Monday, September 28, 2009

Motormouse, and other musical treats

I reckon I've heard more live music in the last seven weeks than the preceding seven years. This, dear readers, is a Very Good Thing.

The highlight, of course, was the utterly surreal Motörmouse gig a couple of weeks ago. We got back from honeymoon to discover an excited tweet from someone saying that Motorhead were playing at the House of Blues in a couple of days' time. Anna, it turned out, had never seen them, so I immediately demanded we get tickets. They were supported by the Reverend Horton Heat, who I know only from Psychobilly Freakout on Guitar Hero 2. Strange mix, but never mind.

It wasn't until we got to the House of Blues that I realised we were actually in Walt Disney World. Motorhead. Disney. Motorhead. Disney. Does not compute. Let me just quote Lemmy as he walked on stage: "Hello, Orlando, we are Motorhead, and this is Disney. Fuckin' hell."

It was bloody good fun though. We drank nasty overpriced Pabst beer, Rev HH were fantastic, Motorhead were bloody loud, and I got to feel really old when Lemmy introduced tracks off Another Perfect Day with "we wrote this before most of you were even born." Still, I still can't quite accept that I saw Motorhead play Disney. It's just wrong. I only know it really happened because Vaughn took pictures.

Aside: last Friday we saw It Might Get Loud at the Enzian, which features a clip of Jimmy Page playing air guitar. That's another reality check right there. If you're a guitarist, you have to see that movie.

However, most of what we've been seeing have been amateur blues bands. There's a regular Tuesday night blues jam at the Island Oasis, and another at the Alley in Sanford on Thursdays. They're both small dive bars, but they serve cheap beer and awesome blues. And I do mean awesome. I've never, ever heard a blues band in England that could even come close to what these guys do. There's a hard core of about a dozen of them that do both, and then some people go to one or the other, and they just get up and play.

The mix is so varied it's incredible. We saw a sax player who must have been 70, up on stage with a kid who probably wasn't old enough to be drinking coffee, let alone beer. There are a couple of ladies there who have voices that'll rip your heart out from a hundred paces without a microphone. There are guitar players to make you weep with envy, and they play just about every style you can think of. We've heard Lynyrd Skynyrd style Southern rock, we've heard Mississipi delta blues, we've heard Clapton, you name it, we've heard it.

Down here, these guys have the blues in their blood. They're born to it. I'm just itching to get hold of a guitar and get on the stage with them, even though I know I'm never going to be as good as the teenagers, let alone the guys who've been playing since before I was born. It's a wonderful, amazing experience. If you fancy yourself as a blues player, get your butt over here, and come listen to this. They're a really welcoming bunch, and if you bring an instrument, or you're prepared to take the mic, they'll be only to happy for you to join in.

We've also managed to catch a bunch of other bands in bars all around the place. Wherever you go, there's music, and they're all fun. and mostly they're pretty damn good.

In the Copper Rocket the other night, there was a band called Vanda, who started off OK, but once they got into the swing of it, they ended up as a sort of country rock B-52s. In another bar in Sanford, we caught a one-man show, and in my favourite bar in the world, Stogies, in St Augustine, there were two brothers with guitars who were marvelously entertaining.

Hmm, I've just realised that makes it sound like all we do is go to bars. That's not true. We do go to other places as well. For example, for a complete change of pace, we saw a Polynesian dance troupe at the Science Center who demonstrated music and dance from several different islands.

I like this America place. I reckon it's got a lot going for it.

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