Last week we spent an evening at Lincoln Hall with Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, with David Ramirez. I first heard Drew and Ellie Holcomb sing while I was attending the StoryChicago conference, and I loved them. When they said they had a show scheduled the following week in my city, I knew we should go.
Typically, I’m not much for concerts. (Yes, I hate fun.) They are loud and typically it gets really hot, and there are so many strangers packed into a tight space that if you have to go to the bathroom you may never find your way back to your friends. Also, concerts typically start about the time I’m ready to go to bed, so before the main act hits the stage I’m yawning and mostly just want to put on my jammies and go to sleep.
But H loves concerts. He loves going to different venues, hearing bands he doesn’t know very well or used to love in college, and he can hang with strangers like a champ. One of my goals for this new city we are living in was to make sure I found a few cool venues for us to attend, because even though I mostly want to go to sleep, I’m usually glad I went once I get back home.
Lincoln Hall was a perfect venue for us. For me, it had an upper deck with bar-height tables so I could sit with a little space around me, return to my seat after going to the bathroom or walking around, and easy access to the bar. For H, it was a music venue, with music. That’s basically all it takes for him.
It turned out that DH and their openers were actually Christian bands, which at first was a total bummer because (a) they are usually terrible, (b) I hate being a stereotype, and (c) the 8:30 band was playing very lame and confusing songs that turned out to be praise and worship music, which was awkward.
So we sat back for a bit and drank our beer. But, when David Ramirez came out — wow. We both loved him. His lyrics were real truths, he said the F-word when his harmonica was upside down (so clearly we could be best friends) and didn’t care when the crowd of white hipster Christians gasped at his language (and I cackled like a crazy-person), and his voice was about 80% Johnny Cash.
And I love Johnny Cash.
My favorite Ramirez song was one about forgetting a lost love, called Shoeboxes. Here’s a video from YouTube of him singing that song:
In the venue the song was a lot more yell-y and broken that it sounds in this video, and I love that quality in his voice: you can feel his pain echoing through the room. His song The Bad Days is going to be big, I think. Check it out.
Next up: Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors.
Drew and Ellie were great. Their sound with the whole band was very different from their sound as a duet, which is how I heard them first at Story. H and I both like them better when it’s just Drew with his guitar and Ellie with her mandolin, but you could really tell their band had a lot of fun together and we rocked out to their cover of Tom Petty’s American Girl. Best song of the night: The Wine We Drink.
All in all, this was a great night of challenging myself to push past my personal (grandmotherly) boundaries and ended up being a win-win, because not only did we have a great time but we found a new artist to support.