Coffey’s band, including Mary Monroe on harp, percussionist Steve Imburgia, and bassist Ron Edwards played a lengthy set under balmy weather and perfect skies. Multiple guests gave cameos — including flutist Tom Gravino, singer Teressa Wilcox,  guitarist Herb Heinz, harmonica player Tim Brundusie, and David Young, playing two recorders at once. It was a perfect way to get back to seeing a band without the risk of burning up upon re-entry.

It felt so good, I had to do it again.

The next show was a physically distanced, picnic-friendly affair on Sunday afternoon at Corn Hill’s Gazebo at Lunsford Park, where the larger-than-life zydeco impresario Woody Woodward had booked guitarist Dave Riccioni, with his versatile band Dave and the Blue Cats. The band gave an extra jump to the blues under the dappled sun. It was as if Woodward had plugged in his personal boombox for all to enjoy.

Future shows at Corn Hill’s Gazebo include Head to the Roots on August 16, The Spring Chickens on August 23, and Cinnamon Jones and Eternal Soul on August 30. All shows run 4 to 7 p.m. There is no charge, and just remember: Mask it or casket. F out.

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