The best way to attend a gig is to be prepared. But sometimes, as you may well have experienced yourself, no matter what you do you are not entirely prepared. And that can be a good thing.
The few times that I had heard The Betsie Beers play live a few times last year, I really enjoyed what I saw and heard. So, I quietly hoped they would continue doing what they were doing regardless, and not fade away as so often happens when artists are faced with a fickle market.
So, imagine my pleasure at seeing the Facebook event to their debut album, Heartbreak Road, launch! It was to be held at the Three Feathers Diner in Woodstock (never been there) so I decided to check out the venue and see what the band had hidden up their collective sleeve since I had last listened to them live.
On the eve, my preparation included wearing a dress, without leggings (it is spring after all) for a change, and listening to a JJ Cale and Eric Clapton collaboration while driving there, and upon the return home.
For starters, I just loved the venue. Three Feathers Diner is basically a revamped industrial building. But not revamped too much, so it has a rough charm to it and lots of space without losing atmosphere. Turns out, The Betsies (as they are also called by friends and fans, or Besties I heard at least once) have quite a following already because the place was packed by the time they hit the stage. I’m not sure how long the set lasted, but that just means I wasn’t paying attention to the time. Their music was fun, an infectious business, which quite easily spread to the audience – dancers, seat boppers and head nodders.
Seems that The Betsie Beers too were having a good time, because long after they had left the stage, with an encore, and the DJ had started playing, they returned to the stage and started playing again!
Being a person that can get bored quickly, I always keep an ear out for new music. This is one of the things I enjoy about this band. Their country and bluegrass sound is fresh in a market that seems to favour either bland mainstream offerings or blues and rock. Nothing wrong with the latter, but you get my drift. Fickle crowds. The Betsie Beers’ music has several layers to keep your ears tuned in: banjo, guitars (electric and acoustic), fiddle, mandolin, drums, double bass and plenty of harmonising. A newbie within earshot made the valid comment that adding some variety could only make their repertoire even better.
But how to describe their music besides sticking a label on it? Well, to be honest, listening to The Betsie Beers just makes you feel damn fine. As mentioned, it’s fun! When you go and see them perform (or is that play?) be prepared to smile broadly and to tap at least one foot at some stage, no matter how stodgy you think you are. You may even start singing and dancing along. In fact, you probably will, if only in the relative privacy of the restroom.
Thus be warned. You are going to have fun and feel good.
So, as I mentioned at the start, be prepared.