Where to be on New Year's Eve? Some jive dj party just wouldn't cut it...it had to be live music. On any other night of the year, I would have hightailed it south on I-85 to check out this West End Mambo collaboration with the Greensboro Symphony. But on NYE, who wants to be on the highway between 10 and midnight?
It had to be live music...
The Beast. Together with Hammer No More The Fingers, at Broad Street Cafe, Durham's latest endangered nightspot bringing class and culture to the Bull City. Ambience: check. Reasonable: double check (a mere $10). Close to home: gravy.
I didn't think The Beast would have their GarDel-raided horn section, Andy Kleindienst being in Greensboro at the West End Mambo gig, so it was a happy surprise to find Tim Smith sitting at the bar when I came in. Gravy and biscuits.
This party was nice and mellow, teeming with Durham folks in their finery, from insulated flannel to Liberace-worthy fake fur, patent vinyl pumps to biker boots. It was a fashion trail mix. Nice change of pace from the sleek and sweaty salsa scene.
The Beast gave an awesome, intimate live set from about 10:30-11:30. Intimacy is one of Broad Street's virtues. There was at least one new joint, and Pierce also billed the Kwanzaa documentary soundtrack tune, "The Black Candle," (click on link to see video) as a New Year's Eve exclusive.
Tim Smith crooned "Let's Stay Together," as only Tim Smith can, and embellished a few other tunes with his saxophone. Here he is soloing on "More To Me" off The Beast's latest album Silence Fiction:
As The Beast got ready to close down their set with "Translation" (from Silence Fiction featuring Orquesta GarDel), I got another jump for my money. Brushing past me to get onstage in mid-mambo is Andy Kleindienst, fresh off the interstate, with his trombone out and blasting. It was great to catch the on-stage reunion for posterity:
Andy reports that West End and the Symphony was "solid," the Latin rhythm section was integrated into the symphony throughout, and that a lot of people were dancing. More eye-witness reports welcome!
Hammer No More was a good pairing. It was my first time seeing them, and I understand what the fuss is about. Nice sound, smart music. After the countdown, they rocked a still-willing crowd from about midnight to 1:00.
Happy New Year, everybody. 2010 will be a whole new ball game for Latin music on tour! More on this soon.