Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dances with Guitars

One of my favorite venues in the greater DC area is The Birchmere. The place offers a unique experience, in that it's the only concert hall that I've attended where they have strictly table and chair seating. In fact, there is a strict 'No Standing' rule. There is a full dinner menu and table service and no one has to leave their seat for a beverage. For those occasions where an act is better suited for an audience that wants to get down with their bad selves, there is another room, called The Bandstand, that can accommodate a larger, standing crowd. The vast majority of concerts though are in the seated hall, and the bands that play this room are suited for the quiet, attentive audience that the environment produces.

I did experience one concert there though where the strict No Standing, No Talking rules were completely disregarded. This night, James McMurtry and the Heartless Bastards were playing to a seated crowd. Early on, James mentioned that he was surprised that he wasn't booked into the Bandstand. This should have been a clue that we were in for a rockin' show. Partway into the set, a few mavericks in the audience decided that they were going to disregard the rules of the room and stand up and dance. This went on for a bit, with people seated behind them just trying to peer around them. As the night progressed, more and more people started standing up and eventually we were all on our feet and dancing to the music. It felt to me like we were in that movie with John Travolta and that other guy, where they're in Russia, but they don't realize they're in Russia, and they open up a nightclub, and people are exposed to rock n' roll music for the first time. Anyway, James put on a great show that night.

I've seen a wide range of other acts at The Birchmere, including from The Finn Brothers, a solo Patterson Hood, acoustic North Mississippi All Stars, and Emmylou Harris. I signed up on the mailing list so I can be apprised of show updates, and in the email newsletter received tonight (the inspiration for this post), I was shocked to read up on two acts set to perform there.

My first shock was that comedian Jackie Mason's performance on 10/31 is being postponed due to illness. How awful for the people who were lucky enough to score tickets while so many others were shut out due to overloaded Ticketmaster servers from scalper's automated ticket-buying software. Here's to a speedy recovery for the legendary Mr. Mason!!

And my second shock was in reading that, on December 2nd, Kevin Costner and Modern West will be gracing the stage at this Virginia venue. And yes, it is THAT Kevin Costner, performing with HIS band. To satisfy your curiosity, you can check out his Myspace site to hear what the tunes sound like. If his live shows are half as good as The Postman or Waterworld . . . .


Ryan said...

"a solo Patterson Hood, acoustic North Mississippi All Stars"... yes sir, highlights of my DC run!

WeightStaff said...

not to forget the Ottobar show the next night in Baltimore. we were definitely on Patterson Hood tour for a couple nights.

Has anyone seen my setlist?


Ryan said...

"sorry can't give you the setlist. some asshole stole it last night and Patterson was pissed."