Last night was one of those nights when the gods and goddesses were not going to allow me to simply stay at home and watch TV or or aimlessly browse the Internet. No. I had to be out, it seems, and I was getting it from all quarters.
First, it’s starts with a call from DT on Sunday, asking me if I was interested in seeing Ashtray Heart at Barfly on Tuesday. Well, I said, as much as I’d like to I don’t see how I can. Then yesterday morning I get an email from my pal Allan reminding me that the Bellrays were playing at La Sala Rosa and he’s got my ticket. Great! Can’t say no to that, can I? So I figure I’ll just meet up with him at La Sala and skip the usual pre-show Barfly meetup, even though the Habs are playing Boston and Habs games at Barfly are a hoot. Then KB calls me while I’m out in the afternoon and leaves me a message….she’s back in town and will be at the Barfly around 8:00 and would like to see me there. This was a no-brainer and settled the matter. I’d have to go to Barfly after all, broke or not. As if that weren’t enough, at about 7:45 I get a call from….BARFLY. Geoff calling to telling me to get my ass over there and catch the game!
I get to Barfly at the beginning of the second period and there’s the usual Habs hockey night atmosphere. Every seat is practically taken and there’s this constant buzz about the place. After saying my hellos to regulars I haven’t seen in what seems like ages, I spot KB at the bar and get the mandatory hugs and pecks on each cheek and the usual warm greetings, and then inquire about the score. 2-0 Boston. No problem, I say, we’re going to win this anyway. I managed to get a seat by the bar and have a good chat with KB while watching a pretty good hockey game. The atmosphere at Barfly while watching the Habs is second to none. The place is usually full but not packed, and there’s always Barkley, a dog who barks every time the Habs score, matching the exuberance of the patrons. It felt good to be there last night. There were friends everywhere and everyone was in a good mood.
At about 11:00 we made our way up the Main to the Sala in a taxi, thinking we might be missing part of the show. We turned out to be early, just catching the end of the opening act’s set. The Bellrays came on a little after 11:30 and started rather slowly, seemingly taking a little while to warm up. Once they got going it was clear that most of us would be in for a treat. I read somewhere that the Bellrays are like Aretha Franklin singing for the MC5 or the Ramones. I’d say it’s unfair to make comparisons with Aretha Franklin, but will say they are true to the slogan on their T-Shirts: “Soul is the teacher, punk is the preacher”. While you can definitely hear the influences of the MC5, the Ramones, and even Black Flag, they’re also pretty funky. I found the sound a little off at times, and found myself wanting everything to be a little louder, especially Lisa Kekaula’s voice. It was a fantastic show, and while I think they’ve probably been better (judging by what others have said), I look forward to seeing them again with better sound.
A great night!