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  • St Valentine’s Day 2020 open

    by coldwarrior ( 102 Comments › )
    Filed under Open thread at February 14th, 2020 - 9:25 am

    Interesting read on the Saint

    I gave Mrs Coldwarrior gifts on our first Valentine’s together…in typical Russian fashion she says:

    “What did you do wrong?”

    She thinks it’s a stupid day (a ploy to sell cards, flowers, chocolate, and dinners) so we don’t bother.

    Enjoy yinz’s weekend?

    Samantha Fish at the Oriental Theater

    by lobo91 ( 129 Comments › )
    Filed under Music, Music, Open thread at February 11th, 2020 - 9:00 am

    The second day of my recent excursion to Denver began with a trip to Buckley AFB, located in Aurora. Since I was officially moved from the Retired Reserve to the Army Retired List in December, I need to get a new ID card. Having some time to kill in a city with a nearby military installation seemed like the perfect time to accomplish that task without having to take more time off of work.After making the 35-minute drive to Buckley and getting through security, I then had to find the ID card office. After a bit of driving and an educated guess, I found my quarry. I then found a parking spot, grabbed a copy of my retirement orders, and headed inside. As I got to the front door, however, I spotted a sign taped to the glass, saying that the computer system that produces IDs was down, with “no estimated repair time.” I was reminded of the scene in National Lampoon’s Vacation where the Griswolds make it all the way to Wally World, only to learn that the park is closed for repairs. Sigh.

    Unlike Clark Griswold, I didn’t have the pleasure of being distracted by a blonde in a red Ferrari. I was, however, looking forward to seeing a blonde with a red cigar box guitar later that evening, so the day wasn’t a total loss.

    The Oriental Theater is a live music venue in the Berkeley district of Denver, a few blocks from where Ally Venable played the night before. It’s a very different venue, however. Originally built as a movie theater in 1927 and remodeled multiple times over the years, the Oriental is on the National Register of Historic Places. One thing it does have in common with Globe Hall, though, is a total lack of parking. By the time I got there at about 7:30, it had been snowing steadily for about 90 minutes, and showed no signs of letting up, so I really wanted to find a spot somewhere in the same time zone. Ultimately, I ended up parking about 3 blocks away.

    After trudging through the snow, I made my way back to the theater, shook the snow off, and went inside. The concert information had said “partial seating,” and they weren’t kidding. Although it has a listed capacity of around 1,000 patrons, there were only about 400 seats. The entire forward half of the main level was open (and packed with bodies already). I quickly decided that there had to be somewhere better, so I made my way back through the crowd and headed to the balcony.

    The situation up there was basically the reverse, with seats in the front and standing room in the back. I quickly staked out a spot against the wall, got a beer, and waited for the show to start. At 8:00 on the dot, the opening act got started. Unlike the night before, the AJ Fullerton Band, based out of Fort Collins, was actually pretty good (and played the same genre of music as the headliner—go figure!). The difference was simple enough, actually. The bands who played before Ally Venable were booked by the venue, while Samantha Fish booked AJ Fullerton for not only this show, but several other Colorado dates. You can do that when you’re Samantha Fish, I guess.

    Finally, the moment we’d all been waiting for arrived, and Sam and the boys took the stage. One thing I noticed right off was that they all came on stage together. Every time I’ve seen her before, Samantha has always made an “entrance,” sometimes timed to the second after the band has started playing. Once everyone was in place, she picked up her famous red cigar box guitar and launched into a blistering rendition of “Bulletproof,” the first track off the current album, Kill or be Kind. She then went straight into “Watch it Die,” followed by “You Got it Bad” and finally the title track—and changed guitars twice—before even stopping to catch her breath. The Fish faithful, including myself, were floored.

    By the time the night was over, we’d heard the entire Kill or be Kind album, along with a few older songs, including “Highway’s Holding Me Now,” off 2016’s Wild Heart, as well as “No Angels” and Blood in the Water” form the 2017 release Belle of the West. Finally, she closed out the regular set with the obligatory performance of “Crow Jane,” bookending the show with the cigar box. Of course, there was an encore. Finally, at my fifth Samantha Fish show, I got to hear “Bitch on the Run” live!

    As soon as the band lined up to take a bow, I made a bee-line for the stairs, because I know how the lines at the merchandise table can get. This time, I planned ahead, and brought a professionally-printed 11×14” photo taken at an earlier show to be autographed, which now occupies a place of honor on my wall at home. Samantha was as gracious as ever, posing for countless pictures and signing everything from CDs and T-shirts to a fan’s white Gibson SG, just like the one she frequently plays. Through it all, she seemed more relaxed than I’ve seen previously. She was definitely in control on stage, as well. From the moment she picked up her guitar and asked “How ya doin’, Denver?” that theater became her world, and we just lived in it.

    I’m not sure what the source of her new-found energy and confidence is, but I hope that it holds up. If so, this might just be the Year of the Fish!

    Sam and her white Gibson SG

    The Oriental Theater


    The 30 best blues guitarists in the world today

    Check out who’s #7…

    Ally Venable at Globe Hall

    by lobo91 ( 125 Comments › )
    Filed under Entertainment, Music, Open thread, Uncategorized at February 9th, 2020 - 9:00 am

    As some of you know, I recently spent a couple of days In Denver, on my first road trip of the new year. I wouldn’t normally take off in the middle of the week (or drive to Denver in February, for that matter), but when I learned that two of my favorite performers were going to be in town back-to-back, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

    The drive was long, but uneventful. I’d booked a hotel room through in the Capitol Hill area, which was probably my first mistake (more about that later). Once I got settled in, I decided to walk across the street to a Wendy’s before heading to the show.

    I really don’t spend much time in big cities these days, but downtown Denver seems to be competing with Seattle and San Francisco to see which can drive people away the fastest. Homeless people everywhere, including aggressive panhandlers. Just like the coastal cities, Denver’s homeless population has been basically given a pass for any behavior short of violent felonies. Then, to top it off, Colorado now has legal recreational marijuana use. Let’s just say that Denver is no longer the “family friendly” vacation spot it once was.

    After a quick bite to eat, I changed clothes and headed to the show. The venue was kind of a surprise. It’s basically a dive bar/BBQ place that’s in an old industrial building of some sort. Once inside, there’s a door off to the side that opens into the actual venue…which was a big open room with a stage at one end. No chairs, tables, or anything. I guess that’s why the ticket prices were so low.

    Anyway, the first band started at 8:00, and played about 4 songs. They were okay…if it had been a high school dance. The second act was an “alt rock” band out of Fort Collins called the Nightshades. They were different, anyway. The individual musicians seemed to be able to play fairly well. Unfortunately, they each seemed to be playing different types of music. Not really my thing.

    Finally, around 9:30, they were done, and Bobby Wallace and Elijah Owings (Ally’s bass player and drummer, respectively) went out and quickly got everything set up for their set. Once everything was ready, Ally walked out on stage, plugged in her guitar, and proceeded to blow the roof off the place.

    I was happy that it was a small venue, because it meant that I got to spend the entire show up near the stage, and I quickly staked out a spot right in front of Bobby at stage right. Ally always plays from stage left, which, in this case, was about 8 feet away. Basically, it was like having a concert in my living room.

    I took a ton of pictures over the course of the set, not one of which turned out. Ally was wearing a sequined minidress and her trademark thigh-high boots, and the reflection of the stage lights off the sequins apparently caused my camera’s autofocus to have a nervous breakdown. Every single picture was out of focus.

    Once I gave up on taking pictures, I turned my attention to watching Ally play, since I had such a unique vantage point.  One thing I noticed is that she plays with her eyes closed the majority of the time, when she’s not singing. It’s almost as if she tunes out the audience. She also rarely moves more than a couple of feet from the microphone, although she plays using a wireless rig. She did go down into the audience at one point, though.

    From a strictly technical standpoint, Ally is probably a better guitarist than Samantha Fish, but she lacks Sam’s incredible stage presence. Some of that may be due to her age, though. While she’s been playing professionally for about 6 years now, she’s still only 20 years old. Hopefully, she has many years of performing ahead of her, with plenty of time to mature as an artist.

    After an amazing rendition of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Lenny,” the show came to a close. I noticed that Bobby’s copy of the set list was still by his feet, which he graciously gave me. I then moved over to the merchandise table, knowing that Ally would turn up there soon. Surprisingly, when she did, she was all by herself. Usually, her mom tours with her, and can generally be found at the table passing out t-shirts and CDs. Since Ally was doing double duty, it slowed down the whole “meet and greet” process, but that just meant fans had more time to talk to her. We chatted about previous shows, and she asked if I was planning to go on the Keeping the Blues Alive cruise later this month, which she really seemed to be looking forward to. She also confirmed that she’s going to be at the Dallas International Guitar Festival again this year, although the lineup hasn’t officially been announced yet. I am going to that. Finally, she autographed my set list, which is now framed and hanging on the wall.

    All in all, it was a great evening. Next stop: Samantha Fish at the Oriental Theatre.

    Ally doing what she does best

    Set List

    At the Big Blues Bender in Vegas

    A Saturday Open

    by coldwarrior ( 38 Comments › )
    Filed under Open thread at February 8th, 2020 - 12:40 am


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