The best thing about Blowout -- beyond the diverse music on display, of course -- is running into so many friends, some of whom you may only run into several times a year... and always at the Blowout Pre-Party. (The worst thing about Blowout is all the fucking cigarette smoke, especially for someone who's been suffering from chronic bronchitis off and on for a year now -- May 1st can't come soon enough -- but let's keep this on a positive note.)

Last night was no different in the "friends" department, often literally bumping into, among others, Eddie Baranek, Ty Stone (such a nice guy, who says the rumors are true; he's not moving to Nashville permanently.... but just commuting back and forth to finish up the album, which he thinks might finally be delivered this summer), the lovely Eve, Gary from Melodies & Memories, fthe eternally very young-looking Kyle McBee, ellow MT employees (all very happy!), Brett Callwood and the missus (Toni), and my longtime buddy, Bob Mulrooney, aka Bootsey X, who looked terrific for someone who's been through what he's been through these last several months, and seems to have come out of it all fairly unscathed. He's got one chemo session left before being discharged from the hospital (last night was one of his first ventures out) and then only one monthly session for the next several months -- which is all very good news. Made me very happy. Now that he's getting out of the hospital, Bob's going to be looking for a place to live -- so if anyone reading this has any ideas, suggestions, leads, etc., please feel free to contact me. There are also at least two benefits being planned for Bootsey over the next few months; we'll keep you posted...

OK, the music: Mirror Twin was sublime. A friend commented that Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (which wasn't at all what I expected) seemed a bit too karaoke-like for his tastes (and what's with all the cowboy hats last night?) but I thought the Beach Boys' cover was very cool (but then I would!). Sugarcoats definitely rocked the place (though I could've used just a tad more variation by the end of the set; even the Ramones had variation later on) but they were very good at what they do. Doop & the Inside Outlaws... well, y'all already know how I feel about them... one of the finest songsmiths in town... and, man, did Jim Diamond deliver during that guitar solo on Springsteen's "Prove It All Night" or what? (Strangely, the Inside Outlaws are one of the local bands that could get away wearing cowboy hats...but, thankfully, they didn't!) Caught one song of Bad Party, who were talking about how "cool" war is when I entered the Café (OK, then). Liked the "Blues Theme"-like fuzztone guitar riff on the song I saw them partially play; wasn't crazy about the strange vocals, though. And Cannon's debut performance was well worth the wait. Those dudes know how to play real rock 'n' roll the way it's supposed to sound but so often doesn't these days. Best Stones sound around these parts... well, maybe until the Sights (who are actually more Faces-like anyway) play tomorrow night.

One down, three to go...

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