Monday, July 05, 2010

The Bryan Lee Show and Skips Place Review......

Part II-

As promised, here's the 2nd half of my "YerUnk Gets out of the house and goes someplace" review.

I already gushed about what a great singer and player, Bryan Lee is in the post below so I'm gonna focus on the venue in this post.

I'll just get it out of the way right now so there's no confusion, Skips Party Place is a Damn Treasure. If you were thinking this was gonna be an impartial, journalistic type review .......... You'd be wrong.
I don't think I've ever encountered a place where everyone was so damn friendly. Management, Staff, Former Staff, Patrons. Everyone.

Being that it was gonna be a bit of a ride to get up there, I called a couple of days before the show to make sure there were no changes and that everything was still as scheduled. As I found out a couple of days later, I spoke with the owner. He assured me that Bryan Lee was still scheduled and seemed sort of pleasantly surprised that I was gonna be coming up from so far away.

Like I said in the previous post, riding 220 miles for no good reason isn't unreasonable for me. Riding that far to see a good Blues Player ain't even a sacrifice. Rain and cold would have made it kind of a sacrifice but no big deal.

I knew that things were gonna be alright when I walked in and saw the decor-

You can't swing a dead cat in that place without hitting some kind of musical instrument!

The walls are covered with cool old shit.

I took that as a good omen right off.

I arrived around 3-4pm or so and after getting a beer and looking around some, I asked the Barkeeper a series of questions like - "Is there an ATM anywhere close?" He pointed behind me and sure as hell, there was one I hadn't even seen right there . "You guys serve food?"- He pointed to the sign where the kitchen was!
OK. This was going real well so I asked him- "How much is it gonna cost to see the show later?" - He was having fun with me by this time and says "If you're here before 7pm it won't cost you anything." I must have had a dumber than usual look on my face, because he then said, "It's $5 bucks cover after 7pm."

There were 2 guys sitting at the bar just laughing along with this and right then I knew this was gonna be a good night.
Of those 2, one of them was the Doorman, Steve and the other was a former Barkeeper. Unfortunately, I missed his name. He took the time though to give me a bit of a tour of the place and pointed out some of the more interesting things I might have missed otherwise. There's so much shit hanging on the walls you can spend a lot of time looking around and still overlook some cool stuff.

I left and secured myself a room for the night at a cheap but clean motel. Nothing fancy but good enough for my cheapass self.

After getting that done and grabbing a bite to eat I headed back to Skips.
I made sure to get myself there early to stake out a good seat to see the show from. Unfortunately for Skip and Bryan Lee, that wasn't really necessary. The place never did fill up.
I was sorta surprised by that. Skips has great Blues every Wednesday night. Seemed like a damn shame that more people weren't taking advantage of this great venue and practically cost free opportunity to see great talent right there in NE Indiana.

Hell, even the beer was reasonably priced.

Around 7pm or so more staff started showing up to handle the show crowd.
That's when I got one of the biggest surprises of the night. The Waitress came walking in and I damn near had a case of the Vapors. She is the spitting image of my Wife 30 years ago! I mean it was like something out of the "Twilight Zone". I seriously thought I'd hit a portal to some kind of time warp or something.

It was very weird.
Cool, but weird.

She was extremely nice (and beautiful of course or I wouldn't have married her) and a very good Waitress, but I definitely had a bit of Cognitive Dissonance from the whole- "Wife 2.0" experience everytime I talked to her.
I briefly tried to tell her about the whole similarity thing, but I think she may have thought, "This Creepy Bastard is trying to hit on me" and I let it go. She didn't act like she figured me for some Creep
, but I could see how it could have crossed her mind.

Freaked me the hell out anyway.

The Boss came over and introduced himself and asked if I was the same guy he'd spoken with on the phone. He insisted that I let him take my Motorcycle helmet so he could stash it behind the bar. Asked me if there was anything I needed and seemed genuinely pleased that I had made it up to the show.
Nice guy. Provided some beers on the house and made sure I had everything I needed.

Not the kind of service one normally sees. Especially, given to a stranger. Says a lot about the man. But I saw that same attitude from everyone who worked there.

Skip, must have told Byran Lee's wife about the crazy guy who rode 220 miles to see Bryan play as she gave me an autographed copy of the CD that they were selling! I was planning on buying one and told her so, but she insisted I get one.

That was very cool and very nice of them. But I got the impression right away, that
both Mr and Mrs Lee are just genuine nice folks.

Some serious Blues fans frequent, Skips and damn if I wouldn't be there regularly if I lived closer.

This big dude named, Bear, who is a damn good photographer, gave me a couple nice pictures of Bryan Lee that he'd taken at one of the previous shows at Skips. Nice! I took my camera with me and never even took a single picture. The lightning wasn't enough for that cheap piece of shit camera of mine so I'm thankful for, The Bear's pictures.

This Guy was sitting with Bear and his lovely wife through the show and was another nice fella to enjoy a show with.

So all in all, I got nothing but good things to say about Skips. If you're able to, get over there some Wednesday evening and check it out and hear some Blues while you're at it.

Here's a cool promo video of Bryan Lee-


Hell, here's another good one for ya-


OK, that's my story on Skips in Angola, Indiana.
Great place.
Great People.
Great Bands.
No bad seats and the Acoustics are good.

Oh yeah, and you can see what Queen Buffness looked like when I first met her.
That's worth the trip right there.

Gratuitous Picture for a Monday Night-
Another interior shot from Skips
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