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Holy Shit, Can Those Cats Play

The missus and I have been privy to a couple of really nice music shows in the past week. Obviously, I rather enjoyed the Carolina Chocolate Drops, as evidenced by the post immediately previous.

Over the holiday weekend, we hung out with a couple we don’t know all that well at a mutual friend’s house in the Berkshires. (Lah-di-DAH, B&E readers! Lah! Di! Dah!) The guy from the couple takes mandolin and guitar lessons from a fella named Michael Daves. He’s a local bluegrass player with a regular Tuesday night gig at Rockwood Music Hall. We hadn’t ever seen him before.

This particular gig at Rockwood was not his usual thing. This time he was being joined by Chris Thile, who you might know as the mandolin virtuoso from Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers, among other things, including a few solo projects.

Rockwood recently opened a second stage. They quite cleverly call it “stage 2.” It’s an intimate space, with only three tables that seat about eight, a few two-person coves along the wall, a bar area with stools, and some room for standing. In other words, it’s a great place to see music.

Especially an act like this one. The two guys played acoustically, sharing one microphone that they’d hover around during solos. And they played and sang. And holy shit can these guys play. When they weren’t playing super-fast, jaw-dropping bluegrass classics, they were melting hearts with songs of loneliness and desperation. One song actually brought the missus to tears. Which meant I had to kick their fucking asses after the show for bullying my woman.

What I most liked about it was the seeming looseness of it all. They didn’t seem to have a set list, instead playing whatever song felt right to play next.

So to the New Yorkers out there, I recommend Michael Daves’ Tuesday night gig at Rockwood. And if you happen to be around when Chris Thile is playing, well, goddamn, he’s not to be missed either. But a lot of people already know that. Michael Daves still feels a bit like a well-kept secret, even if he shouldn’t be.

It was a seriously kickass show.

3 comments on “Holy Shit, Can Those Cats Play

  1. melissa on said:

    Pity I won’t be there on a Tuesday. Anything good going on next Friday or Saturday? Rumor has it that I will be in town all alone and looking for something good to do.

  2. My anniversary is Saturday. Wanna hang out?

  3. Melissa on said:

    Ummmm…think I better leave you to the missus that night. Any availability Friday?

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