I get out and listen to 100-150 musical acts per year, minimum. One of the things I have taught myself to do is to watch the performers, as well as listen to them. I can tell you, it’s much more enjoyable that way. It is really cool to see the “how” they play their instruments and handle their assignments within the band. While I love watching a great guitarist as much as the next guy or even a good fiddle player or keyboard player, I most enjoy watching the drummer perform. As far as the singers go, they are fun to watch too – especially their facial expressions and how they interact with the crowd.
Perhaps I take it bit too far, but I really like to see how performers handle mistakes and little problems that pop up during a show. I remember seeing the great Tab Benoit play at Riverbend a couple years ago and he broke a guitar string in almost every song. He played through it and showed why he is a real pro. His guitar tech, on the other hand, looked as if he wanted to hang himself after each song.
Greg Rudder, one of Chattanooga’s best drummers, uses cheap drum sticks and breaks several during each performance. It is so cool to watch him “make the switch” mid-song, never missing a beat after dropping the broken one and picking a new one out of his stick bag – all in the bat of an eyelid. I remember John Anderson’s drummer broke his drum stool mid-song at Lake Winnie. Did he get flustered and throw a fit and stop playing? No. He played through it and after the song found a crate to sit on and finish out the night. Jordan Lawson, Josh Turner’s former fiddle player and now with Tin Cup Gypsy, broke a mandolin string mid-song at Riverbend a couple years back. He stepped off the stage and replaced it and tuned it and was back on stage before the song was even over. Flustered? No! A real pro? Yes.
The point is this – it can be fun to watch the performers closely and see the little things that happen during a show. Sugar’s is a cool place to watch the drummer, as there is a window behind the drummer and you can see every move – even the footwork. JJ’s Bohemia is cool, too. It is “up close and personal” with the band. T-Bones can also provide an intimate setting for some “music watching.” If being that close bothers your sensitive ears, stop off at the drug store and get some cheap earplugs. Watch the performers for just 30 minutes. I promise, you will enjoy it.
Who would be some fun performers to watch this weekend? Well, the Buckner Brothers are at Sugars. They feature a genuine pro on saxophone – Carle Vickers – who has played with every big name act in the world. An original member of the band LTD, he has played with Ray Charles, Sam & Dave, LL Cool J, the Isley Brothers, and more. They have a great drummer, too. This is place to watch the drummer from behind the glass.
Want to see a group of real pro’s? Try Lindsey Street Hall and watch Milele Roots in a live video shoot. My first guitar player of the year, Jon Wimpee, plays with them. At the Ringgold Acoustic Café, two of the southeast’s finest country musicians are appearing Saturday night - Nathan Farrow and Robby Hopkins. How about a late night boat ride AND a good band? Cat Country 95.3 radio has their cruise Saturday night on the Southern Belle and features Remembering January - definitely fun to watch!
Support local music and get out this weekend. See the music.
In other news, the Chattanooga Songwriters Association has named Bruce Livolsi as July songwriter of the month. Thom Cavin, executive director of the CSA confirmed that Cleveland, TN based songwriter A Man Called Bruce has performed many times at the organization's Writer's Nights, including a performance at the first (and only, thus far) CSA Songwriter's Festival last November. Mr. Cavin said of July's winner, "We look at A Man Called Bruce as a cut above. His dedication to his music and his prolific writing have brought forth from his mind more than 30 songs since he joined CSA last September." He went on to say, "In the past 11 months we've heard more than 1100 songs performed by over 400 songwriters. It was definitely Bruce's turn to win."
For more fun and local music info, try www.chattanoogaentertainers.com or www.chattanooganightscope.com. They both have great local music info and schedules. For local info on Country music, try Jim Boles’ site www.chattacountry.ning.com.
Email Bob Payne at email@example.com or catch him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/davrik2000.