Day 1: May 11, 2007
Rascal's & Ribs
From the internet, I had learned of an independently owned motel, with
generally positive reviews, just blocks from where the band was playing. I
intended to stay there but it didn't happen. There were no big problems
that would keep me from trying again but it didn't work out this time. I
was told right up front that no non-smoking rooms were available. That's
not really a problem for me but a smoking room is not my first choice. At
some point I asked the desk clerk if an internet connection was available
and was told no. Again, not really a problem (like it would be after a day
of picture taking) but another non-positive. The desk clerk was friendly
and, as far as I could tell, knew her job but she had problems with the
credit card I handed her. Even after being on the phone and offering up a
series of "yeses" she told me she couldn't get the system to accept my
card and asked if I had another. I took that as a sign and moved on.
I found a room about two miles away in a cluster of motels. I've personally had good luck with Knights Inns in the recent past so that's what I picked here. Good luck again. Besides a clean reasonably priced room with wi-fi (although I'm actually using the stronger signal from the Holiday Inn next door), a sign for a promising BBQ restaurant could be seen from my window. Here's hoping that people don't get the same treatment in human heaven that pigs get in Hog Heaven but the ribs were quite tasty.
Then it was off to Rascal's Saloon where the band was almost ready. The
vehicles in the lot included rusted beaters, new sedans, pickup trucks,
vans (both mini and regular), and several motorcycles parked near the
front door. A nearly new BMW cruiser was right there amongst the Harleys.
Inside a few bikers, complete with long beards, head rags, and denim vests
covered with insignia were certainly noticeable but they were just part of
the crowd. There were also guys in neat slacks, kids with spiked hair,
some slightly goth looking women, and one guy, with his baseball cap set
carefully at forty-five degrees, in hip-hop garb. And everybody in that
diverse crowd was having a good time.
I ordered a $1.65 Genesee draft in one of those Mason jar shaped mugs but soon remembered why I don't look for Genesee signs when beer hunting. Shortly after the band started I switched to Killians, moved closer to the "stage", and immediately knocked over the owner's drink. Sandra, the owner, said I'd caught her on a good night but I think that "nice" is probably full time. Instead of kicking me out of her bar she complimented me on saving half of the drink.
This was possibly the perfect place to see the Patrick Sweany Band. Patrick's played there a bunch and knows the building and the audience and the audience knows and likes him. It's small - five six-seat tables, the bar, a few odd chairs, and a covered pool table to lean on - with low ceilings and restrooms that you walk by the band to get to. This is the kind of place that Patrick's style of music was born in. Paul, one of the patrons I got to talk with a bit, told me that Patrick's solo acoustic shows are just as good (I was already fairly confident of that.) and that the real treat is when he's accompanied by his dad on wash tub bass. I asked Patrick if that would be happening any time soon and he said it was pretty likely and to just keep an eye on the website. I may have to return when that happens.
Incidentally, it may have been new drummer Nick's first time at Rascal's and only his seventh outing with the band but it sure wasn't noticeable. Like his predecessor, he plays a stripped to the basics kit and seems to fit PSB like a glove.
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