Excitement and excellence on Jan. 28, 2017 at West Hollywood's Station House (onetime site of the 1960s Sunset Strip's famed Old World Restaurant, beloved of long-hairs unwelcome at any other eatery than Canter's and Ben Franks in those prejudiced days,): The Blessings in full Stones-y cry with singers Jeremy White (also on guitar and harmonica) and Lavone Barnett-Seetal (also on percussion,) lead guitarist Mike Gavigan, bassist Lights Out Levine, drummer Jason Upright and keyboardist Jeffrey Howell.
The Blessings often have been described to others as Exile on Main Street for their sophisticated, catchy C&W/blues-infused songwriting and similar Exile instrumentation arrangements and swagger, but with a Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream-type on vocals accoutred as Gram Parsons were he living in old timey Deadwood, S.D. 'Totally works, and hugely popular with all audiences.
Other bands on the bill were The Downbeats; The Tearaways with predictably impressive drumming from Rock and Roll Hall of famer, Clem Burke of Blondie; and
Joe Normal and The Anytown'rs.
The Blessings performed four new songs, past cd releases' favorite fare plus a bringing down the house cover of David Bowie's "Diamond Dogs" (debuted earlier at the Bowie tribute by FOXES magazine, see LINK, and visibly enjoyed by Mr. Burke this night) with finally enough cowbell courtesy of Lavonne. Many brand new fans forever were converted according to much personally overheard buzz. Reporting the news-wise, there was, however, An Incident. (Quoth the drummer of The Blessings to me, "You turn up at all the weird gigs, dontcha?")
One of the bands played seventeen songs in a row without any affectation that there were encores, about one hour longer than the time always allotted to this venue's bands. Possibly because no club manager in this multi-story venue was present at the time, overkill unfortunately blunted an otherwise nicely harmony-sung set. At long last right when the Blessings' crew were supposed to be setting up, one of the first aforementioned band's members dallied quite a while talking to chums without striking this person's own complex instrument set up.
When a Blessing politely asked this person at least to move same aside whist chatting so that another Blessing could set up in the only spot for this instrument's space requirements, the person in question blew a gasket. Everyone in the club, from other bands to audience members to yours truly in absolute proximity earshot will vouch for the veracity of this account of the person yelling why they allegedly wouldn't, "I have a gold record!! How many gold records do you have?"* plus spouting a few obscenities to all Blessings, and who may have shoved a concerned girlfriend hard.
I can't imagine how this someone had the gumption to do this to tough gal/professional Gospel Choir Director Lavonne who just stared at said tantrum with steely incredulity, but everyone present next to the small stage area can attest to same, and perhaps even documented it with phones and cameras. As the one-sided shouting accelerated in a traditional would-be fight circle enclosed by onlookers, finally the sound technician and other staff two storys below heard the fracas and escorted the alleged troublemakers out of the club entirely so that The Blessings could start their set. The word afterwards from the rest of the acts centered on a complete disgust with this over the top behavior by a fellow musician. Hey, it's hardly the substance-abuse excesses of the Hair Metal era any more in 2017! Who wouldn't even have the manners of a pig in this day and age?
sample set lists; below: a fracas
Blessings' guitarist Mike Gavigan relaxes with new fan, writer Terry Moreland Hendersen, after the former's girlfriend Heather is judged safe and sound again.
*yes, truth in advertising, the gold record was for a bubblegum hit way back in the 1970s...