Wednesday, April 9, 2008
ABC Wednesday - L is for loud and love and Lamont and Leland!
Yep, loud. And I loved it, every single second of the February show at Doug Fir on East Burnside. Loud. Loved it. Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
I first heard Grupo Fantasma in Jackson a couple of years ago at a Crossroads Film Festival after-party at Hal & Mal's, one of my favorite hometown places to listen to live music. Grupo Fantasma, as I found on their Web site, is a "band incorporating elements of funk, mambo, merengue, and cumbia." I don't know what cumbia is, but I recognize the rest of those nouns and know their infectious beat. From personal experience I have to say that it's impossible to be still when this band plays. Besides blasting away to a Latin beat, the crowd of musicians enjoyed themselves a whole lot, just like the crowd on the dance floor. That night I bought their two CDs and played them often enough that I could almost sing in Spanish, phonetically, of course, not understanding a single word, but lovin' it!
So, the Wednesday that I knew Mama would probably get to come home on Friday, I read in the Willamette Week (a local alternative newspaper) that Grupo Fantasma would be at Doug Fir the next Wednesday night. Ah, I quickly realized, Kay would be here to help with Mama's transition back to apartment-dweller, so maybe, just maybe, I could go to the show.
I grabbed my cellphone and called our friend Chris who tends bar at Doug Fir. He's from Jackson; we've known him for 25 years, since the guys were all in elementary school; he's now a Portlander, too, and I love him like a son. I asked him to please check to see if the show was sold out. Nope, it wasn't, and he said he'd see if he could get me on the list as his guest. Whooppee!
Naturally our sweet friend Kay thought it would be grand for me to go, that she and Mama and Duncan would be just fine, so the night of Feb. 20 I got on the #20 and rode right over the Willamette River, 30 blocks to certain, rhythmic fun!
Chris had called earlier to tell me that I was on the list, plus one. To join in the fun, Lamont figured that he would ride his bicycle over after his dinner shift at 3 Doors Down Cafe. What more could a mama ask of her first born son than he be her plus one at a live music show?
Having been to Doug Fir's downstairs show venue in the past when Chris was spinning records, I realized if I wanted to sit down, watch people and wait for the show, I'd best get there early. What I didn't realize was that some other group was opening--they were OK but I don't even remember their name. Some people danced which I think is always good for a band's morale when there's a dance floor right in front of 'em. I sort of chair-danced a little bit, but mostly I was saving my energy for what I knew was to come.
When Grupo Fantasma started playing, the dance floor filled right up, practically packed with people moving to the pulsating sound. I stood up right where I was and had a blast, groovin' to the music, watching the musicians, watching the dancers. During their second song, Lamont showed up, and we had ourselves a fine time. The band played for almost two wonderful hours. I took some photos, and I bought their newest CD and a T-shirt. Lamont walked me to the bus stop across the street, and soon I caught the #20 back to the apartment. It was such a great night that it didn't even rain!
Yep, it was loud, and I loved it, and I loved being there with Lamont. If Leland hadn't had to study for an exam, he'd have been right there with us. I believe I'll throw in lucky as my final L word 'cause I'm one lucky Mama.
If you're of a mind to, go to Mrs. Nesbitt's Place for loads of other ABC Wednesday blogs! You'll need to look at the comments at her blog to find out who is participating this week.