Thursday, June 12, 2003

cannibelle and slidepiece at the Midway Cafe: 6/11/03
I was excited to see cannibelle at the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain last night.

I've gotten to know the band over the Internet. Jennifer, the lead singer, emailed me about playing the band on WZBC. I do shows at ZBC, and enjoy playing new local music. Jennifer and I have exchanged emails and I've played their new EP on the radio.

My car had trouble starting up today. Stupid car. It's a 3 1/2 year old New Beetle and I just had the electrical system checked out and a brand new battery installed. You'd think that after that, It would be reliable. I hate the feeling that it might not start. I called the dealer and they gave me an appointment for next week!

I risked having a dead car on the street and drove over to The Midway Cafe. I got a prime parking space right in front of the bar and walked in. Empty. Empty except for the band setting up and a few regulars at the bar. I could tell that they were regulars because they were fastened to the barstools.

In the Bar
I wore my ZBC 90.3 T-Shirt so I would have some 'street cred'. I walked over to the stage and said hi to Jennifer. She knew who I was and was happy to see me. She said the band was going to start in a little while and that some other fans were there already.

I went over to the bar for a beer. The bar tender was more interested in eating his sandwich, than serving a customer. No wonder why I choose Doyle's or Dogwood or James Gate to usually get a beer. The staff isn't too welcoming. The band was friendlier.

After the bartender finished eating his bite of his sandwich, he proceeded to walk towards the other end of the bar.

Hmm. What to say in this situation? "Yo, barkeep, how about some service here?" I went for the standard, "Excuse me." the bartender seems surprised to see a customer.

I asked for a Bass and it was delivered promptly with beer streaming down the sides of the glass. Nice. Just how I like it. Not!

It was a $4 beer. Now I was faced with the dilemma of deciding on the amount of the tip. You know there's only one decision to make here. I had to drop a $1 down on the bar. I was going to be thirsty later and there seemed to be only one bartender. I guess instead of calling it a tip, to insure proper service, I'd call it a bribe to get some kind of acknowledgment later on when I required another beverage.

Now with my security blanket Bass Ale in hand I went over to talk to Jennifer some more. She pointed to some more friends of the band and I went over to join the group.

"Hi," I said, "I'm a fan of the band too." They said they all worked at the same place. I guessed, Jennifer's office, but was wrong. They all work at Dogwood Cafe! We all thought we looked familiar to each other. Dogwood Cafe is a great restaurant and bar in JP. Oh did we have fun telling stories of entrees that I had ordered and that they had delivered in the past. Good times.

During this discussion, loud yelling was happening at the bar with all kinds of kidding around between the bartender and the regular customers. "I was just KIDDING YOU!" "Well I was just KIDDING YOU Too!" Oh how I wished at that moment that I could have been included in the happiness and joy of being a regular at the bar at the Midway Cafe. Not.

The clock struck 10:00 and it was show-time. I don't have a set list but can say that cannibelle played 10 songs, 9 originals and a cover. They were lots of fun to watch. Jennifer is the star up there on stage with a great voice, guitar and a friendly personality. She enjoyed the closeness of the club and talked to us between songs.

Heidi, the other guitarist, broke a string on the first song and was mad since it's a new guitar and she wanted to play it. She had to switch to a backup.

The song with the best hook is Winter. If you want to hear it, you can go to the cannibelle website music page. Beware though, once Winter gets into your head, you won't be able to get it out.

After cannibelle was done, Heidi explained to me that it's rude to leave when the band you came to see is done. You've got to stay and listen to the next group, as a courtesy. I stayed to see what the next band was like, slidepiece. The name sounds like country and I did see a cowboy wearing patron in there, but there's no way you would ever call them country after hearing them play. Their web site says they are influenced by the Ramones and are a Punk rock band.

Slidepiece is a 3 person band with a lead singer/guitar player, bass player and drummer/singer.

They have tons of energy and make a lot of music considering it's just three people up there. Pat Shannon, the lead singer, was impressive. I really enjoyed listening to this band. I equated their sound and energy to the early Clash.

I listened to about 7 songs and said my goodbyes and went outside. The band sounded good from out on the sidewalk too.

Oh yeah, and I did get that second beer. No problem. I left $1 as a bribe in case I ever go back.

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