Last night was just one of those nights. I was tired, parking sucked and I couldn't get my camera to work. It's one of those night's when I wonder to myself why I keep doing this shit. But sitting there in the basement of The Blue Monk, I remembered that in the end the only reason I do any of this is for the music. There might not be fame or fortune at the end of the night but it doesn't matter when you get the chance to see a show this good.
Opening the night was an acoustic solo set by Dylan Summers. Best know as the front man for the working class punk band My Life In Black And White, thankfully his powerfully dark lyrics came across as equally potent in this pared down format. Singing a mix of My Life standards and a few newer songs, Summers highlighted a raw emotional well from which he seems to draw even deeper when it's just him and a guitar on stage. It's a treat to see that an artist like Summers has more than one facet. With My Life currently on hiatus, I look forward to seeing more of Summers solo work. I feel he is developing into an awesome song writer and was a perfect choice to warm up the crowd and set the mood for the night.
As Dylan's set wrapped up it was clear that the crowd had filled in nicely with family, friends and long time fans, all there to support Micheal Dean Damron. Like most of them, I too was there to witness and be part of his recording of a live album slated for release sometime later this year on the Suburban Home label. So as Damron stepped to the stage, joined by harp man extrodinar David Lipkind and Eric Kotilla on percussion, the room was nearly buzzing with excitement. Maybe he was feeling it too because halfway through the first song he forgot the lyrics and so in perfect Damron fashion he said "F**k It!" and launched right into the next song on the set list. I sure as hell hope they keep that for the record.
With that hiccup out of the way the rest of the show went great. Playing a diversely rich set, Damron tore into a long list of songs that included a broad mix of originals from the last ten years and some wonderfully unexpected covers from artists so drastically different as David Allan Coe and Concrete Blonde. Aggressive and raw Damron ripped away at each of these tunes with his wonderfully ragged voice and a passion so powerful we in the audience were awe struck as he gave new life to these songs we love so much. As usual Lipkind blew away on his harp with an unearthly vigor that took this performance and these songs to the next level. Over all this was an amazing night filled with the outstanding energy we have come to expect out of Micheal Dean Damron over the years. If the record captures even half the energy of the night then it might become, in some circles, as cherished as Johnny Cash: Live at Folsom Prison.
Walking through the cold night to my car, I had a clear and present reminder of what I'm doing this for. Even the day after, the songs dancing around in my head and body buzzing with the energy of last night. I count myself blessed, because life is better when it's filled with music this good.