Thursday, July 05, 2007

Wapakoneta music fest

It was years ago when I first started my relationship with and love for Wapakoneta's roadhouse Rhythm & Brews. I was just getting into (the now unfortunately defunct) band Slobberbone, and I wanted to see them play live. I heard they put on a magnificent rock show, and, as I was starting to lose faith in rock and roll (corporate rock and reunion tours just sucked the life out of the music for me), I really wanted to be proven wrong, to find out that rock still mattered.

When I checked out the band's tour schedule, I saw that their only Ohio gig was in Wapakoneta. I had never heard of Wapakoneta. I had to break out a map to figure out where it was. When I saw that it was, essentially, in the middle of nowhere, my curiosity really was...made more curious.

I drug along the lovely spousal unit to the show, and it was amazing. Some quotes from a mailing list post on the night:

Rhythm and Brews in Wapakoneta was a much nicer place than I was girlfriend described it as "something out of Urban Cowboy"...minus the mechanical bull, however....

The crowd was also different than I was expecting...much more diverse. There were even balding 60 year olds there, and almost everyone knew all the words to all the songs.

Since that night, I managed to find my way back there several times. I saw Slobberbone on multiple occasions (including their farewell tour), I saw Two Cow Garage, I saw the Bottle Rockets, and I saw The Yayhoos (chronicled here). I always loved the bar. It is perhaps my favorite venue ever for live music. It is very intimate, they draw a wonderful crowd of enthusiastic fans, it sounds great, and, as an added bonus, they have good pizza.

This past Saturday, the spousal unit and I headed down to Wapak (as the locals call it) for Rhythm & Brews' tenth anniversary party. The show started at 7:30. We got to see:

  1. Nashville singer Stacie Collins was act number one. We saw her walking around the bar before the set started, and it was obvious that she was one of the performers...her sprayed on clothing, ridiculously high-heeled boots, cowboy hat, and arm warmers definitely marked her as "not civilian." As a performer, she was amazing. She was a great singer and a killer harmonica player. Her band included Georgia Satellites/Yayhoos alum Dan Baird and former Jason and the Scorchers guitar player Warner Hodges (and the Scorchers drummer as well). It was balls-out country/blues/rock.
  2. Next was the Yayhoos drummer's band, Terry Anderson and the Olympic Ass Kicking Team. Ultimately, good bar rock, but the wife didn't like Anderson's voice.
  3. Former Jason and the Scorchers singer Jason Ringenberg was third. He started out with a few solo acoustic songs, all very politically charged. One really cool one chronicled the life of a Tuskegee airman. He then played a song from one of the Cowboy Jason albums ("Punk Rock Skunk"), which is his kiddie music was fun.

    Then we got a full hour of a Jason & the Scorchers reunion. All I can say is, why in the hell didn't anyone turn me on to these guys when they were together and regularly putting out albums? They were amazing. It was the second set of Warner Hodges on lead guitar of the evening, and he might be one of my favorites I've seen in years.

  4. Next was Warner Hodges again, this time with his own band, The Disciples of Loud. They had a second guitar player who looked like an anorexic Dog the Bounty Hunter. This guitar player and their bassist were wearing matching zoot suits. They were very loud...almost painfully so. I actually considered going outside to give my poor ears a break.
  5. The Drams headlined. They were a little drunk, but when a band doesn't go on until 2:15, I guess you have to expect that. They were still good. We only got about 3 album songs, a few Slobberbone covers, two Neil Young songs, a decent amount of new material, lots of rambly speeches. They had the club owner join them on drums for "Powderfinger." We got "Robert Cole" as an encore song. It was beautiful.

When the evening was finally done at 3:45am, I stumbled to our car. I felt drained, blown out, thoroughly finished. It was a hell of a lot of rock and roll. It was very fun, probably the most fun I've had at a concert in ages.

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