Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Iguanas

I received an email from JR inviting me to see The Iguanas on Sunday January 30 at a tiny bar in New Haven called Cafe Nine . I'M IN!!!! Guess I'll have to dust off their two old CD's and play them.

I'll keep you posted. Nuevo Boogaloo!

Lots of miles on this group packed sardine-like into Cafe Nine Sunday evening for this hard-to-believe booking. Cafe Nine is long, narrow, quite small, located at the corner of State Street and Another Street with entrances at the State Street front end next to the stage/dartboard area and on the side, back near the (surprisingly clean)restrooms; bar along the inside wall from the front of the stage and tables along the outside wall and next to each of the wooden columns that line the center.

Doors opened at six for the seven o'clock show. No one there at six 'cept a few regulars so we got ourselves a column table about 30 feet from the stage. Nothing to do until tipoff, we look around. Neighborhood tavern. They go for the Bohemian thing here and don't have to work hard to pull it off. Everything kind of beat up, but the feel is very cool. JR came here a couple weeks ago and took in a poetry slam. Kerouac stares from the wall above the bar, next to a case of Hull's sitting atop a liquor shelf. They have an eclectic mix of entertainment, some Saturday afternoon jazz gives way to a traveling blues legend in the evening. Mental note to bring the gang down here some Saturday afternoon before going out to dinner.

I am confused, wondering if my sense of the Iguanas' stature is skewed. There should have been a long line waiting to get in! But by the second round of beers, I find my fears are unfounded. The crowd filters in. Mature, weathered, friendly, commonly-bound as ones in on the secret. By seven the place is packed.

The bandmembers are squeezing their way to the stage from somewhere in the back. I pass them on my way to the (surprisingly clean) restroom. A comment to not start until I get back gets a half-smirk. A few minutes of fiddling around with stuff and let's go!

Up on stage, the lineup shuffles into place: two grizzled veterans to the right share the singing, one playing guitar/accordian (if I only knew way back when how cool I could be with my squeezebox!), the other guitar/sax; two younger sax players to the left, the shorter one employing the Buddy Holly look, we would soon be told, is a special guest; rounding out the group is the rhythm section, bass and drums, who are mostly out of our view most of the time.

I own Neuvo Boogaloo and Sugar Town, so I recognize a reasonable chunk of the music. The crowd knows more of it, JR a bit less, but everyone is into it. At times we get a THREE sax thing going, which sounds like it would be redundant, but it works really well.

He drew tatoos for his friends
They'd sit around and get real stoned
And he fought with guys twice his size
So he wouldn't feel so alone
They said it was a shame
They loved him just the same
They shut him out
They said you had a mean streak in your heart

The show lasts for about an hour and a half, closing with a one song encore. Buddy Holly has been very good- who IS he? Lots of sax and accordion sounds bouncing off the walls. As good as advertised. Nice night in New Haven. A quick final stop at the (surprisingly clean) restroom and we're on our way home. JR pops Nuevo Boogaloo into the CD player...

He walked the street to the corner liquor store
Got some ciagarettes and wine and he backed out the door
It didn't work out quite like he thought it would
Now he's back page news down in the neighborhood

And it's boom boom boom
Boom boom boom
Boom boom all night long
Boom boom boom
Boom boom boom
Boom boom all night long

Alas, they didn't play 'My Girlfriend is a Waitress'!

Awaiting Peter M's report after he sees them at Johnny D's Wednesday (2/2/05) in Cambridge.
Update from PM: Show was fun. We ate, drank, danced, had fun. The extra sax player, Chris, is a guy who went to junior high with Derek, plays in bands in DC. They put on a good show, played two sets, but it started at 830....As usual, the place was full...less than on a thursday or friday, but still full.....seemed like everybody there were fans...Johnny D's gets good people......Johnny D's

Hartford Courant review

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