February 12, 2023- The past two nights have been spent at Raven Cafe, enjoying two very different musical groups, who were also surrounded by two very different, though equally enthusiastic, groups of followers. Cross-Eyed Possum, a rock and blues trio, played Friday night, surrounded mostly by a close-knit group of family and friends. Their fare ranged from The Grateful Dead’s “Sugaree” to “Back Where I Began”, an original song that wistfully describes the pull of home, even as one makes plans to move forward in life. Basically, I felt the energy of people who are most comfortable when in their own family circle-though this energy was less pronounced than in the first few times I have seen Possum perform here.
Last night, a much more effusive, and welcoming, air, complete with a packed house, greeted me, as Galactogogues were back. I have described this family band in an earlier post. Meg, the matriarch, again led her children and in-laws on a musical journey, ranging from Jimmy Rogers’ “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” to the somber bluegrass tune, “Pretty Polly”. Their original songs celebrate the natural world and underscore the challenges faced by women and girls, but not in a woeful manner. The huge audience actively participated in the festivities, tonight, with much more dancing and singing along than in last night’s group. There was just a more fanciful air, and less wariness of those outside the inner circle, if indeed the Bohrmann family even has such a thing.
I say this, not as a critique of my own reception, as I basically sit, listen and observe-taking the time to chat with a few friends who happen by my table. A more objective sense was derived by noting the response to each setting of another man, slightly older than me, who makes a point of introducing himself to several people in a group. His shy, but pleasant air usually leads to his sitting in the midst of the house and chatting up a few people around him. On Friday, he sat away from the crowd; on Saturday, he was in the thick of things. I personally felt a lot more relaxed with the Galactogogues crowd, as well.
Tonight, I took in the Super Bowl, with a small group of people, few of whom I know personally, at the American Legion Post. older We watched as the popular synthetic and R&B singer, Rihanna, made her first live musical appearance in five years, as part of the halftime show. It featured a medley of her most popular tunes, with her voice clear as ever. The dance routines were not my favourite style of dance, but judging from the television commentary, the show went over well with many people. The mostly older crowd here gave her a thumbs down, but that seems par for the course. People forget the way our parents’ generation disapproved of our tastes in music.