Darkness heightens the senses.
At both Stache’s and Little Brother’s, we lit the stage and bar and allowed the audience to sink into the silent black nether regions. Besides, the furniture was kinda shabby and the Stache’s carpeting is best left forgotten.
One night of music at Stache’s was darker than any other.
Tex-Mex chanteuse Tish Hinojosa had played Stache’s a number of times over the years. Her warmth and charm, the beauty of her voice and the soulful humanity of her politically conscious lyrics made her a joy to both work with and watch.
Her last Stache’s gig came as I was actively looking for a new location. (And for those who don’t know or remember, Humpty Dumpty didn’t jump, he was pushed. )
After a short set, all of the power in the building shut down, leaving the place pitch black. A quick trip outside confirmed that we weren’t alone. The whole block was without juice.
But the timing was magically fortunate — the trio was in between tunes, and had actually planned to stroll the club and play a completely unplugged segment of the show when the lights went out. The crowd stayed calm and joked about my not paying the power bills as my employees dug out candles. The beer was already cold and we had lots of ice on hand. As they waltzed into the crowd wielding an acoustic guitar, bass and accordion, the show went on as though the power outage had been scripted.
The three musicians promenaded and polka-ed through the aisles, serenading the audience members, who acted as the light crew with flashlights and lighters. They stopped for a while near the pool tables, then at the short wall that separated the bar from the club. Just as they got back to the stage, yeah, you got it, the power returned. The stage was again bright, the sound system, A.C. and the cash registers all returned on cue.
Tish ordered three cervezas for the band and they finished their performance. On almost any other night at the club, that long of a power outage might have cleared the room. I can’t imagine Jesus Lizard or Laughing Hyenas pulling that off.
Side note: Also in the audience that night was the elderly couple that owned the former public library building that would soon house Little Brother’s. I was their tenant for three years before they sold the building to the Simon Legree who brought the place to its end.