Sunday, 14 February 2010

Don't make me walk like a gunslinger

It was one of those big old country pubs, two stories high and wrapped in iron lace. Somebody thought to paint the pressed tin ceiling a pearlescent cream and I can't say the effect was unpleasant. It seems like forever since I drove South through the high scrub and all that sedimentary rock until I found the ocean in a new place. I didn't see much of the ocean last night, everything was obscured by fog and the rain that turned itself from high to low then back up again.

Spencer picked me up in his big old car, it was full of friends, with beer. We drank beer (except for Spencer), ate chocolate bars, sang along to the stereo. There's nothing quite like a road trip.

I walked in out of the rain lugging a bass guitar in a hard case. I ran straight into Brendon Humphries, the singer from The Kill Devil Hills. He held out his hand and introduced himself, it was a small conversation but I was struck by something odd. It seemed to me that he was kind and open, unguarded in a genuine sort of way. It might be ten thousand years since I have met a person who will just stand like that on the floor and hold out their hand to greet a stranger. Maybe living in the city does have its downside.

I've seen the Kill Devil Hills before, even reviewed them but this gig was by far the best. The crowd was older, more sedate, satisfied to sit at their tables taking long swallows of beer while the band stood up on the stage. For part of the show I moved outside to the long verandah. I sat on an old leather couch watching the torrential rain pour over the ocean while the sound moved through the windows behind me. I'm thinking that moment might have been ideal.

I've written about The Kill Devil Hills before, I think I said there's something of the horizon in their music and I'm not about to change my mind now. Everybody needs a bit of horizon projected by a band of hillbilly pirates once in a while. If you're in the mountains today head up to Hotel Gearin, buy yourself beer, shake the rain out of your hair and just listen. The band will do everything else.

He says that he's tired of singing this song but I don't think I'm tired of listening to him sing it. It's not fair but if I had my way drummer Steve Gibson will be singing 'Drinking Too Much' as often as possible until the day he dies.

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