Steve Brown was one of the three original partners in the legendary Bug Jar. Margaret Explosion was playing a regular Friday night Happy Hour there for a few years and he was always behind the bar, off duty from his day job at a big financial firm, encouraging us to invest the little we had. I’m so thankful for that. He’s now a partner, with Tommy Burnett, in Iron Smoke Whisky, a northern New York whiskey distillery of all things. But it is also a bar with a sound system and tonight, the day before Tom Waits birthday, they hosted a Tom Waits tribute.
I like the Rain Dogs period for Tom Waits. Hated The earlier Electra years and then lost track of him. Apparently I am in the minority’s here because the night’s performers mostly drifted to the mopey loungy stuff. Irish Ben managed to bring the house down with a solo, voice only because they couldn’t get his acoustic guitar feed to work, version of a song called Martha, a song he dedicated to his wife, Helen. Teresa Wilcox went for it with “Clap Hands.” And the band sounded like a million bucks, Phil Marshall, Brian Williams, the drummer from Busted Valentines and the keyboard player from Mighty High and Dry.
Madeline McQueen did a great version of “The Heart Of Saturday Night” and someone named Rod Smith did a reved up version of “Downtown Train.” The whole cast finished with a “We Are The World” kind thing with everyone one on stage singing something like “a freeway will never come” over and over. We had a couple Paradox Brewery Beaver Bite IPAs, saw a whole bunch of old friends, and had good time.