Tuesday, April 11, 2017

California Guitar Trio (CTG)

Sunday night I went out to Natalie's Coal Fired Pizza and Live Music to see the California Guitar Trio (CTG), and the company, the music, and the venue all came together like the smoothest bourbon you ever tasted. Yeah, it really was that good.

Big Mike got tickets to the show, and by the time he bought them it was standing room only.  He offered me a ticket and naturally I accepted, even though I don't do well standing for long periods of time.  Seeing the CTG in person would be worth it.

I arrived at Big Mike's place and discovered that the pelican mob was in pursuit of an Easter Bunny that had somehow strayed up onto the shelf.  Mike should keep a closer watch on the pelicans.

Pelicans in Pursuit
Big Mike drove, and we picked up Lash along the way, which is always a good thing.  Not only is Lash good company, but picking him up guarantees he'll arrive when expected, which might not otherwise happen.

Here's Natalie's when we arrived.
Natalie's on Arrival

Natalie's When We Left
As you can see, we were there a while.  Natalie's serves up coal fired pizza, and the oven is right there at the bar.  You can just see it in the photo below.  The thing to order at Natalie's is the pizza, particularly any specialty pizza.  The pizza is on the very short list of Best in Columbus.  The service is much better than average, there's a good selection of bottled beer, and they have a few different hard ciders, which is nice for me since I'm allergic to beer hops.

The Crowd
Natalie's is a small, specialized venue.  Check out their calendar of events and you'll notice an absence of death metal bands, rap stars, and chainsaw country racket.  The place has the best acoustics of any club I've ever been in, and I've been in more clubs this year than any three of the monkeys at Uncle Bob's Treehouse can count without taking off their shoes, and that includes inimitable Glenn Filthie, who is rumored to suffer sinister hexadactyly.

The acoustics are both good and bad.  Good, because there are no bad seats in the house, there are no echos, and acoustic instruments come through without the distortion of a P.A. system that's a high school pep rally reject.  The bad is that any conversations that anyone is having (like the asinine woman sitting behind me) are magnified, and can be heard all over the club.  And yeah, should the woman in question be reading this, and I hope you are, shove a sock in it and enjoy the music.  It's what everyone else came for.

The audience is advised of this condition before the concert begins, and it isn't some kind of by-the-way announcement, either.  The MC does everything but say what I'd very likely say - shut up and listen! - and we all appreciate it.  The audience is also asked firmly but politely to turn their stupid cell phones off.  The good news is that the audience seems to get the idea, and we weren't interrupted during the show.

The Stage
The opening act was a young man from Columbus, Ohio: Matt Chalk. Paul from the CGT asked Matt to open for them, and he readily accepted.  Matt is only 18 years old, but is already impressive.  Think: how many name bands have you or your friends ever been asked to open for?  Yeah, me too.  Matt played a fairly eclectic selection of blues and folk.

Matt Chalk
Matt Playing the Slide

Matt Chalk

Matt and John
Matt has real talent, was a little nervous on stage, but did an outstanding job.  He has a solid future in music and is well worth watching for in the future.  I expect to see him in other clubs in Columbus.

What can be said about the California Guitar Trio?  It's all been said.  You won't hear a finer acoustic concert anywhere, and that Sunday evening the audience was treated to the best.

California Guitar Trio

Hideyo Moriya

Paul Richards

Bert Lams
The CGT performed everything in one, single set.  The occasional intermission came when one of the group would give a background story for a particular song, or tell an amusing anecdote.  I found Bert Lams anecdote about hitchhiking across several States on the East Coast to be particularly funny.  I used to hitchhike quite a bit when I was younger, and although the majority of people who picked me up were just kind, generous people it wasn't always the case.

Bert Lams
When the CGT eventually get back to Columbus, I'll be at the head of the ticket line.  I think it's worth mentioning that if the group is in town, they are perfectly happy to play private events, and the cost is a long way from phenomenally expensive.


CWMartin said...

Sounds like a great time! But being allergic to hops would suck- especially for the Easter Bunny...

Mad Jack said...

CW, that's bad. Bad bad bad. Oh man is that bad.

Now I want a drink.

RealReldnew said...

A friend of mine lives right down the street. That place is gem.