Updated: Jul 22, 2021
July 9, 2021
Shred Kelly raining happy down on everyone...
Walking up to the pop-up venue at Railtown was so kind. I don't even know where to start. Let's see...
The sight of all the people...
The sounds of everyone talking, laughing...
The Heavy Lighters on Stage on stage...
So! Freakin'! Kiiind!!!
It was just pure happy! A feeling of happiness washed over me that didn't seem forgotten, but definitely lay dormant, and had desperately been needing to be reawaken. It felt like this pent up energy of bliss had been lying in wait for its moment to be released and explode...
"Well, blast freakin' off, maaaan!"
Talking to people here and there, the sentiment was echoed unanimously. Admittedly, I'm having a bit of a tough time finding the proper words to sift through. I was then to myself, and I am now sitting here writing this.
The Heavy Lighters (L to R) - Steve Gevenich, Paul Hinrichs, Brian Rosen and Jesse Lee...
Clearly none of us has been through anything like this before...being cut off from the things we love on a virtual planetary scale. The notion of it is crazy! We all have the things that spoke to each of us that we've missed terribly, and there's a good chunk of people, that for them, this was it...seein' live music.
I'm one of those people!
There's somethin' about live music that is so deeply penetrating. It makes me thing of the end of Michael Franti's, "Is Love Enough," when he sings...
What language do you laugh in?
What language do you cry in?
What language do you dance in?
Make romance in?
Can the feeling that great live music generates ever truly be captured in any kind of words?? I don't think so, at least, not from what I feel. That shit is beyond description. You can't truly put a label on it.
I've been chargin' shows for about 30 years now, and I've put myself through astounding stuff to do so. I've literally been seen crawling in tears on a sidewalk after a show. I've gone to the hospital right after shows, twice. I've checked myself out of the hospital to order Dead tickets for more shows. When I absolutely couldn't stand, even with a cane, I dragged out a stool to sit on, and still threw down. I've done some crazy shit to chase the bliss, you know?!
Through all the pain in my life, and especially in the beginning when everything fell apart, the only thing that never hurt was music. Whenever I've been frozen in pain, as long as I could press play, it's OK. The medicine it has meant to my life has been extraordinary, which is far beyond what most people interpret it to be. I mean, my body was literally breaking down on the Grateful Dead's fall tour in 1993. It started with a cold from the first show in Ohio in early September, which then turned into the flu in Boston, and finally led to me having to fly home from San Diego and go straight to the hospital, and eventually being unable to move or walk by Christmas.
It all happened on Grateful Dead tour. I battled hard to go as much as I possibly could to fix the jonz.
"Music, maaan, music!"
I turned 20 in the middle of it all at the start of December, and by mid-January '94 I was told I was like that for life. Gnarly, gnarly shit! The only thing that kept me sane was the music...to the point that you've been able to find me in tears crawling out of shows, as I eluded to above.
All of that emotion and memory came rushing back when I walked up and saw the Heavy Lighters on stage, creating a very overwhelming sensation. They immediately drew out nearly 30 years of pain, and what music has meant to that. The ultimate transcending medicine!
Sometimes I would be lost in the music, and others I'd be lost in the notion of it all, but most definitely, the entire time, I was taken away by the moment. Everything about it was moving, but almost confusing, as if a lifelong love from a different time has reemerged to infuse the breath of life into the soul...and penetrate deep inside the depths of emotion.
The music was fantastic. I've known Paul for 15 years now, and even though his whole life is music, I had never seen him play an instrument until a few months ago on a facecrack stream with Brian. I've seen them littered all over his house, but never in his damned hands makin' 'em sing!
I'll say this for sure, there's somethin' about the mando (Paul) and acoustic (Steve) combination. There's just a richness in the music. The banjo (Brian) was busted out too, and all accented and anchored by Jesse's bass lines with his beautiful stand-up. (That thing is gorgeous!)
Fan-Gawd-Damned-Tastic, if you wanna be honest about it!!
I mostly stood there in an internal awe with my surroundings, but nothing took me aback more than Paul up there playing and singing.
It almost made me cry watching him up there. It's hard to say how much I love that guy. He's the guy that, when I couldn't lift my arms, he would come and chop a week's worth of firewood for me.
He once drove about an hour and 45 minutes to pick me up from the hospital, and then drove me back to his place, stopping in town to get my prescription filled for me, and made me stay the night, but not before first stopping at my place to get my dog. The quality of Paul is pretty impressive, and has meant a lot to my life since he came into it on August 1, 2006. (It was when I was goin' down to Spokane to see the singer from some band he likes open up for Tom Petty. Live music brought us together.)
Shit like that is immeasurable to me in both comprehension and conveyance of emotion. When I was standing there watching Paul play and sing, I was exploding with an internal love that just riveted throughout me. I loved it so much. So, so much! Couple that with how good the boys were all playing, and the overwhelming feeling of kind happiness in the air, it all carried me away in the depths of something real special.
All the emotion aside, their new band is absolutely incredible. That shit is built for the way I am wired. I was completely blown away. 100% genuinely so! Their sound was old-time enticing, and they were tight! It was almost too much, and I loved every second of it. I talked with Brian after the show, and the amount that they've been putting into making this band work has been impressive, and it showed. I didn't want them to end. I wanted to be selfish and have them play on for at least another seven hours, or so, but the time came when the acoustics were to be put away, and have the electrics busted out, 'cause it was time to carve shit up!
Gettin' ready to roll...
Shit, maaan, Shred Kelly was a whole other kind of magik! They came to get down! The people came to balance as their counterpart with the same blissed-out vigor, with the same goal, to get down!
My brain kind of shut off with it all 'cause it didn't know what to do. The hamster on the wheel in my head faceplanted again and was a blob of mush on the floor in the attic.
There's that word again!
Paul came and stood at the front side by where I was to watch Shred lay some shit down for a bit. I enjoyed taking conscious thought in appreciation for that guy in that moment.
Paul Hinrichs - The guy who single-handedly turned around the live music scene in Nelson, BC...making it world class at that!
At the same time that I met Paul, standing right beside him was Ty, who plays guitar in Shred Kelly. He is an equally great guy.
I gotta admit, even though he's a good bro, I love seein' Ty play his guitar. In all the years of live shows I've been gruuuvin' at, it's real hard to think of anyone who consistently looks like they're having as much fun on stage as Ty. It's freakin' infectious to see. I love it. Bein' happy is awesome, and having fun is the best thing, and it is only ever happy and fun when I watch that guy kickin' that shit out!
"Yeaaaah, maaaan!! Lookkit that shit...Mr. Fun-Happy Guy's carvin' it up! Woo-hoo..."
I just love it. It's that simple!
"Go Ty Go!"
I'm all in!
It didn't take too long for people lining the back to start gruuuvin', and then the front of the stage got flooded with people lookin' to get down. It was the first time there has been dancing in Nelson since before all this COVID madness started. Was that ever nice to see.
There's something about happy people gettin' down to good kind music that makes you feel like everything's gonna be OK. After everything the world has just gone through, and is currently experiencing, it's so needed. Perhaps more than ever! Music brings with it unity in show. Everyone is there individually, but artist and observer connect as one to become like one breathing organism experiencing bliss in unison.
Just like the Heavy Lighters, Shred Kelly was oozing with energy, and the reveling in the nostalgic reemergence of this kind of moment was not only felt by me. The happiness of the people, and the general feeling was that the sentiment was echoed by everyone. We could all hear ourselves in earshot telling each other the same kind of thing.
Maaan, it felt so good to be human again, to explore a blissed out emotion that is able to be shared with a large group of people experiencing the same flow.
Sometimes I chose to gruuuve to the tunes, but sometimes the place where I found joy was just by watching everyone else thrust a radiance into the sky through pure beautiful happy emotion. The whole place was painted in smiles, and it was fulfilling to be with that.
Pure. Beautiful. Happy. Emotion!
Talk about what the world needs more of right now, and geez, maaan, was it ever found at this show with Shred Kelly and The Heavy Lighters.
The last thing I have to say for me personally, is that both groups brought me quickly to a place of transcending beyond my pain. True medicine!
Shred Kelly online...
On the Web
July 22 - Invermere, BC
July 23 - Golden, BC
July 24 - Revelstoke, BC
The Heavy Lighters online...
On the Web
July 30 - Hume Hotel patio - Nelson, BC 🤠