Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Elderly fucked-up people at the edge of America

This weekend before last we went to the Mt. Baker Rhythm and Blues Festival at the Deming Logging Show grounds.

....OK fine. Yes, there is such a thing as a 'logging show' and it is popular enough that they built a special fairground area for it in Deming, a town whose only other claims to fame are the Cedarville Solid Waste Site and the striking number of bald-headed women who live there. I am not shitting you. There are some bald damn women running around in Deming. Never actually been to a logging show myself, but I hear they're pretty cool, if you like seeing things like logs, antique logging equipment in action, wood, competition blacksmithery, log rolling,  competitive tree climbing, customized chainsaws, bar stool racing, sawdust,  top fuel lawnmower racing, logs, competitive axe throwing, logs, and big sweaty mens choppin' wood.  Dead serious, kats.

The showground is a really beautiful place.  You'd think it would be skanky, but it's incredibly well maintained, has a full compliment of amenities, and is surrounded by beautiful green hills and tall cedar trees...complete with picturesque lil' forest critters (chipmunks, deer, alcoholics) wandering around in a picturesque manner.

The Blues Festival is organized by a long-time acquaintance of ours, Lloyd, who basically does this for love of the music and the opportunity to party with musicians, get drunk, and talk on a microphone. It's always a fun event. Good music, good beer, good concessions, deliberately unobservant security personnel, everything you could ask for. If you love R&B, and you love partying with nasty, dirty bikers, armed vegetarians and other fringe types, this yearly event is worth a trip out of your way to come see. THIS is the America that I live in.

I was surprised as hell at the number of young people there. Ida thought they'd all be at home listening to, but no...there they were in their checkered shirts and little funky toques, digging the cougar love, partying alongside the rest of us. Made me proud.

The 'second string' acts were pretty good. One chick was bound and determined to bring back Janis via her vocal cords. The younger crowd practically stormed the stage when she started in. We hung out in the back at the beer garden, mainly because this girl did NOT need amplification and loooooved ripping out those Joplin screams wherever she could fit one in...and she most emphatically DID have amplification. There were small craft warnings in my beer.

The Fat Tones were shit hot. Just totally shit hot. Every one of them. The guy they had on the Hammond and Clavinet was extra super top secret shit hot, in fact. But the guitarist -! Holy whackamole. 90 lbs of perpetual motion with an electric guitar! Picture this amazingly talented crack squirrel in a rayon shirt playing so fast his little paws are just a blur. Just tore it the fuck up.

This year one of the two headline acts was supposed to be Hot Tuna (you have to be really, really old to remember the Tuna.) At the last minute they cancelled. Lo and behold, Lloyd comes up with COCO MONTOYA!!

Coco Montoya is one hell of a musician. He is also a hell of a performer. And he really connects with the audience. He got everyone involved and turned it into a huge party, like he was just jamming in the backyard at a barbecue or something. Only, you know, really good. He even got the Biker nodding his head in time, which is how Germans pogo. Coco and I made a true heart connection that night. Now he won't stop calling me. All he does is breathe. Probably shy. I understand that.

The other headliner was Guitar Shorty.
Guitar Shorty!!!!*
Little short fat dude in a Nudelmans' shirt and a cowboy hat. Little stubby fingers. Jeri curl. Just kind of stands there, doesn't hack and flail. But oh my God, he puts out the most evil! filthy! raunchy! sound! This is a guy that Hendrix admired, right; and you figure out why real quick. Gave me a case of the vapors.  AND the fantods.

He played, then disappeared for awhile, and then all of a sudden he showed up out in the audience with his guitar and started in playing, and just roamed all over the whole field with people following him in a big old hippified heap dancing and smoking him up and being insane.

It's that kind of venue. Waaaaaay better than a club. And I suppose it goes without saying that the Biker and I had a blast, huh.

....YES I kept my clothes on.

*I met the guy! Yeah I did! Shook his hand and talked to him after the show! It was pretty casual too. Only hit me afterward that HOLY FUCK I JUST MET GUITAR SHORTY. Couldn't wipe the grin off my face for HOURS.