Reggae Banjo After 18 months

Reggae Banjo

After 18 months of nagging, Janie managed to get me to a Clumsy Lovers concert.

Opening for the band were a couple of starters: Sugarbeets and Jack Straw. We saw part of the Sugarbeets concert, and weren’t impressed. Trying to figure out logistics for our way home, we were talking loudly over the sound of the band. Finally, I said: “Why don’t we go talk in the lobby since they suck anyway!” The music stopped on “they.” Once we stopped laughing (cackling, howling) over that, we schlepped to the lobby, and a few minutes later to the bar next door to avoid the rest of the openers. I heard Jack Straw was good.

But on to the main course: Clumsy Lovers. There was Ozark, Ireland, Jamaica, and South Africa to be heard in this high-energy quintet. Janie says they were a bit less perky than usual, but I was greatly impressed. Fine, fine musicianship and a show that kept me hopping for two solid hours. Only ten minutes of that was sway pace. Andrea Lewis is a standout on fiddle. Skilled and explosive, we watched her rip through a lot of bow strings. Trevor Rogers plays a mean acoustic lead, switching styles without switching guitars. He’s easy on stage and makes a charismatic center. On the occasionally reggae banjo is Brad Gillard, a quiet, intense player who reminds me too damned much of an ex-boyfriend. I kept looking at him funny. Poor thing, it’s not his fault. Rounding out the band is the dexterous bass of Chris Jonat and the dependable beat of Devin Rice. Because Janie and her friends are more or less groupies, we stood around with the band for a while after the show. Very pleasant bunch. From Stir It Up to Will The Circle Be Unbroken, this show was a helluva fun time.

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