St. Pete’s Central Avenue Solstice celebrates the rising and setting of the sun along Central Avenue. (Nevermind that this astrological coincidence actually occurs on the equinox.) It consists of stores opening early, music playing along the avenue, painting the Nomad Art Bus, and more.
It’s events like this that make me grateful to live in St. Pete.
My house concert, ukulele, Sarah Mac Band friend RSVP’d via Facebook to a Black Heart Valentine’s Day celebration concert at The Hideaway Cafe. The concert promised songs of murder, wanton lust, and revenge. I decided this concert was just what I needed to celebrate this particular holiday.
Before the show, I went over to say ‘hi’ to my friend and her hubby. I left them to their dinner, and I decided to sit back a little ways and write for a bit since I’m finding it hard to find time to write for my personal enjoyment…
While writing, the one of the gentlemen sitting across from me said I looked too sophisticated for the surroundings. I do believe that is the first time I’ve ever been accused of being that particular adjective…
We decided we would be Valentine’s, since we had a common love of the musicians playing that night.
The show started with Gurf Morlitz. I had never heard of him before, though he’s produced for the likes of Lucinda Williams. He started his short set with a reminder about St. Valentine’s history. The guy was martyred via torture and a beheading for marrying young people against an emperor’s wishes.
A little gruesome.
To follow the history, Gurf sang a song about putting dead roses on his lost love’s grave. After that, it was a song of loss, where his love was a river that just kept going.
Grant Peeples and Erik Alvar, on stand-up bass and mandolin, joined Gurf after that. I’d been wanting to see Grant live for while. I think last night was a good night to see him.
Staying in the theme of the night, they played a song about an ex- who wanted to be his Facebook friend. It was hilarious.
He also performed a song about seeing a certain piece of male anatomy, someone else’s of course, on his girlfriend’s phone. Set to accompany the ringtone, nonetheless. Also hilarious.
One of his songs was being considered for the 50 Shades of Gray movie, but unfortunately the movie passed on the song. Fantastic and provocative lyrics in that one too.
I forget the lady’s name. Then Erik, Grant, and Gurf during the “male anatomy on the girlfriend’s phone” song.
Sarah Mac came up and joined the guys for a couple of songs. I particularly remember a song based on the Adam and Eve story. Eve was ready to leave Eden if Adam didn’t stop his crap. Great song…
Sarah, Erik, Grant, and Gurf
The musicians took a break, and the full Sarah Mac Band came on after.
Charlie, Sarah, and Claire
I’ll take a second to be a bit girly, but I thought both Sarah and Claire looked super cute last night. Sarah with her sparkly top and hair down. Claire with her ‘Love’ shirt and sweater. (Just so Charlie doesn’t feel left out, he also looked quite dapper in his black shirt.)
Of course, the band sounded awesome, which has been my experience every time I’ve seen them (more here and here). The tone was a bit more somber than Grant’s set, but it still fit right in with the overall themes for the night. One song that really stands out in my mind is a Norah Jones cover called “Miriam.” Super creepy… (YouTube video of Norah Jones below.)
Everyone came back on stage for the encore for a fun-filled song or two about naggy partners who have nothing but negative things to say: a nice reminder that sometimes it’s better to be single than with the wrong someone.
The whole gang
At one point during the show, Sarah thanked the coupled folks for “sacrificing” their Valentine’s Day to come out to this concert that was rather anti-Valentine’s Day. After the show, I bought a T-shirt and talked to Claire and Sarah for a minute. I know the single folks were in a minority, but I reminded them that we were there. I told them that this seemed like the perfect place for a single person to be on Valentine’s Day. They seemed to agree.
Sarah said she reads my blog! (Hi, Sarah!!) She said she thought it was great. That felt really good to hear.
And it was exactly the right place for me to be. Plenty of laughter, plenty of heart break. A lot of nice reminders that others struggle with romantic love too.
I was definitely where I needed to be last night.
A few notes.
I try not to take a ton of photos or notes during concerts, because I’d rather experience the show fully, and I don’t want to be disruptive to other show-goers. That’s why I often can’t remember song names, and the like. I do recommend checking out all of these artists.
If you like Sarah Mac Band, consider contributing to their crowd sourcing campaign. They recently blew the transmission in their new-to-them band van. They also want to print the CD they recently recorded, and I want to hear it! You can contribute for as low as $5. Help them bring their new CD to a town near you!
The new band van only made it 60 miles. Help them get back on the road so they can play for you!! (Picture stolen from SMB Facebook page.)