Travelin': From ecstasy to outer space

at Michael's Bistro
January 14

Wrinkle Neck Mule
at Starr Hill
January 18

 Artwork unevenly placed on the walls. Partially remodeled bathroom. A rear view of the band through glass doors from the balcony. A waitress who smiles and hugs.

I'm not drinking tonight. Someone slides me a beer on the house. Okay, maybe just one. Open book and begin studying. Distractions: shapely waitress, casual conversation, crooked painting, cold breeze from the door, and music... great music.

"You've been here four years and haven't seen him play yet?" she says in disbelief.

"Yeah, it's sad, I know," I respond bashfully. First time I heard of him, he was airing his grievances: two guitars thrown off Michael's Bistro balcony in a fit of anger. He said something about no one appreciating good music. I wish I could have seen the set he played prior to that outburst. I can only imagine how good it was.

Now I sit alone, years later in the same venue, amazed at Matthew Willner. He's really good. His band is really good. No, they're different than good. Refreshing.

I can tune out everything but the music. It's hard, really hard not to pay attention. Becoming engrossed in bossa and tightly composed world beat rhythms. No holes. No means of escaping, like a sailor lured onto the rocks by the Lorelei, I'm soothed away from the pages of my book by the bass and the trumpet playing perfectly with my heartstrings.

I forgot to finish my last sentence, and my casual conversation has walked away. I don't even notice until they're already gone. I've been listening to EMDUB. Intensely.

– Captain's Log 489-73: Venture back down to earth to make another valiant attempt at digesting (and possibly enjoying) country music. Starr Hill features Wrinkle Neck Mule on a Sunday.

Maybe mingling with a few terrestrial creatures native to this region may help me pick up the right vibe. Scanners indicate nothing. Crowd gathers around stage but hardly move. Applause follows first couple of songs then slowly diminishes. Hollow electric guitar tone. Singers in key and together (there's a plus).

The creatures here confuse me. What if they figure out I'm not one of them? They might tie me up and begin a probing exam of my intimate parts. I would understand, though, because if one of them came to my planet, we'd do the same thing.

Mission failed, Starbase. I'm coming home.

Wrinkle Neck Mule