4/13/09: The O’s @ Fontana’s (81/100)

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God bless America for bluegrass music. The beautiful, sweet sound of the banjo, acoustic and slide guitars. Eat your heart out indie rock. Sometimes you just need a little reminder of where you came from to set you straight. I wrote all of that with a Texas drawl in my head, FYI. Even though I’m from Minnesota, yet somehow lost my accent all together somewhere between growing up in MN, undergrad in SC and the last 7 years in NYC. I just think talking about bluegrass sounds better with a southern drawl. Or, in the case of this blog post – imagining a drawl in your head as you write.

The O’s were just the reminder I needed that I grew up with roots/American music like The Gear Daddies, The Jayhawks, Uncle Tupelo, Wilco, Son Volt, The Honeydogs and so on. I was raised on this stuff. It’s in my blood. Even though I don’t really bust it out that often anymore – apart from Wilco who is in a steady rotation pretty much all the time (I listened to A Ghost is Born twice and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Sky Blue Sky each once today). So it was nice to see two guys up on stage, cranking out some stuff that sounded like home. Or some version of it.

But tonight wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. It was supposed to be about a big show. The Neko Case and Crooked Fingers show up in Times Square. Except I choked and didn’t get a ticket in time. And now that there are a limited number of days left in the project, I want to make sure they all count. So I felt like a bit of a loser for not jumping on that ticket, and that I was just settling for some random music. But it’s these moments that surprise you the most.

The O’s are two guys: John and Taylor. That was pretty much all I knew going into this show tonight. Oh, and I saw that they were playing a show in Dallas, TX with Mark Olson and Gary Louris, formerly (and soon again, I think) of The Jayhawks – hometown heroes of mine. So, in my mind, if these guys are good enough for the Jayhawks, they’re good enough for me. And I was right. Or, they were right. Ok, we were all right.

The O’s were great. Not only great musicians and songwriters, but funny and self-aware about there being less than 20 people in the room. They cracked self-deprecating jokes about it the whole time, which helped break the tension of it being early and empty. They played a fairly quick set, under an hour, and probably could’ve played more if the sound guy would’ve let them. I know I could’ve listened to more.

I introduced myself to the band and picked up a CD after the show. I mentioned how I was a big Jayhawks fan growing up, so I was happy to see them playing with Olson and Louris. They said they cut their tour short to get back to Dallas so they could play that show with them. I said good luck, good night, and ran across the street to pick up dinner from the best little dumpling house in NYC (as far as I’m concerned).

81 down, 19 to go.

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One Response to “4/13/09: The O’s @ Fontana’s (81/100)”

  1. [...] and check out songs on their myspace pages. This is how I’ve stumbled upon some good bands: The O’s, The Answer, The Mess Around, Blonde Acid Cult, Lights, and tonight, Virgin [...]

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