Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Went to a gig last Thursday in Waco with a buddy of mine.

My buddy Glenn emailed me early in the week, tellin' me about the show. It was a free concert with local talent, set up at the Bosque River Stage. That's a cool little venue that's connected to McLennan Community College, in Waco. They put on a series of concerts every summer, down by the river.

Glenn's wife is the sales director at a local TV station, and is having to work late these days. Issues at the station. Denise wasn't interested (not into Jazz), so Glenn and I made plans to meet up, have dinner somewhere and go to the gig ourselves. No reason why the boys can't play.

It turned out to be a great time. First, we had Chinese food at a little place called Pei Wei, which is like a low end version of P.F. Chang's China Bistro. I'd never eaten at one of these, or at Chang's, so it was cool to explore. It turned out to be great, but I think I prefer Dynasty's version of the Generals Chicken.

After eating, we drove over to the show just in time to see the MCC Faculty Jazz Ensemble start their set. That's Dick Gimble there in the black shirt. He's Johnny Gimble's son, and a great local musician.

The music was wonderful. I was really surprised to hear how well these dudes played, as they ran through a set of old jazz and swing classics. Here's a little video I captured at the show. Enjoy

Like I said, the music was great. Or problem was with the audience, or more specifically, the assholes who were sitting right behind us. What's up with people these days? Is it us, or are folks just rude as hell? They sat down behind us and proceeded to have a full blown conversation while we were trying to enjoy the music. You tell me. Isn't that not only rude as hell to the people sitting around you, but also to the band, who are trying their best to put out great music for people to enjoy?

Glenn put up with it for a while (they were sitting right behind him), but eventually he turned around and asked them to go somewhere else if they wanted to get reacquainted. They were completely shocked, saying "It's an outdoor concert," as if he was the inconsiderate and rude one for getting upset. They implied that the nature of the show would excuse the fact that they were having to talk louder than the music to hear one another, which meant that everyone else was able to hear them as well as the band.

I'm tellin' ya, ya wanna just slap the shit outta some white folks sometimes. Feel me?

The main gig that night was a pleasent surprise. I'd thought we were just gonna see the Jazz Ensemble, but Glenn told me when we got there that the second band was gonna be a great little band from Denton called Brave Combo.

After a short break, which gave Glenn a chance to go get his camera, and he and I a chance to relocate closer to the action (tryin' to avoid the assholes... It didn't work. There were more down close), the Combo began playing their special brand of jazz/polka, party music. It was cool as hell. Here's a taste.

These guys are very into audience participation, particularly by kids. They set up their stage with everything shoved over to the left, so then the whole right side of the stage was open for dancers from the audience. Once they started playing, they welcomed folks down from the seats to dance and join in the Conga Line, the Chicken Dance, the Hokey Poky, and lots of other shit that I don't do.

What's the Chicken Dance you ask? Here you go.

Yea, Audience participation. I'm the dude there in the folding chair, thinkin' "Fuck you, I ain't doin' it." Been plagued by self-consciousness all my life. Whether it came from always being the huge, hulking dude in the room, or whatever, I don't know. I've always wanted to hide, rather than jump in and have fun. It's like it's in my DNA, keeping me from joinin' in on such foolishness. Of course, it keeps me from havin' a hell of a lot of fun too.

Glenn sat through some of it, but eventually had to jump in for this. Here's a shot of the Chicken Dance as we experienced it that night. Three concentric rings of revelers. Notice the dude in the suit. Yer thinkin' "Secret Service?" or maybe "Men in Black?" No, it was the short bus folks.

Yea, apparently someone drove in with about six or eight "special needs" folks, all HUGE fans of the music, one of whom decided to get all gussied up for the show. I figured it was probably their house mother, who probably entertains them with this sort of fun music. There were several of them, easily discernible from the other revelers, but there was only one guy in a suit. That's him there on the left, menacing the keyboard/guitar player/singer, Carl Finch, who founded Brave Combo in 1979.

I was initially amused by the show these special needs folks put on, getting right up close to the band and doing that special, spastic dance they do. It was hilarious to me. I'm ashamed to say that I was laughing at them for a while, if only silently to myself. But then my feelings quickly changed. As the music moved them, along with many of the other folks in the audience, especially the little kids, the special needs folks displayed a complete freedom to get up and join in, being totally care-free, they were easily consumed in the fun of it all.

Meanwhile, crippled by self-consciousness, I could never muster the courage to be that free. I was sitting there, proud of them in the end, and a bit envious. I wonder what it'll ever take to get me out of that folding chair, and fully into the fun that life offers? I guess I'm just an idiot.

Anyway, the show was fun. I drove Glenn home and then drove on home myself. It was a blast. We'll do it again. We've got tickets to the first day of the ACL festival in October. We're lookin' forward to that, but there'll probably be another gig down there by the river before the summer is out. Cheers!


BRUNO said...

Hell, I didn't know you were CAPABLE of the "sitting-in-one-place-for-more-than-a-minute" routine!

It's about time you started practicing---you're gettin' OLDER with each passing day.....!

Suldog said...

It's people, FHB. Everybody is so used to sitting in their living room and watching things, they transfer that behavior into public. It sucks. That's why I rarely go to movies these days.

BRUNO said...

By gawd, SULDOG here hit the "nail-on-the-head"!(Or even the "head-on-the-nail", take your pick!)

That's the way I've sorta wanted to say it for a LONG-time!

Which is also why I spend the majority of my time listening to a RADIO, instead of "the boob-tube"...!