Meeting New Friends on Barstools in ‘Hamp

Last night I sat at a bar and learned quite a bit from a new friend. I had arranged to meet my usual Friday night cohorts at the Brewery, in Noho’s bustling downtown. Shoul and Joe were there and Kevin Downey, the cave photographer. Then we were joined by Jim Neill, who runs the publicity for Iron Horse Entertainment. A Beatles tribute band that was playing the Calvin that night was down a Lennon. “We got a call, the guy who plays John had a bad strep throat, so they had to send a stand-in for the character.” Later that night we listened to the band doing a pretty good rendition of ‘Tax Man’ as we stood outside the theatre.

Neal told us about one of his favorite bands, the short-lived Jeff Buckley, who died at age 27, just like his dad did. Buckley drowned in the Mississippi river, and left a legacy of greatness. Joe and Jim agreed that his live shows were transcendent, as if it was a magic force on stage, mesmerizing.

Jim and I talked about blogging, and the serendipity of meeting people you have met only through the words on each other’s blogs. Jim’s blog tells a lot of the fascinating inside stories about the Iron Horse and the other Northampton venues, like a recent post where a dad sent in his daughter’s music and confidently expected to just arrange a performance there. He thoughtfully explained to dad that it wasn’t as easy as setting up a dentist’s appointment to play the ‘Horse, but took the time to listen to the child’s music, and commented,

“She’s confessing feelings. The ones she has. She’s not making stuff up. She’s reporting, playing with words and images a bit too, seeing the wind, the sun spinning, and her rhymes are creative “the teacher’s boring, I can’t ignore him.” In the end she didn’t get the gig, (yet) but he gave her some good advice and who knows, she just might end up making it big.