Sunday, March 05, 2006

It Ain't Over Until the Drunk Lady Sings

I didn't realize the suburbs had so firmly infiltrated my DNA until my husband and I made an excursion into the Big City Friday night.

For the first time in...well...never, a relative volunteered to baby-sit our children overnight. The planets aligned when we found the band ike was playing at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia that evening. We had never seen them live but really enjoyed the songs they had posted on their myspace page.

Tin Angel is on the second floor of an Old City rowhouse -- the bottom floor is the restaurant Serrano -- and a dinner reservation at Serrano gives you a reserved table for the Tin Angel show. We were set.

Serrano is a sliver of a restaurant, but it's chocked full of atmosphere, with velvet curtains and warm dark walls. It's also chocked full of tables, and I believe I could have easily reached my fork across to the next table and sampled my neighbors' dinners. The temptation was resisted (even though their food did look rather yummy.)

In the suburbs you wouldn't find two separate parties seated at a 6-seat table. But here in the Big City, that's exactly where my husband and I found ourselves. At least it makes for easy eavesdropping...although I could have done without knowing quite so much about the ex-boyfriend of the 52-year-old (yes, she mentioned her age) woman on my husband's right. (Honey, after listening to an hour of your obsessive monologue, it was pretty apparent why he just wants to be friends.) My sympathies to her (female) dining companion who remained effectively mute throughout.

Eventually my husband and I made our way up the narrow staircase to the Tin Angel...and were pleasantly surprised to see our reserved table was second from the stage. A very tiny two-top which of course had four chairs squished around it.

We sat next to each other against the wall...wondering who would share our table. Luckily, it was not obsessive-monologue lady...but rather a gentleman and lady whose appearance somehow screamed out, "We have absolutely nothing in common with you."

I can't even put a finger on exactly why -- except to apologize for my superficiality – perhaps it was that they seemed older (although probably our age), overdressed and over-attituded.

“Hellos” were exchanged when they sat down and each couple then went on to ignore the other. At least mostly. At one point, the lady was momentarily abandoned by her escort. She looked over at us and said, "Well, I just can't sit here and not talk to you..." and nothing else. I kept waiting for her to say more...but no. Extremely awkward silence, which neither myself nor my husband felt like breaking. Hey, I have a hard time having a conversation with strangers that appear interesting, let alone ones who don’t. (Lest you judge me as overly harsh, she was probably thinking the same thing about us.)

Opening act was McGowan -- talented guy, enjoyed his performance. His set held our attention throughout. Except when a table of extremely loud ladies nearby drowned out his singing. There seemed to be much imbibing going on at their table, which was commendable if only for the difficulty of getting drinks from the crowded bar.

Imagine my surprise after McGowan's set when he went out and greeted someone at that table. That made it even more astonishing that those women had been be so rude during his performance. (If you don't want to pay attention to a performer, go back and stand by the bar -- don't disrupt it for those of us who do.)

Ike rocked! Consider that they didn't come on until about midnight and we were still riveted. Hooky power-pop/rock. The kind of stuff that gets stuck in your brain (but not in a Living the Vida Loca kind of way. Damn, just typing that will have Ricky Martin in the head for the rest of the morning.)

Not to detract from the rest of the stellar band (a chick on bass -- excellent!) but lead singer John Faye (formerly of the Caulfields)writes all the songs and he's got an expressive voice that at times reminds me of Jon Brion.

Please check out Ike's page and listen to their music if you're not familiar.

Ah, yes, the drunken lady of the title...

At one point, a blond woman of noisy-table-fame decides she is going to join IKE on the postage stamp sized stage. John turns to her and says something along the line of, "And who are YOU?" Undeterred, she then proceeds to do the "bump" with John as he seems to mentally conjure up a force field in an effort to ignore her.

Eventually, a Tin Angel employee (female) comes up and talks the lady off the stage. But never fear, a song or two later she has hopped back up again. This time, maybe even drunker. She looks like she wants to sing along with John and again he does his best to pretend she is invisible.

Thankfully, a big burly bouncer type comes up sweeps the lady up and over his shoulder and whisks her offstage.

The show wraps up with McGowan joining IKE for a rousing cover of "Fat Bottomed Girls."

We buy two Ike cds (Parallel Universe and In Real Life) shake John's hand and rush back through the frigid Philly cold to the parking garage.

It is 2 AM.

In the parking garage elevator, we encounter yet another drunk (though very pleasant) lady who asks us how our dinner was and departs the elevator with a lively, "nice meetin' you."

And such is life in the Big City.


At March 11, 2006 3:05 PM, Blogger Merujo said...

Brilliant story. Made me laugh because I swear that could have been one of my nights out, complete with stage-happy drunk!

Glad you guys got out for what sounds like a pretty good night of music. There are several bands coming through DC that I'd like to hear, but my car repair bill last month has made me start an "austerity campaign"...


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