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Friday, October 9, 2009

Another Spectacular Night At Club Cafe
or the hits just keep on coming!!

We are having a great run this year!

Okay, so Thursday night Geo and I shuffled off to our favorite club in the South Side, Club Cafe to see Mike Doughty perform. He used to be the lead singer for Soul Coughing long ago and far away, but now he's carved out quite a career as a solo artist.

Club Cafe is a delightfully intimate venue with very limited seating. We like to get to the club before the doors open to insure we get a front row table. We're old now and can't stand as long as we used to (except for Rhett Miller concerts, of course :D) so claiming a chair is imperative.

Anywho...turns out we were first in line. Odd. So I tried the door thinking the club was already open and lo and behold, who should be standing right in the doorway? Mike Doughty his own bad self! Feeling really stupid, but not stupid enough to pass up a good opportunity, I asked him if he'd mind signing a couple of CDs.

Me being all confident and poised, it went kinda like this:

Me: *blink* *blink* whispering: oh, would you sign my CDs?
Mike: What?
Me: mumble mumble...CDs...cough... sign please... mumble
Mike: Ooooookay. Sure. Did you take your meds today, Honey?

Okay. It wasn't that bad. He graciously complied, during which time I, being the dolt I am, said something super lame like "I just sent you a comment on Twitter." (*sigh* I'm such a nerd.) But again, he kindly smiled in acknowledgment and we all moved on.

Seriously. I'm a Dork. Like, an uber
DORK. Ugh.

So the door opens, we plant ourselves at a front table and notice a question jar on stage. THE Question Jar of which I had heard tale. Sometimes when Mike goes on tour without a formal band, he puts a ginormous pickle jar out along with slips of paper for audience members to write inquiries which he answers during the show. It's a great tool for audience interaction. (I said "tool" he he)

Touring with Mike on this leg was a hill-billy looking, outstanding cello player named Andrew "Scrap" Livingston . They started the show with one of my faves "I Just Want the Girl in the Blue Dress to Keep on Dancing". Sadly, in our zeal to depart our abode to get to the cafe early to stake our table claim, I forgot my camera. But luckily there's this groovy thing called the interweb that has this great site called YouTube on which many people upload videos of all sorts of sophisticated things ranging from piano playing kitties to the most painful shots to the nuts ever witnessed. So here's a clip of the very song of which I spoke. FYI: that's Scrap playing with him.

I really love the sound of Doughty's solo work. He has a wonderfully deep voice and sings with an interesting, odd cadence. He scats a bit, too. The music's delightfully rhythmic and layered with jazzy overtones. It gets under your skin and grabs you, in a very good way. It's so infectious you can't not be-bop in your chair. I dare anyone to just sit still while he's playing. It can't be done.

Moving on...

In between songs, Scrap would draw a question from the jar and read it for Mike to answer showcasing his sense of humor and quick wit. Some of the questions were hilarious. The crowd really got into it. Made for a very fun evening. Here's a sampling of queries:

"Where did you eat dinner?" (Primanti's--which of course got a huge reaction)

"What's your pet peeve?" (People who don't follow the rules and yell out their inquiries instead of putting them in the jar.) That got a huge laugh from the crowd because a dude had just shouted a question from the audience and Mike had scolded him literally minutes before Scrap read that.)

If you were a dog, would you prefer Beggin' Strips or Snausages? (Snausages)

Did you ever want to be MC Scat Cat from the Paula Abdul video? (yes)

Did you forgive the crowd at Mr. Small's for not telling you your zipper was down until 5 songs in? (No! then he said something really funny and rude that pertained to a prior question which--believe it or not--I won't repeat. Go figure. But it was really funny.)

The set list included pretty much all of our favorites as well as a few "new to us" tunes: I Hear the Bells, White Lexus, Madeline, Circles, Busting Up a Starbucks, Looking at the World From the Bottom of the Well, Ossining, Real Love (a question jar request)...

Then he asked if the girl who requested
Like A Luminous Girl on Twitter was there.

Hey! Wait... What?!

Dude! He was totally talking about me! I sheepishly raised my hand. Good thing, too because he had planned to play that tune in the late show, but sang it for me then. Sometimes that Twitter hickie is a marvelous thing.

Here's a funny thing...after the last song (a cover of Kenny Roger's
The Gambler) the sham of the encore was exposed yet again. Much like Bell X1 a few weeks ago, Mike and Scrap decided to just spin around in their chairs then turn back to the audience--showing mock surprise, of course--after an appropriate length of applause and cheering to continue playing.

When it was all said and done he came back out for a meet and greet to sign whatever. The coolest thing though is they recorded the show and burned off copies for sale right then and there. Of course we had to buy one. Besides the proceeds went directly into their gas tank to defray tour costs. It was such a great show, how could we not contribute.

That CD is so much fun to listen to, I wish more artists would provide this same service. Plus they could make so much extra green.

Once again we left the South Side buzzing over another evening well spent. Our musical soul buoyant and sated.

Yeah. We are having a GREAT run this year.

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