Sunday, October 21, 2007

Matt the Electrician, The Crepe Place Santa Cruz, CA, October 16, 2007

I took myself out on a date last night. A completely ridiculous splurging evening of music, dinner and drinks to break the blahs was definitely past due. Matt the Electrician (and yes, he is really a licensed Electrician) was in town last night, scheduled to play on the new patio stage at the Crepe Place. He has been one of my most favorite Austin musicians since I finally caved and saw him at The Attic last March, (the unfortunate camera fall), and I've anticipated seeing him again since the double shot in May. When I went to buy my ticket during lunch yesterday, I met one of the new owners and got my first look at the refinished bar, then cheered his music selection for the next month, sharing my high approval of the chalk on the board. (Matt twice and then Michael Fracasso?) Not only was I blown away at the immediate warm interaction, which in my opinion tends to be lacking in most hospitality people in SC, but he remembered my name and checked in with me all night, thanking me for coming about five times on my way out. He left an incredible impression on me, and added to the value of the whole experience. (And since I spent all day bragging about how great last night was, I am sure was part of the plan.)

Unfortunately, as Santa Cruz is known to do, we got dark and cloudy and wet and not outside friendly, so the show was reconvened inside. We all crammed into the front room around a few tables and watched the water splash off the neon lit window behind the musicians, who performed like professionals without monitors and mics scooted up to their guitars. It was quaint and cozy and the warmth of the room shined through the cold outside. I hadn't been there for dinner in years, and the food was excellent, far overreaching my expectations or memories. I packed my stomach with serious yumminess mixed with vodka cocktails. They get the "Sin" stamp of approval on their vodka selection. Thumbs up. Hangar One is an instant point grabber for any bar, but a rarity for a small venue and usually in place of the rest of the so-called "Top Shelf" crew of bottles which I generally find far inferior - Grey Goose, Belvedere, and Ketel One. This place had it as part of a flowing diversity in their bar, which was only one element of the incredible lively vibe they seemed to nail just right. As the night went on and people packed in for the bar, not the show, it started occurring to me that the walls around me were equally as pleasing as the hometown favorite Red, and with a live music draw, may just win my business as a new favorite.

IMG_7407 Matt & Dennis @ The Crepe Place, Santa Cruz

A great duo opened the show, Matt & Dennis from the North Bay, with a definite folky bluegrass tone. They were friendly and funny, which I am noticing tends to follow in the singer-songwriter genre and, after a quick 45 minutes, they set sat down to enjoy Matt and the band. I even made a friend, the photographer friend of the openers. Being a single at a table for 3 in a packed dining room with the best eye line for photographs, you kinda give a bit, and in the end found someone with more weird similarities to myself than is easy to list in this summary. He introduced himself to me and the guys and we chatted a bit during breaks about the Saxon Pub, Missouri and what a small world it is that we know a ton of the same people. In the ever shrinking land of this type of music, it's hard to go far and not find someone who knows "Bob" or "Billy" but Jerry Hannon and Megan Slankard, not so much. He had a nice camera and I had, well, mine, and so I just drooled as he shot away. Why must I be so damn shy and tentative? I almost didn't, but at the end of the evening, I gave him my business card and begged for flickr fun through a nervous smile! He was more than willing to share and we actually talked about going on a photo adventure in SF. He wrote today to ask me when I was free! Mmmm city pictures.

After a quick break, Matt, Seela, Jon and Scrappy took the stage, and played an incredible 2 sets. Matt just makes me laugh, and you can't beat his band. He played a ton of songs I love, but didn't play Water, so since I have had it stuck in my head for 5 months and it was pouring, I broke down and bought that CD and another. He did play "My Dog", their cover of "Mother" and Scrappy and Seela eached played. (Unfortunately, my video of Seela is about all you see of her in any of my shots since she was hiding behind Matt the whole show.) It was just neat, and hey, they are back next month opening for another gal so I get to do it all again! Good times!

IMG_7494 Matt the Electrician & Band, Crepe Place, Santa Cruz

IMG_7465 Matt the Electrician & Band, Crepe Place, Santa Cruz

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