Blues and green: Pinch a drink for St. Pat

Deep Fried
Starr Hill Music Hall
March 17

It was St. Patrick's day and I didn't even know it. Whatever happened to people wearing green and pinching each other in the rear? Alas, there was no green, there was no pinching, and there were no jolly Irish tunes playing on the Mall and through shopping market speakers.

What clued me in? Drunks. That's right. Syrupy, sloppy, slushed-out, boozed-up drunk people.

I leaned over close to friend after I'd been at Starr Hill for about 20 minutes, "Hey man, why is everyone so wasted this evening?"

"It's St. Patty's Day, you dumb ass," he replied affectionately.

"Oh yeah... yeah, I knew that," I lied. "It just struck me as odd because, like, it's Wednesday. Doesn't anyone have to work tomorrow?"

Well, if people did have to report to their paycheck-providers the next day, they sure as hell weren't acting like it. Spirits were high and mighty as people grooved out heavily to the "Crosby, Stills, and Nash" of the current jam-band circuit. If incorporating three-part harmonies into your set every 10 minutes makes a group resemble Crosby, Stills, and Nash, then they were all that. I would prefer to describe them as four very talented veteran musicians of whom one could sing well and two could hold a note decently.

There's no doubt about the fact that these boys could play. Their sound, steeped heavily in blues and blues-rock, was seldom cheapened by off timing, blatant wrong notes, or bad chemistry. It was easy to discern that very little was going to shake them out of their zone.

The pulse was controlled by the center front-man/bassist. His bass tone was damn near perfect-­ sitting there evenly in the mix with enough low end to make the change in your pocket vibrate. To his right, a keyboard player who kinda looked and acted liked Animal from the Muppet Show laid into some heavy key work. The guitarist and drummer were equally adept and talented .

Deep Fried sounded great as long as they stuck to their musical roots. As soon as they ventured outside the blues/rock (add a little Soul too) realm, things got a bit choppy. They sounded quite uncomfortable when they slipped into reggae.

The same applied to their jamming. They lacked the patience to build things up and bring them down. The guitarist was too rushed to start playing finger tricks, and Animal-dude on keys was prone to begin audio experiments without a hypothesis. (Everyone knows that's a no-no.)

About mid-way through the show, the crowd began thinning out. People had come out to get trashed early. That way they could have plenty of time to sleep it off before work the next day. A dwindling crowd doesn't really do much for the energy of a performance. When things started to crawl, I headed too.

On my way down the stairs, a girl pinched me. "Where's your green?" she said.

I responded politely, "Thanks for reminding me, hon... I left it rolled up in the car."

Deep Fried