:::A Review By Matty Sullivan:::
There should have been a dance floor.
When bluegrass happens, the world becomes divided into two groups: the people playing and the people dancing. Anyone who falls outside of that is probably in the wrong place. The energy of the music demands involvement. In this part of the country, it’s almost instinctive.
When there’s no room to dance, however, the audience is left with little outlet for their energy. Clapping along is nice, if you can keep decent time. Whistling and shouting are also accepted. Remember, this music was originally played by people who spent most of their daylight hours in the depths of a coal mine, or digging monstrous holes for some god-forsaken cause; when they were done, they wanted to cut loose. It was a front-porch party, and everyone got involved. If you weren’t dancing, you were clapping along, and if you weren’t doing that, you were whistling and hollering. If you weren’t doing that, you were either asleep or dead.
So, as much as I love Wood & Wire, I’m afraid an elevated stage in a dimly lit room – especially one as classy as the Mucky Duck – is not the ideal setting for a bluegrass band.
The music was wonderful, of course. All four of these fellows play their instruments very well, and their harmonies are captivating. And they’ve got a great collection of songs, most of them original. But for some reason the audience, while appreciative, seemed more interested in conversation than the performance. The Mucky Duck is well-known as a great listening room, but tonight it had the feel of a slightly boisterous cocktail party. More often than not, the music was background noise.
Maybe a dance floor would have helped. I saw Wood & Wire recently at the Old Quarter in Galveston, and the place was hopping. I also saw Tony (guitar and vocals) and Dominic (upright bass) playing with some other musicians at a club in San Marcos, and they had everyone dancing there, as well. Sometimes you just have to make room.