"There is something you should know. There's no burritos left in Mexico ..."
- Sally Majestic
That damn lyric (from the song Boulder) has been stuck in my head ever since the Sally Majestic/Dobro Danny Hill show at the Chat Room in the Fairmount Historic District last Saturday.
These days everyone wants to live in the Fairmount, but back when I lived there in the 1980s things were different. I remember during the summer, when it was too hot to sleep, we would lie in the grass, stare up at the stars, and play "What's that caliber?" We also parked our cars on the grass in front of the house, just to provide cover.
These days, though, there's a nice picket fence in front of that house, and the bullet holes are all patched up. The whole neighborhood has turned around, and the dive bar across the parking lot from my old house is a much cooler place. The Chat Room has a pool table, free Wi-Fi, a couple of computers set up to go online and, on occasion, really killer live music in a really intimate setting.
There's no stage, just an area that they clear out in the back of the bar. I watched as Dobro Danny Hill fired up his shiny chrome resonator guitar and kicked out some unbelievable blues. Hill plays that resonator like it was a part of him, and he sings with an authority that you just don't get from Stevie Ray Vaughan-wannabe Texas blues bar players. When Hill growled "Y'all better wake up, dammit, this ain't no funeral in here" you better believe it got everyone's attention. This is blues done the way God intended.
Enter the legendary Sally Majestic, or at least three-fifths. We had Scott Vernon and John Stevens on acoustic guitar and vocals, and the immortal P.J. Fry on bass.
Since the drummer wasn't there, Lucas White (of the Missile Men) crawled up on top of Fry's bass amp and played a djembe. I love a Sally Majestic show. The band's music is an infectious mix of rock, funk and reggae with captivating harmonies and entertaining stage banter. At one point, Vernon and Fry decided to do the Beatles Yellow Submarine, and Tony Diaz (of Goodwin/Missile Men fame) did the John Lennon spoken word parts.
Before it was over, everyone in the packed house was singing the chorus at the top of their lungs.
During the course of the evening, we didn't even hear a single bullet fired. Fairmount, you've come a long way, baby.
Dobro Danny Hill: www.myspace.com/dobrodannyhill
Sally Majestic: www.myspace.com/sallymajestic