Monday, November 21, 2011

sorry ms are for real

There is no question that I love live music- forever the girl to binge on an artist's music in preparation for a concert, making sure all the words are committed to memory to optimize concert obnoxiousness. Lately though, I've become a big fan of going to shows where I know very little of the artist beforehand. [Tangent: Inauthenticity is a thorn in my side, so I will admit- I am passionate about music, but I am not a musical savant. I don't know every band ever or what their first album was or what their rare B-side was or if its available in vinyl. I like what I like and its eclectic and questionable to say the least. Plain and simple.] Having no expectations leaves no room for disappointment and makes musical surprises possible.

A few weeks ago, my ginger twittered himself some free tickets to the opening festivities at Marathon Musicworks [Tangent: Who says twitter is pointless and a time waster?], a new concert venue in Nashville.  The acts showcased were The Black Belles and Wanda Jackson. Here is the only info I had gleaned about the two acts prior to the show, that occurred this past Saturday.

1. Both artists are on Jack White's Third Man Records label.
2. Somehow over the past several months I acquired a Wanda Jackson song on my itunes, probably from one of those free mp3 samplers that I can never resist, mostly because the word "free" is involved.
3. The Black Belles wear black, and they did something with Stephen Colbert that I have been meaning to research on the youtubes, but easily get distracted by things like this or this...and have yet to check out. [Tangent: I should probably reevaluate my priorities.]
4. I have heard of Wanda Jackson referred to as the First Lady of Rockabilly....telling me she is probably not a spring chicken. [Tangent: ...but I had no idea or age or really even race. Frankly I thought she might be a large black woman judging by her voice (on the one song I had heard). Clearly I hadn't watched the video of it below.]

We got there and loved the new venue [Tangent: Kinda like an old factory that smelled like paint and the best way possible combination.] The crowd was a good mix...the mayor....random older folks...young hipsters...drunken "woo-hoo" girls...people peeled out of a Stray Cats video...and  Jack White. [Tangent: My ginger and I were counting on a run-in with mystical ever-pale genius, but it was not in the cards.] We got up against the stage and bobbed away to the Black Belles, who to me are an obvious product of Jack White. Their music has a lot of similarity and even the lead singer had that Jackish cry in her vocals that is simultaneously endearing and off-putting. They also, not unlike The White Stripes, know how to work a color pallette gimmick without it being ridiculous or contrived. Its something bands don't do enough. [Tangent: I mean having "a look" worked for Run DMC and The Beatles...]

we spent 60% of the show debating on if their hair was a wig.
Then Wanda Jackson took the stage, very sure footed in her Easy Spirit orthopedic shoes, a bouffant that would make Steel Magnolias fans squeal and fluorescent fringed rhinestone-laced bolero jacket.[Tangent: She was adorable and I felt like she was a long lost Aunt that I wanted to connect with...either that or a cousin of Sally O'Mally.]
so much sass. I can't stand it.

I bet Wanda can kick and stretch ol' O'Mally around the corner

Because I had no prior expectations, I had a little shining that amazing musical surprises were sure to ensue....and I was correct. Ms. Jackson (if ya nasty) went from discussing quite candidly her love affair with Elvis (Casually name dropping former BFFs Johnny and Jerry Lee) to singing hymns to talking sugar about her new pal Jack White. Her energy and joy were contagious, and for some reason her routine (some songs old and some songs new...or so I learned.) were completely fresh and current and not at all what one would expect from a Septuagenarian in stretchy pants. 

Before she had ever taken the stage, as the stagehands prepared the stage with a table, a chair and bottle of water-  I heard some chatter among the Wanda Jackson mid 60's superfans behind us, "oh, I guess she may need the chair tonight."  This led me to believe the train to lamesville was about to sound the horn and this would not be riotous as one might expect from a rock and roll show. However Wanda's ass never touched that seat; she was too busy shakin' her pink fringy arms and spraying the first few rows with the aforementioned bottle of water. I love her. I want to be her one day.  Don't sit idle. Shake that fringe. 


  1. "what do hipsters smell like."
    "oh, i don't know, like some smell you've probably never even heard of before. . ."

  2. aw man i wish i had been there! i love wanda jackson! and the black belles!


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