The G&Ts were courtesy of my friend Rob, who I ran into at Tonic. We were there to see Piñataland, a guitar/accordion/violin/drums/tuba band whose oeuvre is a mutant cocktail of country, tango, pre-war cabaret, murder ballads, klezmer, and history lesson. They do not play anywhere near as often as I would like, and in the past year when they did play I was often unable to go due to lack of funds or scheduling conflicts, so I was exceedingly glad of the chance to catch them tonight. (Rob was probably even happier; he doesn’t go out much since he became a father last year, and he may not get another chance for a while becuase his nanny just gave three weeks’ notice.) As a bonus, John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants was there becuase his wife, the lovely and talented Robin Goldwasser, was in the band that came on after P-land, The Last Car, along with Chris Anderson (late of Muckaferguson) and a woman whose name I did not catch. I enjoyed their set enough to put my contact info on their mailin glist before I hauled ass for the Living Room, where Mike Viola was playing.
Since Mike’s set was scheduled for 10 p.m. and I didn’t arrive ’til 10:30, I only caught the last three songs . However, that proved more than enough time to catch the tattooed waitress’s eye, think what the hell, and order a shandy to meet the drink minimum. So I was pretty merry by the time I went to the stage to say hi to Mike after his last song, though thankfully sober enough not to drop his electric guitar when he asked me to hold it while he retrieved his acoustic from the back of the stage.
“I saw you at Joe’s Pub when you played with Todd a few weeks back!” I told him. (That was a show to celebrate the release of an album’s worth of material which Mike recorded with Todd Foulsham, a childhood friend and ex-bandmate, in the 90s, during a period when it looked like Sony might spirit them to fame and fortune. Instead the material sat on tape for a decade. Such is life.)
“Oh yeah? What did you think?”
“Loved it! And so did the restroom lady.”
“Excuse me?” asked Mike, clearly wondering if he’d nmisheard.
“After your set, I went to the ladies’ room, and the attendant — you know, she turns on the water, pumps the soap — asked, ‘Did you enjoy the show?’ And I said, ‘Yes, very much,’ and she said, ‘The singing was very beautiful.’”
“Yep! So you’ve got that going for you.”