Jae and I try like hell to have date night every Saturday night. We go through phases where we are creative about what we do on date night, and we also get in a rut, usually the dinner-and-a-movie rut. This week Jae told me she was taking care of date night, I just needed to be ready to leave work a half hour early. She was obviously excited. Since it was a surprise, I assumed it was something I was going to like, so I was excited, also.
She picked me up with a car full of the smell of Rudy's barbecue. Rudy's is good stuff. We drove to what seemed a random spot in a residential part of downtown Albuquerque, and she pulled to the curb, got a cooler of beer out of the trunk, and said, "Let's eat." So we had this picnic, on the curb, odd. I was still in the dark. I remained in the dark until Jae looked and the street and said, "Ah, well ...."
I followed her gaze, and down the block several people were unloading instruments from a car. I looked at her.
"House concert?" I asked.
Yep, it was a house concert. My understanding is that house concerts range from 20 people or so in a living room and the band playing with no amplification, up to something more like we attended. It was an old house, about the age of ours, definitely built before WWII. The kitchen and 2 bathrooms and a little dining room off the kitchen were intact, but the living room and bedrooms had been gutted to create one large room. Hardwood floors, exposed brick walls.
Including people on the front porch, in the back yard, and in the room, I guess there were somewhere between 60 and 80 people at the peak. It was relaxed, it was cozy, it was a ball. There were a few snacks for sale in the kitchen, but folks brought their own libations of choice. We had the beer Jae brought, lots of people were passing bottles of wine. Folks wondered in and out of the back yard to smoke or chat. Fun, fun.
The music was good, too. They weren't the most incredible musicians I've seen, but they did their thing fine, and in that setting just about anything would have been good. Local folks. The opening band was a pretty new group, and they were green. But they could play, they had an acoustic base, and the singer had a sweet voice. She was bashful, which was charming. I believe they were the Minnie Gonzales band. Supposedly you can find them on Myspace, but I haven't had any luck.
The main attraction was Cole Mitchell. Jae had heard a sample of his music before she decided to take me, and she thought it sounded like my kind of thing. It was, though, though its not her style. She much preferred Minnie. Anyway, you could call him roots music, or alt.country, or something. Done this kind of thing a lot, was comfortably up there and obviously enjoying himself.
There was a guest star appearance. Though I admit I had only heard his name a few times and never his music, Eric McFadden was a big deal for the folks there who knew. Another New Mexican, he's apparently made a little name for himself in the world. He dropped by the show for a bit and got asked to play. He played guitar on one of Cole's songs, and he sure enough could play.
I had a goofy grin on my face all night, and Jae and I were like infatuated kids. She did this for me, and it was excellent. She's the best.
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