January 15th, 2010

McGonigel’s Mucky Duck: Ian Moore Preview

It all started with a free round of drinks for a cabin-full of passengers on a Southwest flight from Dallas to Houston. I wasn’t on the flight, of course…that wouldn’t be my luck. But it was the kind of luck that always seemed to follow my beautiful blonde-haired, green-eyed best friend, Dawn. The benefactor was a large, slightly obnoxious New Yorker. A man who, like many others, had taken a liking to the stunning Dawn.

“I’m headed to Houston to see my good friend’s band,” he cooed through a cloud of Maker’s Mark-laced breath.

“That’s cool,” Dawn replied as she slyly turned away…unsuccessfully attempting to widen the gap of personal space between herself and the inebriated groupie.

“Why don’t you come by…bring a few of your lovely friends,” he said, leaning in once again. “It’s at Rockefeller’s. Just come to the back, knock twice, and we’ll get you in for free.”

“Yeah, um…we’ll see,” she replied.

Under “normal” circumstances, with a fellow such as this, Dawn would have exited the plane, waved a quick goodbye, and never looked back. But her curiosity was peaked. Because, you see, Dawn and I were huge live music fans. Fresh out of college, we spent most of our weekend (and many weekday) nights shirking the endless ex-frat-boy hangouts (no offense) in favor of the then few Houston establishments that satisfied our live music fix.

“Who’s the band?” She couldn’t help herself.

“They’re called the Ian Moore Band,” Hefty replied. “The drummer and I are tight.”

Dawn flashed a knowing smile. “We’ll see you later tonight!”

Why so eager, you might be asking. Why would a lovely young lady so quickly place herself back in the path of such an obnoxious ogre?

You guessed it. She’d seen the band before. At a frat party two years prior in College Station, Texas. Much to her dismay, the drunken crowd had paid little attention to the rock quartet. But she knew what she was witnessing. She knew this was no run-of-the-mill, Hootie and the Blowfish college band. She listened. She took it all in. And she loved every ear-ringing second of it.

Obnoxious ogre or not, she was not going to miss an opportunity to see the talented boys again…the free entry was simply an added bonus.

Cut to the back door at Rockefeller’s. Yes, I said Rockefeller’s, the long deceased Rockefeller’s (a fact which I still find ridiculous). I realize I am dating myself, but for my benefit, we’ll move past that.

Ok. Rockefeller’s. Back door. January. Bitterly cold.

Knock, knock.

“God, I feel like an idiot,” I said.

“I hear ya,” Dawn replied. “But it’s free.”

I shut up. We were just out of college. And poor. Swallowing pride was not a foreign concept.

Creak! (It was a heavy, wooden door)

A wavy, long-haired head pokes out. He says nothing. My face is turning red…and not from the bitter, biting wind. I’m embarrassed. Like “watching the girl on the Bachelor singing opera” embarrassed. I want to leave.

“’Hefty’ said we could come around the back,” Dawn squeaks. My stomach is turning. And not from the four previously ingested Bud Lights.

The wavy-haired boy looks us over for what seems like hours. Then he smiles (a bit more at Dawn), and opens the door for us to pass through.

Sidenote: Dawn will end up briefly dating this young man. A young man who is related to a member of the band. This will not be our last free Ian Moore show.

We are ushered through a dank hallway to a row of seats on the side of the stage. The band is tuning up, running through their last sound check. All members are present, except the front man. There’s a lot of long hair. Pretty long hair. Dawn is singing their praises in my ear, so much so that I’m concerned the build-up will leave me sorely disappointed. I head to the bar to pick up a couple of cold ones. My back is turned to the stage as a dull, and then deafening roar passes through the crowd. It’s clear something is happening. I turn back toward the stage as the man of the hour positions himself onto an awaiting stool, center stage. The crowd’s response has now reached a fevered pitch. This is my first glimpse of Ian Moore. He is young and lean with long, straight hair. I think he might be tall, but it’s hard to tell. He’s sitting on the stool. It appears he has a broken leg, or ankle…who knows. Although I am intrigued by the crowd’s response and the certain aura surrounding this man with the mischievous half smile, I’m again concerned. How good of a show can a guy with a broken limb put on? An hour later, my concerns have melted into the shoddy floor boards of Rockefeller’s. My head is swimming with the images I’ve just seen and the sounds I’ve taken in. The stool onstage lay on its side, a victim of the explosion of music it just “sat” through. I’m shocked that Bukka Allen’s old keyboard isn’t also toppled over. His passionate pounding of it had it reeling back and forth throughout the show. I am in awe. I look at Dawn.

“I told ya,” she says with a smile.

“Holy Shit.”

“Don’t ever doubt me again.”

“I won’t.” And I didn’t. At least not when it came to music.

Throughout the years, I’ve attended many Ian Moore shows. If I’m aware of it and don’t have pressing, previous plans, I’m there. While living in New York City, Dawn and I heard Ian was coming to town, solo. We went of course, and were shocked by the meager crowd. But he won them over and we got to drink in a little piece of home.

For my fellow fans out there, this glowing review is no shock. Throughout the years, Ian’s music has changed, evolved and surprised. That original band and its hard bluesy rock is long since history. Ian has worked solo, brought in other talented musicians and toured endlessly. He has moved from his hometown of Austin (to Seattle) and started a family. But through it all, he has remained steadfast to his music, stayed true to himself and his evolving style, and cast aside opportunities that would have afforded him fame, but compromised his soul.

A couple of months ago, I attended my first Ian Moore show in quite some time – at the Continental Club. He was with a full band and rockin’ out some new music I hadn’t yet heard. Look, I’m never disappointed when I see this guy, but that particular show was unbelievable. To this untrained ear, it appears Ian’s music has now fully encapsulated the best of what he’s shown us over the past decade or more. It’s guitar-driven, soulful, sometimes pretty and sometimes sweat-slappin’ in your face great. The new album is slotted for a spring release, and I, for one, CAN’T WAIT.

Hints, Tips, and A Call to Arms:

- Soon after Ian’s Continental Club show, he took the time to answer a few questions for the fans of The Loop Scoop. Click here to read that interview in full.

- GO SEE IAN on Saturday at the Mucky Duck (2425 Norfolk). It is his last acoustic duo with the uber-talented trumpet and piano-playing Kullen Fuchs. You do not want to miss this. There are two shows – one at 7:30 and one at 9:00. Tickets are $20.

Nikki writes The Anomalous Life. Keep up with her ever-exciting adventures. And tell her how much you love seeing her on The Loop Scoop in the comments.

— Nikki


Heidi — Wednesday, January 20, 2010 11:19 am

Nice one, Nikki!!
Keep on writing!!

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