Sunday, February 27, 2005

Sweethearts of the Rodeo

Just got back from the Rock'n'Roll Rodeo hosted by Slo' Tom at Barrymore's. Scorching sets by South of 78 and Greenfield Main and a heavy, hardy finish by the Fiftymen. Each set was preceded by a musical intermission with Slo' Tom (a.k.a. Tom Stewart of Furnaceface) singing a few songs in tribute to rusted out cars, love gone bad, and Joyceville Penitentiary.
But I'm getting ahead of myself - when I came in, South of 78 had begun their set. I snapped a few pictures, then went to check my camera speed and realized I'd mucked up a good quarter of the roll. Oops.

There were a few salvageable pictures of Bryan Curry and Johnny Nash.
This one of Bryan isn't sfumato because of any flash bouncing - they have a smoke machine at Barrymore's and were giving it a workout.

The red lights were in full effect too.

It was a hot set - "Hotter than ever before," as Jon Bartlett said. J.J. Hardill of The Fiftymen called South of 78 his top band to watch; no argument here. Then Slo' Tom came up for the first intermission, leading to the one decent picture from the three rolls of film I shot that night.

Rey Sabatin assisted on mandolin, and Scott Terry from South of 78 added some banjo.
Here's Slo' Tom, Rey and Scott ...

Slo' Tom sang "Great Small Game Rifles," a song he wrote for Greenfield Main's debut album, and the band marched on stage to join in, then segue into the rest of their set, giving me yet another opportunity to foul up my pictures. On this night I innovated by winding my film backward, leading to odd striations on almost every picture in the roll. Sigh.

Here's John F. Higney Jr., the excellent guitarist (six-string and pedal steel) for both the Main and London's Two Minute Miracles. He also teaches music at Songbird Music (but not, unfortunately, at any time I could make it to a lesson).

Speaking of Jon, here he is with drummer John Lomow.

Rolf Klausener rounds out the Greenfield team.

Then Slo' Tom stepped in for another intermission, which included a duet with Casey Comeau, adequately captured in this slightly wrinkled photo.

Then Barrymore's stagemaster turned the lights up from "bake" to "grill" for The Fiftymen's set, causing a whole new set of problems picture wise, and lending a somewhat Mephistophelean air to several pictures, such as this one of guitarist Todd Gibbon ("Take one of him, he has good facial expressions!" one woman in the audience told me. Okay then, say no more!) and violinist and banjoist Keith Snyder.

Speaking of unsolicited photographic advice, another woman in the audience told me I should try to take a group picture ... trust me, on a stage as large as Barrymore's that only works with The Silverhearts from Peterborough, because there's 12 of them.

Ahem. Back to the Fiftymen; here's guitarist Mark Michaud and bassist Michael Houston Hanlan - who is also sound man at Zaphod's, producer of The Double Pumpers "II" and bassist for Jim Bryson's backup group The Occasionals.

On vocals, here's J.J. Hardill, singing with the flat baritone of a highway patrolman who just came by to tell you your immediate family was squashed between two 18-wheelers on Highway 7. Taking the station wagon back from a church picnic, they was. He's the kind of singer who makes anyone else singing the songs sound wrong, even though he doesn't have anything like a golden throat himself.

With that I leave you with the fond wish that the undeveloped Fiftymen pictures on the roll in my camera turn out nicer.

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