Last night was our 12th time seeing Girlyman perform live. You’d think there wouldn’t be an opportunity for too many firsts but you’d be wrong. Amazingly, this was the first time we’ve seen Girlyman where we went alone. In the previous 11 shows, the smallest group we brought was two additional people, and the largest was 19 (including us).
Girlyman recently released their brand new studio CD, Everything’s Easy. I reviewed that CD in this post. A few weeks ago, they toured in Canada. Last night, they began an East Coast tour in support of this new CD.
Last night’s show was at Infinity Hall in Norfolk, CT. This is a beautifully restored building (from 1883) that opened for live music just a year ago. In May, they also opened a top-notch Bistro.
I’ve written about Girlyman so many times, that regular readers would be bored if I just repeated how wonderful they are/were last night. I’ll just mention a few things that were different (keeping in harmony with the opening paragraph, where I say there were a few firsts last night!).
Nate played a little electric keyboards (mostly with his left hand, with his baritone electric guitar still strapped on). This was a keyboard supplied by their opening act (who I will cover after I say a few more things about Girlyman).
Ty played a red electric guitar on a few numbers.
Doris was just her usual awesome self:
For roughly 2/3’s of the set, Girlyman had a drummer on stage with a full drum set. Her name is JJ Jones, who is the drummer for the opening act. She was excellent, throughout both sets. What was particularly interesting for me was hearing Joyful Sign (the second song of last night’s set), with a full drum set, live. It has a full drum set on the studio CD, so this was a more faithful reproduction of that.
I still love Girlyman without the drums, with or without Ty playing the djembe, but having a good drummer supporting them (and freeing Ty to play more guitar, something I’ve mentioned in some other posts), was a very nice touch. I’ll be fine with that becoming the norm, or reverting to no drums, if/when they stop touring with this opening act.
Finally, Nate was in rare form last night. His tuning songs were great and plentiful. All of their banter was hysterical. The audience ate up every drop of the music and laughter. They were on for just about 100 minutes.
Opening for Girlyman was Po’ Girl, the same group that they toured with in Canada, except that there, the roles were reversed, and Girlyman was the opening act.
Po’ Girl is made up of two exceptionally talented women, Allison Russell and Awna Teixeira, both singer/songwriters with fantastic voices and gorgeous harmonies between them. Accompanying them (and I guess now technically part of Po’ Girl) are Ben Sidelinger and the aforementioned JJ Jones. Between the four of them, they play a wide range of instruments, all expertly!
Allison Russell appears to be the front-person for the group. She has a wonderful voice and personality, and plays the clarinet, guitar, glockenspiel (and perhaps I missed one or two others!). Her clarinet play is outstanding, and unexpected in this type of group.
Awna Teixeira sings beautifully and plays guitar, electric bass, a small accordion, electric keyboards, glockenspiel and a bicycle bell (probably more). She has an energy on stage that draws you in.
Ben Sidelinger played the banjo, dobro, guitar (acoustic with Po’ Girl, and electric during the joint encore with Girlyman), electric bass and bicycle bell. He’s superb on all of them. As you will see from his site (linked above), he built the guitars that Po’ Girl was using! He also comes across as one of the nicest people around!
JJ Jones played the drums and a bicycle bell. She also played the tambourine on one number during the Girlyman set. She was as wonderful playing with/for Po’ Girl as she was for Girlyman. Given that she played both sets, and was highly active throughout, she’s a kinetic wonder! She also delivered on a number of rim shots and other appropriately effective sounds during many of Nate’s comedic forays.
Po’ Girl played a 30 minute set, and as mentioned above, joined Girlyman on stage for an energetic rendition of their always wonderful Son of a Preacher Man encore.
Infinity Hall is nearly a two hour drive from our house. Given that this was opening night for the tour, and that we will be missing them a week from tonight when they play at Joe’s Pub (our favorite place in general, and the place where we first discovered them), we were happy to make the drive.
We drove up early, intending to eat dinner in Norfolk. We knew they had a Bistro, but we actually didn’t realize it was a full-time restaurant that operated separately from the theater (they are in the same physical building). In addition to us not fully researching the Bistro in advance, we also were hoping to surprise Girlyman so we decided not to eat at the Bistro, just in case they might spot us.
Just a few doors down from Infinity Hall is an Italian Restaurant / Pizza place called Mizza’s Pizza. We ate there and both thoroughly enjoyed our meals (good value too!). They were reasonably empty while we were there, so we ended up spending much of the time chatting with a young man who was one of our servers (he’s engaged to our other server). A delightful conversation getting to know a very interesting person. We’ll look him up again in the future.
Afterward, we found out that the Bistro is awesome (from a number of folks, including the Girlypeople themselves, and they are definitely foodies!). Next time, we’ll eat there, even though we really enjoyed our meals and the people at the Italian place.
Our surprise was only partial. Doris came out before their set and Lois got to tap her on the shoulder. So, we surprised one of them. We caught up briefly after the show, but all of us were dog tired, and had long drives ahead, so we skedaddled and got home at 12:40am.
We had a great time. Thanks Po’ Girl and Girlyman, as well as all of the folks at Infinity Hall (and the Italian Restaurant for that matter) for making last night a great night out!