Thursday, October 02, 2014

Music at the rail

Andrew Camp in green, Joel Levi in white
This past Sunday night we took in our first experience at The Brass Rail in Fort Wayne. The reason: Joel Levi's band. Joel and Andrew (lead guitarist) did the music at daughter Carrie's wedding, and were/are good friends of son Isaac. They also both played at the pavilion at our old church. They are now living out of Nashville, TN and just released their first album (Rangeline - it is fantastic, btw). So even though it made for a late Sunday night, and I almost OD'd on nicotine, I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

We have driven by The Brass Rail many times. It has a unique bike rack out front, and used to be known as somewhat of a "druggie bar." I don't think it is so much anymore. It especially wasn't on this night at least. I believe since they've started bringing in so many good bands from out of town it has likely changed quite a bit. And it is an awesome punk/indie venue. I am glad we went. They have great sound, a nice bar, and even though it's a bit small, it just makes for a very cool little place to listen to music and drink beer (or other beverages).

On the night we were there, there were a couple older guys that had obviously been there a bit too long. The idiots kept trying to get Carrie to take her shirt off (from across the bar). We just ignored them and the bartender finally told them to leave. Otherwise it was a pretty young crowd. Mostly hipsters and 20/30-ish folk. Everyone was very nice and polite. Not at all the rough and tumble place I had heard previously.

And the music... was awesome. There were actually 4 bands on this night, and they were all four very good. Festivities started a little after 9 pm. I think it started with a Chicago band called The Wild Family, followed by Oh My Love. I may have switched the names, but I really liked both of these groups. I also liked that they all hung around after they were done playing and listened to the remaining two bands.

Joel Levi (the band, and the guy) played way too short of a set in my opinion, but they rocked. It was great to sing along with the songs on their new album. The best part was definitely when they did a rousing rendition of Into The Mystic by Van Morrison though. This was the song Joel and Andrew did as I walked Carrie down the aisle at her wedding. They now include it in their show. It was fantastic. I loved seeing these guys - both perform, and just talking with them. Great guys!

The headliner of the night was James & the Drifters. I had heard of this band but had no idea who they were. Shoot, I even knew a couple of the guys. They used to be ASQ (Andy Sherer Quartet). In fact, Andy actually remembered who I was as we passed each other in the doorway. And there's a funny little story. Andy used to be a student, and then a teacher, at this little music store where son Isaac took guitar lessons years ago. That's where I met him. I asked what he'd been up to, and it turns out he went to the very same seminary son Isaac is now attending in Atlanta!!! Weird. So we chatted briefly, and JTD did a fine set of music too. It was a blast.

I remember at one point just looking over the crowd thinking to myself, "This is my happy spot." I love listening to live music where everyone is having a good time. Little did I know that I was about to be in for a very long night. I was wearing the nicotine patch, and didn't think about it when I bummed the first cigarette off of someone. Like a complete idiot, I didn't think of it as I bummed about 8 or 9 more either. I don't remember what Dr. John said it did to me, but whatever it's called... don't EVER do that! I was sicker than I may have ever been in my life. I lay on the bathroom floor for quite awhile that night. Ugh. I was worthless the entire next day too. The only bright spot is that since then - I haven't even needed to wear the patch. I may have cured myself from ever wanting a cigarette again. Whew, that was nasty.

Otherwise, it was a very fine night. I believe a good time was had by all. Thank you, Brass Rail, and Joel Levi and band, and James and the Drifters, and the other two bands. Special thanks to my lovely wife and daughter though. It was a good night.