Orange Gearle

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

finder and wilder fun

We walked into The Mill at about 7:30 PM Friday night. It had been a long week and bluegrass was the 'drug of choice' this evening. After paying the cover and getting our hands “smiley faced”, we entered the bar area. The Wilders of Kansas City, MO were doing their sound check. They were dressed in jeans, t-shirts and sweatshirts. The Dobro player and the string bass player both wore baseball caps.

Helen and I ordered sandwiches and beverages (I had the magnificent Portabella Mushroom Sandwich). I noticed that the stage was new! When I was at The Mill last week, we weren’t close to the stage at all, because we knew we wanted to listen…but also talk…so we sat far away from the stage…so we wouldn’t disturb anyone (that’s important for later in this story). Tonight we were much closer. Anyway, so I didn’t notice the stage area that night…it has expanded. The stage is bigger, and the dividers that once existed, no longer divide the room into awkward compartments. This was an enjoyable change.

Our waitress was nice, and accommodating. The food was awesome. I ate it ALL.

Helen and I always have a good time. Tonight was no exception.

My impatience was overwhelming at times. I had so been looking forward to this for months…or at least weeks. I was particularly glad I wasn’t at this show alone…because the anticipation would’ve been too much. LOL As usual the show didn't get started until a least a half hour after the listed start time. I have no idea why they do that. To me, it is just annoying.

The Mike and Amy Finders Band
(pronounced FINNders) were first up on the stage. I have seen them several times…the most recent time was when I went to The Sugar Maple Festival last summer. I own two of their CDs. I frequently play their music in the car and sing VERY LOUD. I can only describe Amy in one way: cute as hell. She sings…flawlessly, dirty, clearly, in harmony and with soul…all suspiciously effortlessly. Amy, dressed in a black top, jeans skirt and usual dance shoes, played her mandolin, Mike Finders joined her on guitar, Billy Velencia on string bass, and the legendary Al Murphy, wearing a flannel shirt and leather vest, played an amazing fiddle to complete the ensemble.

They played most of my favorites. I only had to wait about three songs to hear Fifty Dollars. I have no idea why I like that song so much, other than the fact that I am just so glad I am not as stupid as the girl in the song!! Good grief, Charlie Brown! Also, it's fun to sing really loud.

The crowd was fairly age. There were college students, seniors citizens and everyone in between. I would say, however, that the average rage was 35-55. One couple, college age, sat just a few feet from us. At one point they got up to dance. She was dressed in cowboy boots and a cowboy hat, and he had some other type of hat on. They looked contrived...but whatever. I think the people next to me were annoyed that they were dancing in front of the group, however, there was a dance floor, so I didn't really see what the big deal was. It was obvious that they were wanting attention of some sort, but, no harm done.

Then it happened.

Soon after they finished dancing, still within Mike and Amy's set, our waitress went over to their table. She was acting like a friend, not a waitress at this time. They were so loud. Now, The Mill is a bar. I sometimes don't enjoy going to this venue to watch music because there is a lot of activity going on...people are eating...walking around...etc. It's no CSPS. But generally people are polite...even drunk college students. There are plenty of areas to sit or stand, still be able to hear, but not be distracting to those around you. Apparently these kids didn't know that, or care. So, after several minutes of increased volume, I turned to Helen and said, "Do you think I will start a girl fight if I go over there and say something?". Helen said she would if I didn't. Seriously, it was horrible. Everyone around was looking at them and giving them dirty looks. They didn't even notice because they were (a) drunk and (b) self-ish. So I went over and, aware of the possible consequences of my actions, very nicely said, "Could you turn your voices down just a little bit. Just a little." I motioned down with my hand so that I wouldn't have to speak loudly and they would still get the picture. The waitress said, "We're sorry." I went back to my seat. Discretely, just short of high-fives, I was thanked and congratulated along the way by 4 tables around us. The waitress left the area.

Soon after, the cowboy boot wearing girl turned toward us and yelled to Helen, "It's a concert!". And Helen nodded and said, "I know." The little chicky didn't stop there..then she said, "It's loud." Helen responded with, "Yes, it is." And then the bitch continued with her snotty teenager tone and said, "You have to talk loud, it's loud." And Helen said, "Shut up already." The people around us were appalled at this little girl's behavior...but not completely surprised I suppose. At least she didn't throw a punch...but you know I could've taken her. I'm small but feisty. LOL

Phil Wade, of The Wilders, joined Mike and Amy with his Dobro toward the end of their portion of the program. That was enjoyable. I love resonator guitars...and he is an accomplished player. Mike and Amy played a lot of their stuff, but they also played other standards...a really liked the John Hartford tunes they played...of course I can't remember which ones...why is it that my memory sucks??

Anyway, next up were The Wilders. This four person band is rich in sound and has amazing stage presence. Very enjoyable, see them if you get a chance. They had dressed up a bit before taking the stage. Boys in suits, cowboy hats instead of baseball caps, and the fiddler, Betse Ellis, in a skirt and really ugly boots. LOL They are all the rage and they aren't really ugly I suppose. They are a cross between cowboy boots and combat boots. Why someone thought to combine the two I am not certain. I think it has something to do with trying to make cowboy boots trendy...which is oxymoronic, I suppose.

Ike Sheldon, lead vocals and guitar, is full of energy. He plays this guitar that has obviously been played a lot, and he plays it....hard. He has quite a long beard, something you might expect of a bluegrass musician, however, it made me extremely curious of his age. I'm sure the grey in his beard made him look older than he is...but who knows. Nate Gawron, on string bass, sang vocals on few tunes. Phil Wade played a little banjo, Dobro, mandolin, and sang.

The Wilders have been working on a CD recently, and as a result have not been playing together much lately. However, this was not at all apparent. They were very tight, fun and high energy. If I danced, ever, they would be something I would be forced to dance to. Mom, your 'happy feet' would've been fully engaged!

Hawk's Got a Chicken And Flew In the Woods
is not what they opened with, but it's on the cd that I purchased, and it's similar and very take a listen with just a click if you wish. Another song that will give a bit of a glimpse into the atmosphere of the evening is Honky Tonk Habit. Part way through their set, Al Murphy joined them on the stage and they played Jenny on the Railroad. The version I've included here has Dirk Powell playing the second fiddle, not Al...but you get the picture.

As The Wilders rocked the stage, our friends just a few feet away continued to drink heavily. At one point the cowboy-hat-donning-boot-wearing-too-tight-clothes-fat-rolls-showing fake blonde bitch came over to my table, leaned toward me, pointed her chunky finger at me and slurred the words, "Haaammm I beein' quwiiet ennuuuphf for ya?" I just stared straight ahead at The Wilders on the stage and ignored her. My feet were up on the bench, just below her face. I wanted to kick her. I held back. LOL She continued to point and was not going to move. So after what seemed like an eternity, but was probably just a minute or less, I said, "I'd rather not talk to you, I'd rather listen to the music." She walked away. Someday she might grow up. But really, I think people like that are always like that, no matter their age. Whatever sweater, she couldn't ruin my night.

At the end of the evening, The Wilders and The Mike and Amy Finders band combined and played three songs together. They had fun...which made it even more pleasureable for me to watch.

I'm thankful that I was not jumped on the way out of The Mill by that cheerleader wench, but I also know that a couple dozen people had my back if needed. However, I'm sure I could've kicked her ass on my own (how's that, coming from a passivist?)!! LOL

Enjoy the pics of The Wilders.

All together, altogether fun.


Blogger Kirsten said...

That sounds like lots of fun (and excitement)! I've seen the Mike and Amy Finders band in Des Moines - they're great. We'll have to get to a concert together soon! Sadly, I was at home with strep throat and a fever Friday night, so I wouldn't have been much of a companion!

12:23 PM  

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