Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Musical Monday: Concert!

Having a dog comes with many benefits. The downside? They get old.

Our pup is twelve this year, and as she gets older, she gets more neurotic and definitely more entitled. This morning she woke me up at ten past five so I could take her out. But what I think she most wanted was water. We came back in from the walk and she drank one and a half bowls.

I can’t blame her. It was mid- to upper-80s the last two days. We keep her in our bedroom at night and can’t let her roam free because a) she’d get her butt kicked by the cat; and b) she’d eat all the cat’s food, and c) she’d eat out of the bathroom garbage. So she stays in our bedroom at night. I’d consider putting a water bowl in our bedroom so she can drink at will, but she’s such a sloppy drinker I fear waking up in the morning would be like getting out of bed on the Titanic.

So I’m up and it’s now 5:45 and it’s not a work day and it would be nice to sleep in, but on the bright side, maybe I can get some writing done. I have an article for the local paper I need to finish (so much for not working on a holiday, hah ha), and maybe, just maybe, I can start on a new fiction project (yes, that’s right, my current project is once again off in Carrie’s hands; wish me luck!).

This weekend, the wife and I trucked ourselves out to the local brewery (err, wait, we now have at least three breweries in county, along with half-a-dozen wineries and a distillery, so we’re fast becoming the cirrhosis capital of New York) for a concert headlined by Lake Street Dive, with Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings as the opener. What a night!

We had high 80s all day, clear skies and a broiling sun. The forecast called for possible thunderstorms, but we saw nothing but a little puff cloud here and there. After the sun went down, things cooled, but nicely (we were there for a show seven or eight years back where it was drizzly and cold, thus miserable). It was only at the end of the night that a sweatshirt was needed. Anyway, we arrived around six, set up our chairs, got some beers, and ran into a friend of ours. I stood in a long line for a couple of burritos from a food truck, and pretty much when I got back to my chair, the show started, right at seven.

The venue is all lawn, general admission. There’s an arc between the soundboard and stage that is a no-chair zone; beyond that, you can set up chairs anywhere you like. We aimed for just off center (so as not to be blocked by the tent covering the soundboard) a couple hundred feet back. It actually felt closer than the picture indicates.

Sharon Jones is the tiny red dot in the center of the stage

That glaring sun you see is the only drawback. When we arrived, the sun was almost directly over the stage, so we were looking right into it through Sharon Jones’ set. Oh, the other drawback is the guy sitting in front of us had turned his chair around because of the sun, so he was five feet away and kind of staring at me while I tried to eat a burrito. It was kind of weird.

Jones and the Dap-Kings were mighty impressive. I know a couple of their songs from the radio (“100 Days, 100 Nights” and “Stranger to My Happiness”) and really enjoyed the set. They’ve got a great, early 60s soul vibe, and as I said that night, it’s not a style of music I seek out, but I really like it when I hear it. Jones at 60 years old (!) has more energy than a lot of younger people. They played for an hour and a half, by which time the sun had gone down. A quick set change, and Lake Street Dive took the stage right at nine.

I’ve featured Lake Street Dive here on at least two occasions. What was funny is the friend we ran into had about the same experience with discovering this band as me: heard an album review on NPR, found a video of them singing on a Boston street, and went from there. In his case, he’d seen them four or five times before. This was my first.

Small band, big sound

They put on a fantastic show. What surprised me from what I knew of them was that they rocked harder than expected based on their studio releases, but it wasn’t in the way some bands do it, where they just kick up the tempo a few notches and add a bunch of “Now you sing along” type of stuff. They played loud, they played with energy, they played with passion, and they kept it flowing. And they did it without pyrotechnics, video screens, or a light show that needed its own nuclear plant to power it. Simple, but effective, where the band was the show. And they encored with this:

which was actually more impressive live than in the video.

What a night. How was your weekend?

Both photos by me; video by Lake Street Dive

7 Responses

  1. I never heard of either one of those bands. I tend to only go to concerts of bands I've actually heard about, because then I know what I'm getting for my money. Usually. Sometimes bands don't age well (i.e. Boston).

    It's been warm here, too, but this morning's walk was really nice, since the heat and humidity hadn't set in yet. I knew we'd go straight from cold weather to hot and sticky. Just doesn't seem fair, does it?

  2. -Stacy–For me, it's a bit hard to totally lose myself in music that's unfamiliar, and most of both bands' sets were unfamiliar. BUT they were good enough where it didn't matter that much. And yes, spring seems to be a thing of the past.
    -Sheena-kay–I find that "ordinary" is not necessarily a bad thing!

  3. Yay for getting your ms off to Carrie! I hope it doesn't need much more editing. Dogs are a lot of work. I don't need that much unconditional love or trouble. The concert sounds like fun!

  4. We've got four dogs and they're all young, but they're lazy. I get up at 5am to write while they're sleeping in the next room, but they don't usually want out until 7.

    Glad you enjoyed the concert! Outdoor gigs with the sun setting can be very atmospheric. Sometimes it's as much about that as the music.

  5. -Nick–My dog is kind of all over the place lately. If I don't get up early on a work day, she tends to wake me up. I think she can keep time, but has no concept of weekend!

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