I guess a lot of rock 'n' roll is contextual, conjuring a specific setting, mood, outfit, stance, swagger, and drink. Then there are musicians that play so well they seem to go anywhere. Orange County California's Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys are straight-up western swing goosed with a little r&b and rockabilly. Visions of cowboy boots, cold cervezas, warm women, and the endless possibilities of a honky tonk on payday dance in your head like sugar plums when you close your eyes to listen to the band's new disc Turntable Matinee. And man, you should've heard 'em bring this western boogie to the garden behind the George Eastman House last Thursday. Sandy is a first-rate crooner and his band bops slick with a classic reverence and spot-on instrumentation. Don't let the music's simplicity fool ya; all these players are deadly. The sky had tears in its eyes but never actually bawled as folks cut some concrete rug on the patio, including what I like to call --- and do --- "the diaper dance." It's really quite simple: clench your fists at your sides, bend slightly at the waist, and bob up and down being careful to keep your feet on the ground. Oh, and don't forget to grin and laugh loudly. OK, so they were all toddlers...but it didn't stop me. I mean, I didn't pee myself or anything.
Got a chance to play a couple with show openers and ex-Colorblind James Experience cats The Orange Barrels. I've been seeing these guys in various incarnations and outfits for 20 years and it was a thrill to drag 'em through a few lazy shuffles.
Snuck into the Spy Bar Friday night to see The Lobster Quadrille redefine southern gothic music and old tyme religion without the biblical pathos and guilt. Deadly Pillow Fight Accident hit the stage first with extreme dissonance and glee. To call this music free would be an understatement. All three players --- guitar, sax, drums --- not only seemed to be on different pages but in different time zones as well. Compelling and weird. Comparatively they make "out there" feel like it's right next door.