Being the caring environmentalists that we are, we decide to drive into the city, park near the Winery and meet the boys mid-afternoon for some Yankees-Sox before the show. The two-hour trip (Merritt/Hutch/West Side Hwy) is a breeze on a Saturday (light traffic and, geographically, all downhill). We arrive about 4, get our very special $35 parking rate (and assurances that we can retrieve our car after midnight), meet the boys on Varick in front of the venue. Perfect timing. Over to Bleeker to the Red Lion on an overcast, soon-to-be-rainy afternoon.
Celebrating its 25th historic year on Bleecker Street, the world famous Red Lion is still the destination location for New York City music royalty and tomorrows next big thing. Born in the Summer of Love, built on 80s rock, nested comfortably along side a multitude of other legendary night clubs such as the Village Gate, the Bottom Line, CBGBs and Wetlands, the Red Lion has navigated its way into 21st Century as one of the last true music venues.Quickly subtracting 25 years from 2011, I confirm that the Summer of Love was 1986. Or MAYBE Red wasn't on Bleecker in 1967. I'll leave that discussion to the historians. We grab a table over in the corner of the barroom (not close enough to the Yanks/Sox for The Reet). Just small pockets of people here and there entertained by a gravelly-voiced, acoustic guitar playing gent with a pretty, pretty good song catalog (nod to the Tom Waits selection). The food is faux-English Pub fare, so I order the Cod & Chips along with a Smithwicks from our over-the-top friendly, but underattentive server. Between our Wild Rover's sets, Amy Winehouse blasts out of the speakers, sparking a debate amongst us as to her true musical stature, I giving her elevated billing, while JK and G-Man are skeptical of her originality. Unresolved. Cool item in men's room: a wall full of old 45 rpm records behind a glass casing. If G-Man would send me his camera photo of it, I would post. It's approaching 7:30. Walk back to the corner of Spring & Varick for the eight o'clock show.
Cool place. Our table is sandwiched between two other tables for four, making The Reet a bit cranky, but it's all good. She orders a little pizza, but baffles our server with a no cheese request. Looking forward to the show. Besides Felice, TDATK consists of Bonnie 'Bird' Burke, Nowell 'The Deacon' Haskins and Simi Stone and added a soul element to the Felice Brothers' raucous country punk. They hit the stage- Simone in a tight wife-beater, showing off his ample arm tattoos, Simi in a short dress, big Afro (looking great), Bird in a trucker hat and a #87 Aeropostale shirt (not cool). Where's the Deacon???? Not sure. A lead guitar player, a drummer and a banjo player round out tonight's lineup. I think the people at the table in front of the stage won the free tickets contest because they are way too happy. Why didn't we win? What's up with that, Larry? Simone Felice is the (self-appointed?) star, taking lead vocals and strumming on acoustic guitar, flanked by Simi (violin) and the Birdman (bass). I'm waiting to be blown away, but I'm not quite. Entertaining. Best song of the night is Simi Stone's No Easy Way Out. Fabulous. Other highlights are Shaky, the Iraq war vet song that is my pick for the catchiest song of the Summer ("cause we were just babies, when the Jackson Five grew up so fast, baby, just come shake that country ass") and the soul/gospel Union Street. Some guy-guy kissing that got a bit distracting. Where's The Deacon (never answered)? For the encore, they tapped Neil Young's Helpless and Dylan's Knocking On Heaven's Door. Very good, but curious. Gotta close with your own stuff, no? Very good, not quite great, show.
Farewell to the Boys of Brooklyn and home by midnight.
G-Man forwards this clip of Simi's performance: