Thursday, August 20, 2009

Kid Hart at Bob Night II

Kid Hart at Bob Night II
American Legion Hall, Tallahassee, FL 8-14-09

“Might need a good lawyer. Could be your funeral my trial. Well I cried for you. Now it’s your turn to cry a while.”

- B. Dylan

A franchise has started in Tallahassee that has now become an absolute highlight on my calendar. Area artist (is Sopchoppy an area?) Grant Peeples has started what he plans to be a bi-annual event known as Bob Night. He invites regional musicians to perform their own renditions of Bob Dylan songs. Two are in the books and they were both wildly successful.

The first thing I noticed at these Bob Nights is that the crowd that comes to see a show at the Legion Hall are there for the music. They are tuned in and all about what is happening on stage. The second thing I noticed is that the place fills out. The second show was standing room only in the back. Once again credit goes to Grant Peeples for his dedication and organization. As for both nights the folks knew their Bob too, applauding once they recognized songs, tuned in and turned on.

For Bob Night I I highlighted a band here on my blog that I had never seen before, The New 76ers who really impressed. For Bob Night II I am going to go with the closing act, a Tallahassee band, Kid Hart.

Many of the night’s performances were from well-established members of the Florida Folk music scene, Mimi and the Hern Dogs, Whitey Markle, Scotty Lee, and other popular performers such as Velma Fry and The Sauce Boss. It says a lot for Grant to give a local band, a much younger and louder band a shot, not only a shot but to close the show.

Kid Hart is a two-piece rock band well known and established in the Tallahassee bar circuit. For Bob Night II they recruited a bass player, overheard someone say it was a guy who worked with Eric Hartsfield (lead guitar – singer). The evening was almost entirely acoustic, except for Mimi and the Herndogs – adept at getting asses moving.

Kid Hart plugged in and by this time the crowd was juiced and ready to turn it up a notch (insert beer here). The first notes that came were unfamiliar to many, as a silence followed, but I knew what it was. Maggie’s Farm, not the studio version but instead a dead ringer for the infamous Bob goes electric version played at Newport and documented brilliantly on the recent DVD release The Other Side of The Mirror – Bob Dylan at The Newport Folk Festival.

When the first line was sung falling in on top of the bass and drums the crowd audibly and physically responded. I was up front but turned around and saw a lot of people dancing, shaking it, getting down. The guys in the band were having a blast (well the bass player and the lead, the drummer, Alan Donaldson, brings the stoic and steady drummer thing). Maggie’s Farm was a home run with the crowd, which had to be a relief to the band. You’d have to think they were wondering if they were way out of place at this show.

Can’t stop there though, they turned it up a notch with a well known Bob classic Highway 61. Now glasses are clanking and women are getting turned on. Unlike Bob back at Newport there was no booing to be heard. The song was delivered straight without over cooking the goose. You don’t have to show off on a song like Highway 61, and Kid Hart knew it.

Taking things down a notch they worked in Girl From the North Country. Slow mover that the crowd once again really enjoyed, just like Bob does, Kid Hart showed how this initially quiet folk song can have some kick and drive.

The highlight for me was the closer. All the performances from the night were from the better known first half of Bob’s career. Mimi threw in a fun as hell Mozambique from 75’s Desire but hey that is still 34 years ago. Kid Hart laid it on with Cry a While, a back end barn burner from the 2001 masterpiece Love and Theft. A song Bob himself does from time to time on tour. Hartsfield introduced it by saying:

“We’re gonna’ do one from the church of latter day Dylan.”

Smoking hot performance. Cry a While has this line in it to give you an idea.

“Last night cross the alley there was a pounding on the wall, must have been Don Pasquale making a 2 AM booty call.”

When Kid Hart was done the crowd was clamoring for more, the ladies were clamoring for something else. I think I saw Grant ask the guys if they knew another. Nope. That’s allright boys leave em’ wanting more.

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