Before every show I cover, I like to gather my thoughts, loosen up my pen, and remove a layer of inhibition at some local dive. Last Thursday, it was Calavera, which is not exactly a dive, but I had my heart set on some empanadas and tequila blanco. Only a few blocks from the venue, I figured, fuck it, I’ll splurge a little. As usual, Calavera did not disappoint.
Belly full and cheeks rosy, I wandered over to The Pour House around 9:30PM to catch the weekly local showcase, “Local Band Local Beer.” As I approached the venue, I could hear the raw vibrations of the first act emanating from inside. Ah yes, The Blue Footed Boobies, a blues rock duo from the North Carolina coast. I dropped my $5 and headed in, drawn by the Hendrix-inspired roar of the electric guitar. When I stepped through the door, I set my eyes upon the stage where I saw a tall, long-haired guitar player adorned in a floral pattern shirt, accompanied by a heavily bearded and lively drummer.
The chemistry between the duo was apparent. Seamlessly moving between original raw blues from their self-titled album released last Fall, and a few choice covers—including one of my favorite Beatles songs, “Don’t Let Me Down”—the band captured me so fully that I abandoned my notebook, stepped out onto the dance floor, and shed myself of my journalist veil, dancing, dancing, dancing… The Wilmington duo ended their set with a cover of “Wild Thing,” which sparked a small but present moshpit—young punks having a good time. Riled and hungry for more, the crowd started chanting “One more song” over and over, as the projector screen descended from the ceiling and covered the stage. Unfortunately, their efforts were unrewarded and they filtered outside to the cigarette den in the alley. Twas an anticlimactic finish to the best set of the night.
Between sets I did my in the heat of the moment scribbling, and knocked out a quick beer review. I was in a content-driven mood that night. Halfway through the mediocre smoked brown ale I regretfully ordered, the second act, Milagro Saints, came to the stage. In my pre-show research, I listened to some of their tunes and held out hope that the six-man multi-instrumentalist band would put on a good set. They certainly sounded like they had potential in their ultra-folksy jam-style blues. However, that hope quickly faded into disappointment.
The younger crowd who had so fervently participated in the first set now lingered by the bar or fled to the cigarette den, while a more middle-aged audience crept to the front of the stage. Even their ranks were a bit thin. Sporting a sound similar to a Grateful Dead cover band, Milagro Saints sounded a bit too dated for me. Bottom line: there was too much going on between the six of them that no cohesive sound emerged.
By the time their set was over, I had chugged my mediocre beer and went to seek out the first act to give them my congratulations on a fine set. I found them outside mingling with some young ladies. Following a cordial handshake, I tipped my hat and ambled back to the little corner where I rest my head.