Amid a great show, there’s always a certain point where I lose focus. The point usually happens, real late, in the concert. What I’m seeing gets blurry. I feel zoomed in, unable to capture the whole stage. The sound, I can’t keep up with it, can’t remember at that moment what song’s playing. Numb for an instant, I realize: I am inside the music.
It sounds crazy, I know. It is crazy. But there I am, hotfooting on the guitar pickups or sucked inside that gold trumpet bell, and there are alternating flashes of light and dark, and the noise clearly surrounds me, traps me. The feeling bothers me deeply for a split of its second. The show is almost over! Pay attention! Soon the night is over and there’s no more music! But then I step back, in the other split of the second, and like it. The music has taken me here, and I am thankful.
That moment happened last night at the Black Cat when Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears were playing Sugarfoot in the encores. I think I was in Joe’s guitar this time. I shook myself out of it in time for the closer, a massive Please Pt. Two, which is basically what James Brown would’ve done if he couldn’t dance but could play the guitar.
Other highlights: Of the new songs, Booty City was an automatic win and the break on Mustang Ranch was a flat-out Texas killer. (See the song from earlier this month, without the break. Now imagine another three minutes of these riffs, wordless and only getting louder.) What else… the Jameson-swigging guitarist coming off stage and jamming right in between me and friend Meghan down front. The sax-meets-tambourine Honeybear going absolutely nuts, bouncing up and down to shake that tambourine. The drummer pounding so hard his glasses finally fell off his face. Honeybear horns, blasting as a meshed force of nature. The bass guitarist’s concern for how loud his rumble feedback could go. Joe smiling in the middle of the chaos, like, “I love my job.”
And the opening Those Darlins, also a very good time. They can rip it.
Post from the Black Joe Lewis show about a year ago at Rock and Roll Hotel: Syncopation is the opposite of math. Big thanks to Meghan for introducing me to such a good band. Everyone else, come next time.