Saturday, August 25, 2012

Monday Night Madness


Something special happened several nights ago in Tacoma. Not that every week night on the local music scene isn’t special in some way, but that night was different. Monday nights’ at the Swiss Tavern have always been pretty much dedicated to local blues bands. And they generate a tidy little appreciative audience. This night brought out a larger than usual crowd for Rod Cook & Toast with special guest Sue Orfield. Sue was in town for, among other things, the 15th anniversary of Junkyard Jane.

I always try to catch Rod Cook & Toast (Chris Leighton on drums – Jon Bayless on bass and vocals) whenever I can. It certainly is not totally blues, but always top-notch music. Toast is one of the finest trios in the Pacific Northwest. Throw in Sue Orfield, and, well I had to be there.

Immediately that “special vibe” surfaced when the first five audience members I ran into were other local musicians – Les Merrihew (visiting from his “retirement” to Arizona), Doug Skoog, Dean Reichert, Leanne Trevalyan and Billy Stoops. When other musicians come out to listen to their peers you just know it’s going to be good. Joining the audience shortly thereafter were super fans Reverend Dave Brown and his lovely better half and the late arriving Mark Riley. Add another forty locals or so and there was a nice little “house” to play to.

Then special guest number two walked in with his gear. Jay Mabin. Now almost everyone knows that I pick on harmonica players, so listen up! Jay Mabin is a monster on the chromatic. Incredible tone. Wonderfully melodic. There, I did it. I gave props to a harmonica player. That actually felt pretty good!

The anticipation was palpable. But, when the music finally started (there was a “lateness issue” involving Jon Bayless, but that is another story) it did not disappoint. The opening set was awesome. It was five excellent musicians with their “ears on” coming together and filling the room with some fantastic music. As an avid fan it doesn’t get much better than that. Jay had to leave for an early wake up on Tuesday, so Mark Riley was invited up.

It was a late drive home for sure, but I’d make that drive anytime to hear music like that! Cream of the crop players playing “together”. That is SPECIAL.


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