Saturday the 12th, Steph and I walked into the Pepper Jack at 9 pm and the Woodshed Orchestra was just picking up its instruments. The place, very sadly, was almost empty. No matter. The nine musicians that occupied the stage proceeded to make complete and total magic together…All night.

It was overwhelmingly good. Bass, drums, electric piano, violin, cello, clarinet, trumpet, tuba, and Dave Clark, sporting a white suit and a knit toque with a little penguin on it, conducting, singing and occasionally strumming electric guitar, leading the merry band through his fun-hearted musical creations… Just awesome wacky-beautiful-jazzy fun for a little over 90 minutes.

The ladies of the band singing in three part harmonies... numerous sing-alongs with the audience (all 11 of us, by that point)... bowed cello solos from Monica Fedrigo that made me wanna weep... lots of sprightly, sporadic drum work from Blake Howard, some raunchy plunger-on-the-trumpet action from Lyna Allemano, Julia Hambleton’s warmly wondrous clarinet lines… Everyone on stage just rocked, and they could all sing. Bassist Mike Overton even stepped up to the main mic for a number that was oddly funky.

Some songs were free jazz weird, some were funky love fun, some were heartbreakingly soulful, and there was one deep slow New Orleans flavored blues jazz workout… Syncopated a capella love chants, and an awkwardly awesome brand of improv poetry stage banter on Clark’s part.... All of his lyrics pretty much involve love, joy and good happy things.

This indie rock hippie was in hog heaven! I should have actually taken my recorder thingy tonight, even just to grab his talking… DRATIT!

Fuckin’ tuba solos too… God, it was the most fun I’ve had sitting down in an almost empty bar ever. You should have been there! It was magical... Triumphant!
© 2006 Steel City Music - Live photos © Stephanie Bell (Emerging Design) 
Dariusz Grabka, and Aaron Wrixon. Hamilton photo © Paul Sveda. Promo photos © their respective owners.