Saturday March 16, 2019 – In some circles, this was also Faux St. Patrick’s Day because the Real Deal is on a Sunday this year and day drinking on a Sunday is unheard of. So instead we move it to Saturday, problem solved.
If we can solve problems like this with so little discussion and social media angst, what’s the deal with basically everything else wrong with the world?
But now is not the time for such heavy topics. Besides, the solution is well above my pay grade and ‘sphere of authority;’ I’m just here for the music and the vibe. Tonight’s bill at Taphouse was suppose to be Deathhouse Blues and The Heart Stompers but The Crud pulled down a Deathhouse-er, his body riddled with infestation so devastating as to completely silence his guitar. No problem, now batting cleanup……The Heart Stompers.
In a previous life, The Heart Stompers were known as ‘Gina Dalmas & The Cow Tippin’ Playboys’ and had a death grip on the Veer Local Music Award for Best County Artist between 2012 and 1016. Personally speaking, if I had a chance to weigh in (or as my East Tennessee kin like to say, ‘if I had a dog in that race’), Cow Tippin’ Playboy is a moniker I would wear with a tinge more pride and authenticity than Heart Stomper. But alas, I’m rarely consulted on such matters and my role in branding is, unfortunately, completely passive in nature.
But the music! What about the music dammit!
Tonight was a blend of Country, Roots, and Americana. So what exactly is this, what does this mean? Pretty much anything you want it to as long as someone plays an acoustic guitar at some point during the evening. To be honest, I’ve never really understood/embraced the genres of Roots and Americana because the definition can occupy any lane of the 46 lane superhighway known as music. Do you have a Toots Thielemans Unplugged cover band rehearsing in your garage every Wednesday evening? That would be Roots. Or maybe Americana save for that pesky fact that the namesake is actually of Belgian descent.
But none of that matters, not one little bit. Labels: It’s what has gotten us into the mess through which we daily slog. St. Patrick’s Day Syndrome, let’s just call it whatever we want and enjoy the fact that we get a chance to pull that disgusting green suit coat out of the back of the closet and drink green dyed Bud Light in public during daylight hours. So this is Roots, this is Americana, this is Country. Do you want it to be Iberian Hip Hop? No problem, I’m down with that as well. Just as long as we can find the groove. It all just works.
The Heart Stompers ripped up Taphouse with their own blend of magic that reached in deep and wouldn’t let go. Tight as a glove, righteous as a fist. There was twang, there was rhythm, there was vocal harmonizing beyond reproach. Taphouse wasn’t really set up to provide Boogie Space this evening, but no matter, it was a night for Table Dancing. Sit in your chair and let the beat transform you into a seated Dancing Machine. If you were able to sit completely still you had no soul, plain and simple. It was a night for the music to move you, to imagine yourself slinking and slithering to the finely woven thread of rhythm ala Dwight Yoakam at his finest.
Should you go and see The Heart Stompers? Why have you already not? There were a million options on this Faux St. Patrick’s Day and yet a formidable crowd of a surprisingly wide age variety chose to wind down the festivities (or prep for Real St. Patrick’s Day) vibing with The Heart Stompers. But there is always room for exactly one more to join the party.
A bit about the venue: Taphouse is a local legend in Ghent, it has withstood way more than any structure should; Indeed, if these walls could talk. When Parker Harrison and Adalaide Rooney assumed the helm of Taphouse, they had a vision of what it should be but never lost sight of what it was. Instead of a complete overhaul, they brought out the Venue Cuisinart, dumped in equal shares of Who We Were, Who We Are, and Who We Will Be, combined it with a pinch of ‘We’re Norfolk and We Have A Chip on Our Shoulder’ and turned the thing up to Vibe-o-licious. Come thru and see the results, you won’t be disappointed. If you haven’t visited the new/improved Taphouse, you must erase that sin from your present and go. This is Norfolk Legend, don’t let apathy turn our venues into yet another historical research project. Celebrate the labor of love that Parker and Adalaide have brought to fruition in the here and now, support their efforts by getting a burger and a beer. And see a show! Because music born and bred in 757 equals Can’t Miss.