Nobody was exactly sure what to expect from The Barn's inaugural production on December 12. One thing that was clear by showtime was that a vein was tapped directly into the beating heart of La Grange, the buzz was palpable and the crowd was pumped. A genuine live music, concert experience had arrived in town!
With thanks to Little Big Fat and Mr. Blotto, the eager crowd was entertained well into the night, with plenty of smiles, hugs and handshakes to bolster the room and raise the energy levels to previously unseen heights (for La Grange, that is). Drinks were flowing, the folks were dancing, and the bands were in top form.
When LBF stepped up to christen the stage at the Mambo Room, the official journey of The Barn had begun. Opening with the original tune The Man From Bakersfield, LBF tore through a number of tunes that will be featured on their forthcoming debut album and a crowd pleasing, improv-heavy take on The Pretenders' My City Was Gone. This set also featured the debut of Royal Chair, a mellow and soulful tune that evokes My Morning Jacket and a hint of R&B. By the time the band had closed their set with the one-two punch of the jammed out Monroe and a wicked cover of Zeppelin's The Lemon Song, crowd was fully primed and ready for the forthcoming Blotto throwdown.
Following a rousing introduction from WDRV/The Drive's Carla Leonardo, Blotto went old-school with with the opening strands of Sail Away Virginia which brought many in the crowd back to their days of Blotto shows past. True to its Grateful Dead inspiration, Blotto cranked out three tunes in The Dead's repertoire (Hey Pocky Way, Estimated Prophet and Fire on the Mountain), delighting the Heads in the crowd, and even featuring a bit of reggae freestyle during FOTM (perhaps a psychic nod to The Barn's upcoming Bob Marley birthday celebration?). Ending the first set with a scintillating Kiss Me In The Morning segued beautifully into an upbeat and fun rendition of Widespread Panic's Tallboy, we went into the set break eager for what was to come.
The second set featured some sweet performances of Blotto original material, culminating in a frantic, fevered 13 minute take on Movie Star, with Paul and Mark weaving guitar lines in and around each other in the tune's long instrumental passage. Most of the late night crowd would agree, the set peaked with an incredible run of Talking Heads' Psycho Killer sandwiching an improvised, Blottofied take on The Twelve Days of Christmas ("...three pizza pies, two pints of Harp and a Guinness in my tree").
And so, the crowd went home happy into the cool, misting night. From the perspective of The Barn, this was an incredible concert to host. It felt great doing this for the community and as a showcase for others to see what our town has to offer.
We know a lot more about what to expect for future Barn events: these are certainly fun, the crowd brings an incredible amount of energy, and they are popular! Regrettably, we had to turn a few unlucky folks away after we had reached our capacity. We apologize for any inconvenience, but I guess we know something else, too... buy your tickets early for future events. We are ready for another go!