I should start by telling you where I ended up closing out the weekend, last week. I stopped in to see the last band scheduled to perform at Mickey Milligan’s on Trent Road in New Bern. That band was The Bears and Sunday, July 17, 2016 marked the first time this band had the opportunity to play this venue, and they would also serve as the last band on the books, as well. It seems the bar is taking a break from the live music scene.
Bass player and backing vocal, Simon Spalding invited me not long after the date was booked. The crowd enjoyed finger foods and delicious baked goods prepared by singer, Janet Montero and grooved along to all the classics familiar from decades ago. Rounding out the rest of this band is PJ Engerman on drums and vocals and Steve Latimer on guitar and vocals. This is a fun band that includes props for audience participation and plays a round of trivia after break and before grooving again.
To be honest, they are not really a typicl bar band. I see them more as a party and community band. They offer everything from the 50’s doo wop to 60’s surf music, classic rock from great American singers as well as covering the British Invasion. They give up a familiar set list that would lend great fun to backyard bbq’s, weddings, graduations, anniversaries. Also a great pick for community events. To keep up with their dates and news, check out their website.
Jumping through the week, I spent most of my nights compiling the regional rundown but I made up for not going out once Friday, July 22, 2016 rolled to town.
I stopped in The Brown Pelican early in the evening to meet up with my partner in crime, Crystal Odham. We checked out a set from Matt Riddle while we mapped out our evening plans.
Riddle was a great welcome to the end of the work week and the people were enjoying his early evening show.
Next up, we walked around the corner and checked out the Open Mic event that happens every other Friday at Sweet Peas Cafe. We were able to stay there just long enough to enjoy the fun created by two of my favorite resident players here in the Bern. Gabrielle Christie hosts the jam and when we walked in she was paired up with James Ford singing everything from ballads to rap! What a great effort !
Following their fun set we strolled over to the theater to meet up with my mother and her friend, Myra. RiverTowne Players is putting on a fantastic version of the musical Working. They worked hard bringing this production to the stage. This production was produced by Terry Daniels and Lori Farve and Directed by local jazz crooner, John Van Dyke. This show is one that reaches from the stage and touches anyone who has ever held a job.
Based on a collection of interviews put together by a journalist, Working targeted everyone from entry level cashiers to high profile executives but showed the common ties we all share in living as we work.
I enjoyed this musical, thought the actors did great and was glad to be in the audience for opening night. There are several performances scheduled for the week ahead, including matinee on Sunday. It is cheaper to buy your tickets early, so stop in town while you shop or order your tickets online today. The final shows will be on August 5 & 6.
Music for the production was directed by Brandon Banks and personally I enjoyed the band. I know you’re like WOW!
After the performance we scooted back over to The Brown Pelican to check out Bob Laverty who brought his rock, pop, country and blues show to the Bern. We enjoyed quite a few of his selections. My favorite on the night was “Don’t Look Back,” an old Temptations tune brought to my life courtesy of Mick Jagger and Peter Tosh in 1982.
It is always nice to finally meet the names you have been typing for several weeks. I enjoyed Laverty’s show and being diverse in his selections makes him a great solo act for any venue. His songs are familiar and his style makes you want to boogie. I also appreciated the shout out for my blog. Together we are gonna keep the fans informed.
To keep up with his life and music career, send him a friend request on Facebook
Since we did not get enough walking in on the night, we took another jaunt up Middle Street only to catch the last song from Aaron Davenport at the Thirsty Bruin. By all accounts, it looked like he had a good night with his crowd.
Finishing up the night we finally hopped in our cars and headed across the bridge to James City where we enjoyed the final set of The Wannabees live at Triple Play Restaurant. They had the crowd rockin’ and rollin’! How nice that I showed up in time for a Rolling Stones montage that included my all time favorite…Honky Tonk Women.
These guys are seasoned rockers that always add a fresh spin on classic rock. They are great at reviving songs from the British Invasion. I always enjoy my time out with these guys. To keep up with their dates and news, like them on Facebook
Saturday, July 23, 2016, I started out at Harley Davidson of New Bern where Steel Shot helped them celebrate their annual Summer Bike Bash. This annual open house event is a way to say thanks and offer great deals on bikes, parts, riding accessories and clothes. Patrons enjoyed live music and a free lunch served by owner Jimmie Allen who is celebrating his birthday today! Happy Birthday Jimmie! Thanks for keeping our community rocking!
Following that late morning adventure I decided to go on a little road trip in search of a new blues fix. I was told by a little drummer boy that Bobby Messano would be playing in Durham, and since it had been a very long while since I covered a show with my friend Dave Hollingsworth on drums, I decided 20 years was probably long enough. Time for a hug!
What a great night and a wonderful show at The Blue Note Grill located at 709 Washington St., Durham, NC.
Messano is pretty well known to the national blues scene with several recordings earning Grammy nominations. He has played with many greats and can cover some heavy hitters very well too. During his solo acoustic opening he covered his own original ballots and ended the set with a slamming acoustic version of Rude Mood. I was pretty much torn between wanting to film and wanting to boogie…you might note that in the video:
Messano’s rhythm section was solid featuring Hollingsworth on drums and Ed Canovan on bass. I learned it was about nine months since the trio jammed together, but as an observer, I would have never known without that info being shared in conversation the next morning. The trio all hail from NY/NJ/PA and all are familiar names to me from shows I covered long ago.
To keep up with Bobby and his endeavors check out his website: Bobby Messano
I have to mention that that my highlight week came when I met two couples in the audience on Saturday evening that came out to the show due to my blog.
Nothing makes the work seem more important than knowing that my efforts are helping people get out to support live music. I do this as an advocacy for the players. It is a hard way to make a living, choosing the way of a musician. Most times it is a path that chooses them. I have met a solid bunch of dedicated workers along my way on the music scene. They all have their own stories and I think each one should be told. I am happiest when I get to dance to their rhythms and sum up their shows with my own words.
Life is far too short, so be like Uncle and enjoy the dance!
I’ll be back in just a couple days with your regional rundown. Be sure to send me your dates today. That email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading. Please share with your friends! You all rock so I roll!