The ABCs & Gs – Arcadia, Blues & Guitar Jack

It’s been a crappy week.  I only say this so you know that I’ve had a crappy week.

How does that impact you?  I don’t know.  Hopefully I’ll keep all the angst and anguish out of this piece… but then again, what tempers and tones the best writing, is allowing those very things to seep in and color your prose.

Wow.  Did I just say that?  Without going all therapy on you, and opening my heart and bleeding all over the stage, let’s just say that I have had a few disappointments… some life stuff… some friend stuff… I saw people’s true colors and realized that a sea change lies ahead.  It’s gonna be a bumpy ride, but I can already see the light at the end of the prism… Yes, that means a rainbow… Was trying not to be so cliché…

So… before I purge any more let’s move on to why we are all here… the music… or a discussion thereof.

Thought I was going to be seeing Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett at the Hollywood Bowl last night.  Didn’t quite work out… and yes, that was one of my disappointments for the week.  I actually drove to the shuttle lot and contemplated going up by myself, without a ticket, but really… the Hollywood Bowl by yourself?  Kind of depressing.  I had thoughts of charming my way into someone’s box… maybe one of their friends no-showed or had to cancel and they would feel sorry for me… offering up a free ticket, fantastic food and wine, and dazzling conversation.  I’d make new, life-long friends who would hire me for gigs and take me on trips in private planes and yachts… but then I woke up… and the reality of sitting up in the cheap seats all the way to the top… my ass sore from the old wooden benches… and me, alone… surrounded by those with picnic baskets, lovers and friends… just did not feel right.

Oops… more purging.  Sorry, but I did kind of warn you.

I sat in that lot for a while… My brain is on such overload I cannot make the simplest decision lately.  I flipped a coin… best out of three… which told me to leave the Bowl and go to the Arcadia Blues Club… I even called my friend Denise, whose beau is Guitar Jack… Where is the venue?  What time is he on?  Who’s coming?  What should I do?

She is always a great, sympathetic ear, but I could hear her eyes rolling just a bit.  “You over-think things,” she said.  And she is right… but I reminded her that I was Jewish and that was my plight… I am a slightly less neurotic version of Woody Allen… But I do over-think…

Darn it, I do!  On the other hand… if I had not sat there as long as I did, I would not have realized that they were kind of stacking me in, which they are not supposed to do in that lot… So if I had decided to come back to the lot, after going up to the Bowl and NOT getting tickets… or the right tickets at the right price, I would have been screwed…

I got back in the car… had someone help squeeze me out of my spot and hit the road, Jack… 101… 134… 210…

All east… but for the record… and Apple take note if you are reading this… almost EVERY SINGLE TIME Siri says something is West, she means East… all the time… Now I just know to do the opposite of what she says, compass wise, but that is kind of awful… Steve Jobs may in fact be rolling.

E. Huntington in Arcadia is an interesting little strip… I passed a place called Young Dong… Sorry, but yes, I am nine years old… It made me laugh out loud, and reminded me of the place in NYC’s Chinatown called Hung Fat… Think that one is long gone, though…

I found a spot right in front of the Arcadia Blues Club and was surprised that it was almost like a storefront.  But that is also part of its charm.  I walked in to find a smaller version of the Kingston Mines in Chicago… meaning two stages, so that there is never a real break between sets.  The house band went on at 8, and they were a lot of fun… especially when Reverend Tom took the stage.  First off, the man can sing… and second, he can dance.  I was a bit jealous of his moves on the dance floor and realized I REALLY need to take some lessons… Just to get some basic swing moves down.  Moving a woman across a dance floor is about the sexiest thing I have ever seen… and makes for a nice bit of foreplay, I must say.

Down the street is another cool, very small bar called First Cabin.  I only got to see two songs by local legend Pat O’Brien, but will most definitely be back to see this guitar playing, harmonica blowing, rock and blues singer.  Fun stuff.

But I was here to see Guitar Jack Wargo live for the first time.  I have heard him recorded… seen him on videos and knew I was in for a treat, but seeing him right in front of me put it all in perspective.  To say he is the real deal… is well… a damn good way to say it.  He is!!!  The man feels the music in his body… it pulses through and into his fingers… and then he lets them loose, to fly all over that guitar… and yes, it sings and talks and wails and plays rock and blues that will kick you in your ass.  He is amazing… does some stuff I could not even contemplate… like when his right hand moves to the top of the neck and starts twisting on the strings while his left hand continues to pop and tap and dance… He gets some beats and rhythms that are off the proverbial music charts… and he plays the kind of blues I used to get in Chicago… and really miss.  With him was Jay Singh on drums and Ricky Rat on bass and some vocals.  These guys were loving what they were doing… Watching each other play.. smiling… laughing… having fun… and playing the shit out of the music.  This is what live music is all about… And that joy is infectious.  We all loved the ride.  At the end of the night Birthday boy Matt Bragg came up and sat in on three tunes, slapping and moving that bass with quite a funk .  Damn!

The clock struck twelve as I wandered back out onto E. Huntington, got in my dirty car, and made the lonely ride home.  But there is something about the blues that gives you comfort… something about rock that cradles you… and Guitar Jack’s axe grinding out some killer tunes… Jimi HendrixClapton and the like was exactly what I needed.  That and a nice cold beer was my medicine for the night.  Amen.

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Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Live Music Reviews, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything

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