Monday, June 21, 2010

Good Old War at the Orpheum - "It takes a lot of maracas..."

Photo from Elawgrrl (although technically I'm pretty sure this was taken by yours truly on her Hipstamatic phone camera)

[Charles] As soon as I got to the Good Old War show at the Orpheum I knew I had made a good choice with my after hours freetime on Friday night. Maybe it was the lack of an extremely packed house that helped my comfort level with crowds, maybe it was the smiles from my buddies Nicole and Andy that spotted me on my way in, and maybe it was the post-rock alt to alt-country three piece band that was playing their hearts out on the stage to a respectable cluster of dedicated fans. In any case, I was immediately relaxed and happy and, with a grin that would be hard to recreate on Monday morning, I skipped my traditional first trip to the bar and headed right in to the front of the crowd with the ultimate rock expert Nicole.

"Elawgrrl", as she is known to most of the hundreds of bands that she has photographed in her "other job" of live music photog, was my ticket to a good spot in the crowd. We snaked our way through the crowd from a not so obvious sideways tack and even though I had to squeeze and push a little, most everyone was pretty forgiving about letting me through. I was about three people back in the center and I was completely surrounded by fans of the band that knew every word. I was heartened to see that they weren't the sort of annoying frat boys that typically latch on to bands like this, but more of the thoughtful rocker guys and girls that have a soft side and aren't afraid to sing along with PBR in hand to lyrics like "All of my dreams, hope they won't leave me too."

I loved it. I loved being in the middle of all of it. The drummer comes around at one point and grabs an accordion for a few songs, and the front man even shook the maracas during one song (this led to me and Andy's post-review snickering about the fact that it takes some maracas to shake the maracas in a band.) It does though, and these guys were completely comfortable with who they were. They seemed completely happy to play to a small crowd in a small bar. They played "Coney Island" - the song that even I knew - and they were in no hurry to shut down when the show was over. They wandered out into that warm gooey center of the crowd and headed up a sing-a-long to a few well worn crowd-pleasers including Simon and Garfunkel's "Cecilia" with their Tampa Bay friends.

As we chatted at the bar after it was all over, I couldn't help but wondering aloud to Andy and Nicole that if you weren't so worried about having millions of fans around the world, wouldn't it be nice to have 100 really dedicated fans in every town? Thanks Good Old War for a really great night - maybe we should move that number up to 101 in Tampa - I'd be happy to sing along with you guys anytime...

Here's a blogger that's posted "Coney Island" if this post got you wondering what they sound like...

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