The girls and I visited the Narrows Center for the Arts to see Crooked
Still perform. I'm not sure they really knew what to expect; this was
their first live music show. The short story is that it was a long
evening and everyone had a great time.
Maggie had work to do for her class, so the girls and I were on our
own. We arrived 30 minutes before the show and the venue was already
pretty full. There was ample space on one of the pews, but some people
arrived later and wanted to sit next to their friends, which made for
The layout of the Narrows Center is very cozy. The building itself is
an old factory, and the topmost floor is where performances are held.
You enter through a small gallery area into a large room whose windows
face the Taunton River, overlooking Water Street. Blocking some of the
windows is a large black curtain behind a small stage. Right in front
of the stage there are a number of small tables about the size of card
tables. Set back a little farther are pews which surround the stage on
We sat on the "stage left" side of the stage, off the corner but a
couple of rows back. It wasn't the best view, actually -- but it was
close to the snack area, so the girls got to share a brownie while I
grabbed a coffee to wait for the performance. The next time we go,
we'll show up early with a cooler and food (it's BYO whatever) and grab
It was too dark for my camera to get a good picture, and during the
performance I didn't want the bright LCD disrupting any-one's
enjoyment (from our vantage point, a quick snap would have been
pointless; I would have had to aim carefully and make many attempts).
The only picture I got was the empty stage between sets.
The show started a bit late, and the performers explained that they
were on "Portuguese time" -- which meant that they were taking a laid
back attitude after having waited a bit longer than expected for their
(otherwise enjoyable) meal at an unnamed Portuguese restaurant.
Crooked Still are very personable, fun and relaxed. They had a good
rapport with folks in the crowd, many of whom had followed them south
from the Boston area. Aoife O'Donovan mentioned her connection to the
SouthCoast: an aunt and uncle who have a house in Westport. She
professed a great fondness for Westport's legendary Lees
Market for its well-stocked hippie food supply, good for
making vegan dishes such as a chocolate chip banana dessert. Whether it
was a cake or pie, I can't recall, but she was sporting a neon green
Band-Aid as a result of a mishap while baking it.
We heard about Corey DiMario's recent wedding and the night they spent
in the UMass Dartmouth dorms. It struck me that these folks would fit
right in with the JJKCriminals when Corey detailed an unfortunate dare
involving two tablespoons of wasabi chased by a shot of Jameson. Why
didn't we think of that? Dr. Gregory Liszt found it amusing that the
dare was to prove Mr. DiMario's manhood, yet it resulted in much
crying. Wasabi does tend to have that effect. My personal experience
with wasabi peas (coincidentally purchased at Lees Market) involves a
poker game, eating too many of them without thinking and losing my
ability to taste for a couple of days. Maggie says the effect was
caused by a cold I had coming on, but I blame the wasabi.
In a funny coincidence, our dinner conversation that evening was
about the difference between the food flavors you taste with your
tongue (limited to the five basics: salt, sweet, sour, bitter and
umami) vs. those that require a sense of smell. The band has a bagpiper
friend who lacks the olfactory range of tasting, and exploits this by
taking bets to eat things that other people would find disgusting. His
worst experience? Eating a quantity of salt (sorry, the exact measure
is eluding me at the moment, but it was somewhere between a couple of
tablespoons and a cup) which resulted in 36 hours of hell.
After hearing that they like to discuss and compare state slogans and
mottoes, I wish someone closer to the stage had asked them what they
thought of Fall River's "We'll Try."
They performed all of my favorites except for "Little Sadie" from Shaken
By A Low Sound. Maggie might have been disappointed;
"Sadie" is the Crooked Still song I knew she had the biggest chance of
liking. "Come On In My Kitchen" is my favorite, and I wasn't
disappointed to hear them pour some serious emotion into their
performance of it.
They called a number of children to sit at the foot of the stage, where
Aoife could see that many of them knew the lyrics. She said it was her
dream to see little girls singing along. My girls were a bit
too shy to sit so close to the performers. I told them "they
don't let you do that when you're an adult, so you ought to take
advantage of it while you're young!" But they were quite happy where we
The entire audience was encouraged to join in on a couple of the songs.
In "Wind and Rain" we sung "Oh the wind and rain"
and "Oh the dreadful wind and rain." And during
"Shady Grove" we pitched in on the refrain (which is repeated quite a
few times at the end of the song, not that anyone seemed to mind). By
that point in the evening K was quite exhausted, but perked back up to
lend her voice to the crowd.
End of the Tour
Uninhibited Cellist Rushad Eggleston only has 3
more performances with Crooked Still, and it was great to see
him before he moves off to the west coast. I don't know exactly where
he's going, but if you hear about a sneth-metal
band called "The
Wild Band of Snee"
Wizards?" I advise you to check it out. Rushad threw a wrench
in the works for their encore, suggesting an impromptu Hank Williams
song instead of the song Aoife had planned. It was a pleasure to hear
them perform "Long
Gone Lonesome Blues." The ear-tickling vocal somersaults had
I believe the band is monitoring Internet buzz via Google Alerts, so,
if you read this, thanks for such an enjoyable experience, especially
for the girls who may be even more enthusiastic to see live music in the
future. If you come back to the Narrows Center I'll be there. I'm
looking forward to the new album in January and hearing Crooked Still
with its new band members.