Friday evening Lady Jane and I had a chance to see The Guggenheim Grotto at the C2G Music Hall in Fort Wayne. I have heard much about this Irish duo, but it was our first time seeing them live. We were not disappointed. And, what's more, we were completely blown away by opener Tiger (Tadhg) Cooke, another Irishman with soul. Unfortunately we were a little late arriving, and missed Megan King's opening set.
The Guggenheim Grotto are a folk-pop band from Dublin, and consist of Kevin May and Mick Lynch. Kevin plays keyboard, upside down guitar, and does perhaps the bulk of the singing and talking. Mick plays guitar, ukulele, viola (I think it was a viola; a big sorta violin), and does a good deal of singing himself. They are perhaps most well-known for providing some music for the television show One Tree Hill, but have created quite a cult-ish following too. Very nice tunes, very good rapport with the audience, and their vocal harmonies are simply superb. It's amazing how much sound they can create from an acoustic guitar and keyboard. I enjoyed them quite well, and would definitely see them again.
What surprised me most was Tiger Cooke though. I had honestly never heard of this Dublin-born singer/songwriter/guitarist. But he had a smooth-as-soul voice, his guitar work in alternative tunings created such depth and breadth, and he had a way of spacing with the mic that made for a simply fantastic opening set. I loved his sound and was so hoping for more. I didn't purchase a cd that night, but am absolutely going to buy some of his music online. And I talked with him briefly afterward, and he seemed a most gracious person as well. A very nice surprise on this snowy/cold Indiana night. By the way, if you're looking for his music, apparently his name is "Tadhg," but since it is such an oddly spelled name in the US he has started going by "Tiger." Either name will find him in a Google search.
Another interesting fact about this night, personally, is it was the first time we've been to C2G and noticed it called the "C2G Music Hall." For those who don't know, it is a church (or a ministry that has a church; or vice-versa). Apparently they now have "C2G Ministries" and "C2G Music Hall." Which might also explain why they had a bar tonight. It was the first time I've seen them serve alcohol. And, while it doesn't really surprise me that they did - as I have seen a few acts perform there who weren't used to performing in non-drinking establishments... what did make me do a double-take was the location of the bar. They have one big cross that hangs down off to one side, and the bar was located directly under the cross. It probably was the logical place to set it up considering the logistics of the room; it just looked a little odd under the cross. Whatever.
On a more personal note... the only real downer about the night - other than the blowing snow outside - was this terror of a child that was running around. We arrived a little late, and couldn't find a seat, so at first we just stood in back behind the boom camera. Brad Etter (who works there; and is the kindest man in the world) eventually brought us a couple of chairs, and so we just sat at a table that was against the back wall. After Tiger Cooke was done performing he actually came out and sat at the table with us. Pretty soon this kid - maybe 10 years old - was hanging all over him, asking him questions, grabbing onto him, trying to take his hat off. At first I thought maybe it was his kid. But he looked awful young to have a child that age; and then I noticed the kids mother sitting in front of us a ways. You know, obviously the kid had a hyperactivity problem (or something), but I wanted to smack his parents upside the head. Every now and then "mom" would turn around and shush him... But the kid was being totally obnoxious to Tiger, and basically all of us in the back. Later he disappeared for a moment, coming back with his "little men" and he sat at the table and fought with them. Ugh. It was a total distraction. And I felt so bad for Tiger. But he never said a word - just sat there and put up with it. On a few occasions I said a prayer - both for the kid, and Tiger. I usually try to pray for performers like this anyway. It has got to be such a grind to be in a constant state of travel, in a foreign land especially. And most of us probably don't think about how much they miss their family and friends - especially those who are married and have children. I think it's quite a sacrifice to share their gift with the world. So I hope my prayers are heard on their behalf.
At any rate... a grand night was had by me and m'lady. She'd had a long day at work, and it was the day before her birthday, and I think it was spent quite nicely digging some groovy tunes.
Peace out; and in.