Sunday, March 18, 2018

Vitamin D, Sheryl Smith and Tom Ryan

My daughter turned 21 this past fall, which I'm still trying to wrap my mind around. So this past Saturday was her first St. Patrick's Day as a legal drinker. She went out to dinner with my wife and I on Friday night, and requested that she'd like to go out for some music and a drink for St. Patrick's. We thought first about my sister-in-law's band, but they're not playing again until next weekend.

A couple of words about my daughter and St. Patrick's Day. My daughter has always identified mostly as British -- both of her birth parents were of mostly British background, and the child is a born English girl -- she drinks her soda warm, she's hooked on Doctor Who,and she's one of the few people I know from her generation who both appreciates and loves Monty Python. I've always identified as mostly Irish American myself, and so my daughter and I have had an ongoing joke between us where I accuse her of historically oppressing my people, and she responds with things like, "We told  you not to wear skirts. But did you listen?!" For Christmas, however, my wife got all four of us DNA kits from, and while my daughter did check out as primarily British, I've been teasing her to no end that she also is 7% or so Irish. (I've been threatening to send her for step-dancing lessons, but I wouldn't really do a thing that cruel to some nice step-dance teacher). Anyway, except for a few old staples (like "Danny Boy"), she's really not so much (or at all) into Irish music the way I am, or I might have tried to get tickets to the Larry Kirwan show that night at the Boulton Center. But in any event, it's not so much that she identifies with St. Patrick's Day that made her want to go out that night, it was more the idea that St. Patrick's is known as a drinker's holiday, and she's now a legal drinker.

Now Denise is on Facebook (I'm not), so these days, she's much more connected to what's going on around the local music scene. And she immediately mentioned that our old friends Vitamin D were scheduled to play a special St. Patrick's Day show in Patchogue as part of one of Karl Reamer's events at Kappler's in Patchogue. D. and I are only just starting to get out again -- once we adopted our two children, all of that needed to be put on the back burner -- but Karl was doing these monthly events at Kappler's from before our kids came to live with us, and Vitamin D has been playing with him there since the beginning.

We described Vitamin's D music to our daughter (I still think of them as somewhat beatnik), and also Karl's band, Big Daddy and the Bulldogs (blues), and she said that that worked for her. Truth be told, the kid is much more of a metalhead -- the last time I took her out for a night of music, it was to see a friend of hers' band, Accelerator. They're a metal band complete with a mosh pit, and I remember watching in terror a couple of times when the mosh pit got precariously close to a young lady on crutches. (I later learned that she was the drummer's girlfriend, and the reason she was on crutches was she'd had her leg broken in the mosh pit a month or so earlier). But for St. Patrick's, my daughter really just wanted to enjoy a legal drink and get a little taste of live music, so I figured the Vitamin D show was a good choice.

We got there near 8 o'clock. (It was just the two of us, because Denise was home making sure our son and his girlfriend were walking on the straight and narrow path). We parked in the LIRR lot across the street from the bar (which I learned, to my chagrin, now has those annoying machines where you have to pay to park -- thanks Patchogue, you greedy bastards!). It took us a few minutes to find the stupid machine, during which we hypothesized what it would be like if we'd both had some drinks before parking, and I teased her that she'd be driving home (but she knew that was a lie -- Dad was there strictly as a designated driver).

As we entered Kappler's, Vitamin D was just getting ready to start. They were shocked to see me (understandably enough, since, like I said, I haven't really been out these last eight years), but very pleased, and I was happy to see them as well. My daughter and I grabbed the last two available seats in Kappler's (at the bar), as the music began. At this point, I realized I'd walked right past old friend Vinny DiMarco (who I also hadn't seen in about 8 years), so we said our hellos and caught up for a little. I also ordered my daughter her drink of choice for the evening, a Jack and Coke, and a Diet Coke for myself.

Vitamin D on this night consisted of Mark Loebl in his familiar position on bass and Dee Loebl on electric acoustic guitar (which was new to me) and lead vocals, with Mike Zielinski (who was apparently the designated drummer for all of the bands, at least in the early part of the evening). They played a regrettably short set, (but it was a six-band show, so I kind of expected that), that consisted of a Wishbone Ash cover I wasn't familiar with, an original I wasn't familiar with, a cover of "I Know You Rider" (which I know is a traditional song, but I'll always think of it as a Grateful Dead cover), and a cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" (which Dee proudly related she had just learned that day).

As is my wont at live shows, I started singing along with "I Know You Rider", and my daughter started shrinking into her bar stool in embarrassment, as had her mother on so many nights before. And when I sang along with "Wicked Game", she sank a little deeper.

At about the time that Mark and Dee finished, we realized that the corned beef and cabbage buffet was open, so as the next performer, Sheryl Smith, went on, we got ourselves some plates of food. I offered my daughter another drink, but I wasn't surprised to learn that she was through. (I also offered her a soda with her meal, but she thought it was much more fun to take the rest of mine).

I wasn't familiar with Ms. Smith before, but she has a nice voice. I was a little distracted with my food, so I don't remember her whole set (which was also short). I do remember that she told the audience that she didn't know any strictly Irish songs, but she did know some Van Morrison, before launching off into a cover of "Crazy Love". I also remember that the highlight of her set (for me, anyway) was a cover of The Rolling Stones' "Time Is on My Side". This was another great sing-along song for Dad. Coincidentally, it was right at this point that my daughter told me she was ready to leave after Smith finished her set. (As some of you already know, one of the greatest pleasures of parenthood is torturing your children).

At the conclusion of Smith's set, I found Mark and Dee and said my good nights. We chatted for a little bit, as Mark told me about his new project, a Grateful Dead tribute band, and Dee sent a hug home for Denise. Behind me, the next act, who I assume was Tom Ryan and friends (that's who was scheduled, anyway), started their set with "Danny Boy", then continued on into some other Irish classics. It was hard to tear myself away, as this was some especially good sing-along material for me, but I knew my daughter really had wanted only a drink with her Dad and a little taste of music, so we headed out the door. (I regretted that we hadn't been able to stay for Karl's band, but we'll catch them another day).

In any event, it was great to see Vitamin D again -- I look forward to seeing a fuller set next time -- and I enjoyed the little I heard from Sheryl Smith and Tom Ryan as well. As for my daughter, she admitted that she'd enjoyed herself (except for my sing alongs -- hrrmph!). Next time, I'll take her to more of a metal show -- she's got a couple of friends playing in bands right now, so we'll probably hit one of them -- and when I do, I'll doubtlessly tell you about it here.

And sometime soon, probably in a couple of days, I'll be writing my 100th album review for the Sputnik Music website. I was tossing around a couple of possibilities, but it looks like it will of a Duran Duran album.

Until then, stay musical my friends!

(Btw, apologies to the bands we didn't get to see on Saturday night, including Moonlight Gypsy Caravan, David Goodnight, The Septemberists, and of course, Big Daddy and The Bulldogs).