Deep purple: Station goes 'members' only

American Dumpster 

January 16

"I think he's playing your theme song." She leaned in and spoke the words with a sly grin. I could barely hear her through the muffled music coming from the adjacent room.

I sat back in my chair a bit as if the change in position would help me hear the words coming from the singer any more clearly.

"What's he saying? I can't tell over that cello... is he saying 'penis'?" I replied.

Doing that little conductor thing with her finger she mimicked the tune, "I have a puny penis."

"Ha, very funny," I retorted. "If I wasn't comfortable with our marriage, that joke could've been damaging to my entire sense of self-worth." I made the comment sliding off the bar stool into very manly stance. Walking around the corner of the room to the adjacent area where the band played, I saw two interesting-looking souls chorusing over an awkwardly staccato cello lick. I leaned in closer and heard the truth: "I have a purple penis."

This wasn't my theme song.

Forgive my vulgarity, but I have to say that "purple penis" could have been the theme for the evening. Only because any encounter (whether you are male or female) with a purple penis would be the most random out-of-this-world encounter you could have in your life.

As I sat there and took in the sounds and images of American Dumpster as they began to play (after the cello dude), I felt as if I had walked into a parallel universe Charlottesville where rules of commonality and tabooism were skewed and obfuscated. I mean, I thought rockabilly music died out decades ago, yet here I was in a service station turned restaurant/music venue listening to rockabilly/zydeco sipping Irish coffee watching the first snow.

American Dumpster's lead singer was witty and ripe with dry humor as he led his ensemble through an Elvis cover, (what I believe was) a John Prine tune, and an insanely jubilant arrangement of "Viva Las Vegas." Even if the execution of the song wasn't completely flawless, there was never a lack of energy from the six players on stage. Lemme see... the lineup went something like drummer on a three-piece, lead guitar, bass, washboard percussion, rhythm guitar, and keys/accordion. I was loving the fact that the lead singer's guitar was so well maintained and quite pristine, but ironically plugged into an amp that looked handmade and painted by blind three-year olds with spray cans.

Of the 20 people in the room, at least 10 of the them were dancing for the majority of the performance. Most interestingly was a tall slender man with bloody elbows and busted eye. He was wasted and had obviously lost a fight earlier in the evening. But even he wasn't a sore thumb in a room that also included a painted-faced guy wearing striped purple pants.

To tell you the truth, I really can't find anything to complain about. The energy from the band was absolutely infectious. There was almost more love than I could handle. When my wife and I got home, we laughed about how much fun we had. We warmed up snuggling on the couch listening to a 12" of Marvin Gaye for a little late-night theme music.

American Dumpster