If June indeed sees the end of The Dame as we know it, we can take solace that the club will go out swinging and rocking in true prize fighter fashion. Just look at the typically diverse fare on tap for the holiday weekend.
Tonight, Nine Pound Hammer is back to bust things up with blitzkrieg cowpunk tunes from its new Sex, Drugs and Bill Monroe album. Singer Scott Luallen and guitarist Blaine Cartwright have been fronting various Hammer lineups for over two decades. But don’t think their music has settled down any. Everybody’s Drunk, one of the highlights of Bill Monroe, ups the country factor a notch to give the band’s still-thunderous guitar attack a meatier and, dare we say it, more homespun intensity. I’m Your Huckleberry, on the other hand, sounds like Sons of the Pioneers meeting Black Flag. The band also revs up the early ‘80s John Anderson country hit Black Sheep.
Veteran Lexington drummer Brian Pulito and former Taildragger bassist Mark Hendricks complete the current Hammer crew. (From left, in above photo: Hendricks, Pulito, Luallen, Cartwright.)
Hammer heads should also the band will warm up for tonight’s show with a free 5:30 p.m. in-store performance at CD Central, 337 S. Limestone. Call (859) 233-3472.
Then on Saturday, the tone cools at The Dame for the local jazz and groove music of The Upshot Trio. Since opening there two summers ago for Brian Auger, the veteran British keyboardist who has made a career out of forging new groove possibilities out of jazz and pop fabrics, the Trio (guitarist John Arstingstall, bassist James Ross and drummer Patrick Creel) has built a solid repertoire of lyrically based jazz-funk originals and occasional covers.
The original music was neatly spotlighted on last year’s Cocktail Funk album, a crisply performed sampler of lean instrumental exchanges that are pretty jazz-savvy compared to the band’s more spacious and groove-dominate live shows. A personal favorite from the album: a lively bit of modest but frenzied trio funk called Man Eating Plant.
Those checking out Najee’s Saturday’s show at the Opera House might want to stop by The Dame for a nightcap after his concert concludes. The smooth jazz saxophonist’s music steers closer to sleekly produced R&B. But the modern jazz link is still there. And for a $3 Dame cover charge? Shoot, you’ll pay more than that for a cocktail at the Opera House.
Nine Pound Hammer performs at 9 tonight at The Dame, 156 West Main. Tickets are $7. Snakeout and Ponty’s Camper will open.
The Upshot Trio plays at 9 p.m. Saturday at The Dame. Admission is $3. Call (859) 226-9005. Tommy and the Try Tones will open.