My evening started off
normal enough. I was having
dinner with some colleagues from work, doing the
normal guy thing, drinking, eating, talking politics
and discussing the finer qualities of the female
anatomy. Turns out that's a long list by the way.
Anyways, I told the guys, "hey, you gotta come see
this guy Nick Curran tonight. It's hot stuff, come
check it out." As usual, excuses abound and I'm in the
usual position of going to these shows by myself. But
one of the guys piped up, a fellow from India asked if
he could come. I said, sure, follow me, later fellas
and off we went.
We got to the Texas Women's Federation Center and
spent a good 15 minutes walking around the building
looking for a door that was open. But as we made our
way to the west side, I began to hear the familiar
sound of jump blues coming from the west side of the
building. A minute later, we were inside and there was
Nick and the band up on stage doing their thing with a
couple hundred of the most focused swing dancers out
there on the floor. I say focused because, it was all
about the dancing. There was probably a handful of
people on the outside taking a breather or talking
with friends. But everybody else was dancing. My first
thought was, hmmm, guess I'm the only person here for
the band. LOL. Oh well. And at the moment, I realized
that my co-worker from India had disappeared. I went
looking for him and found him at the front trying to
get his money back. I asked him what was up and he
said that he felt uncomfortable with all these young
people here and not knowing how to dance. So I said,
that's cool, later and went back to the show.
Nick and the guys had the groove going as usual.
Preston and Damien, what can I say? Those two together
as a rhythm section can lay it down, rock solid and
jumpin'. Each time I see the band, I'm more and more
impressed with Damien on drums. Yall should pay
attention to what he's doing back there. It's special.
And we all know about Preston's reputation. But
reputations don't really do it justice. Listen
carefully to each and every nightlife song and you'll
realize as I did, Preston is the song. It's not
flashy, it's not in your face. And it's so cliche to
say "backbone" or something like that. What you get
with Preston is a bassline that fits, every time. It's
got pop, it flows and the timing ... you could set
your watch to it. Greatness.
After soaking myself in the rhythm section, I went
straight for the main course. I made my way towards
the front of the stage where I could try and steal
some of Nick's signature rock-a-billy/swing/jazz/jump
blues licks. Not happening. Is it just me or does Nick
have conservation of movement nailed down to an art
form? His left hand barely moves and yet there is a
constant stream of tasty and well chosen notes that
just seem to flow out of his guitar. You'll see a
little movement here and there when he quickly slides
up to a position and back again. But everything is
done so effortlessly and quickly that it's very hard
to figure out what's going on. I assume that this
comes from years and years of practicing and the need
to be able to do it while singing at the same time.
And perhaps, that's a lesson in itself. You aren't a
pro until you can do this stuff in your sleep without
thinking about it. Needless to say, I'm a big fan.
The Nightlifes had a new sax player last night whose
name I didn't catch. He seemed to be fitting in well
and I even noticed some joking around and stuff going
on with him and Nick on stage. The guys seemed to be
having a good time. I got to talk to Nick and Preston
briefly which is always one of my favorite things
about going to a blues show. The guys are great to
talk to and very approachable.
My favorite thing about the evening was this one
little girl who was GLUED to the stage watching Nick
and especially Preston perform. Preston would give her
a little wink now and then and she could not keep her
eyes off the guys. Meanwhile, the rest of the crowd
was oblivious. I remember thinking to myself, "that
girl know's where it's at." Good for her. We need more
blues fans, and I think the guys may have planted a
seed in this case. That's good to see.
This review would not be complete without a comment on
the retro fashion displayed on stage by the band. The
sax player and Damien both took the easy route and
kept things pretty tame. So the real battle for "Best
Dressed" was between Preston and Nick in my opinion.
Nick had his schtick going on as usual with an
ensemble of retro style clothes featuring a
see-through shirt, some cool green colored slacks and
matching leather green leather shoes. This color green
is not a common shade, so big points for finding
matching shoes. Preston had his big purple Gangsta of
Love outfit on featuring a purple and white plaid
suit, a purple matching hat and purple shoes? Didn't
see the shoes. Preston got added style points for
having a matching purple bandana to complete the
Gangsta Hubbard image. In the end, this reviewer had
to give a slight edge to Preston in this case for
finding a way to make big and purple look cool instead
of like Barney and Friends. But then again, that
little girl sure was staring at Preston? NAAAH.
Anyways, it was great show even though it was not a
normal gig. I enjoyed it immensely. See you guys at
the next one.