There was a very specific demographic at the Handlebar Thursday night. These were products of the Eighties – who came of age drinking microbrews, and listening to public radio shows such as Prairie Home Companion and Thistle & Shamrock. They are the type most likely to support environmental causes, vote Democrat, and go contra-dancing. Laura and I fit right in.
The last time we saw the Battlefield Band was 13 years ago in Tucson. At that time we were amazed at the very young (at the time) fiddler with lightening fast fingers. We were interested to see if he was still with them and if he was still as phenomenal.
Things go off to a rocky start as the crowd was forced to wait outside the concert hall until about 15 minutes until time to start. We still got good seats, but of course things got underway late. The first part of the concert was enjoyable. Three of the four musicians are quite talented – the guitarist, fiddler, and piper. The keyboardist had an OK voice, but his playing consisted of unimaginative chordal padding. There was one sing-along about whiskey, but it was all enjoyable, albeit not as lively as we had remembered from Tucson.
After an incredibly long break, the second set started, and we found out why there had been a delay. The group was late arriving from Detroit, and just got to Greenville at 6:30. That might explain the lack of energy, which continued to diminish as the evening progressed. I felt sorry for the poor piper, who was constantly coughing and blowing his nose. I don’t know how he had the breath support for a concert, but I’m sure his instruments will have to be decontaminated before the next one.
There was another sing-along about whiskey, and after the lovely lilting song about death, we decided that enough was enough and headed home. I’m sure we just caught them on an off-night, but I began to ponder. Do groups such as this have as large a following in their home countries? Or is it a phenomenon similar to when David Hasselhof, who is regarded with disdain in this country, goes to Germany and hits it big? Granted, the Battlefield Band has talent where Hasselhof doesn’t, but I tend to think the latter might be the case.