A new music venue, The Merry Widow, is coming to 51 S. Conception St. in LoDa. Its Facebook page (facebook.com/themerrywidowAL) revealed it will open soon, with tickets already on sale for six shows beginning in October featuring such artists as The Pine Hill Haints, The Lost Bayou Ramblers, Yonatan Gat, Brooks Whelan and James McMurtry.
This is the same address that the Mobile Planning Commission denied an application for an increased occupancy load in August. The applicant, Ryan Johnson, was seeking an occupancy of 150 at a building rated for no more than 100. Several neighboring residents expressed concerns about noise and potential clientele. We’ll be interested to see how it shakes out.
Visit The Merry Widow website (www.themerrywidow.net) for more information.
Justin Townes Earle charms Oakleigh again
Justin Townes Earle charmed the crowd with two evenings of acoustic pleasantries in the intimate confines of Callaghan’s last week. Earle remained a consummate crowd pleaser with a live show consisting of his latest work, crowd favorites and at least one off-beat cover. Earle strummed through songs such as “Call Ya Mamma,” “Harlem River Blues” and “Mama’s Eyes.”
The singer-songwriter conjured the deep blues with a glorious performance of “My Starter Won’t Start (Bad Gasoline).” Earle also entertained the crowd with “They Killed John Henry,” which was, as always, one of the most memorable songs of the night. As Thursday night’s show came to an end, Earle surprised the crowd with a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” which he made his own through skillful guitar work.
Earle’s casual interaction with the audience is always one of the most unique aspects of his occasional shows at Callaghan’s. His bond with the crowd is not just the typical stage banter required at live performances — from his jabs at Jack White to insights into his personal life, Earle will be the first to tell you he has no filters. Because of his popularity, the Azalea City is always left with one question: Will this be the last time Earle performs at Callaghan’s? Time will tell.
GWAR’s metallic satire
GWAR’s invasion of LoDa was highly successful. Soul Kitchen made preparations for the arrival of the “Scumdogs of the Universe” by covering the front half of the main room in plastic tarp. Opening bands Broken Paradym, Battlecross and Butcher Babies did an excellent job of whipping the crowd into a frenzy and getting the collective adrenaline pumping before GWAR took the stage. This being GWAR’s 30th anniversary tour, many were excited to see what madness the band had planned.
Actually, madness is an understatement. GWAR’s set would better be described as a putrid mass of galactic chaos. As the band rolled through songs such as “Meat Sandwich” and “Let Us Slay,” the crowd was showered with extraterrestrial bodily fluids of red, green and blue. GWAR decided to battle the Internet that evening. The band satirically slaughtered Internet media ranging from Facebook to Tinder then took aim at Fox News, which they referred to as “Fux News.” A news anchor effigy reminiscent of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson was brought onstage and decapitated by a terrorist, who was beheaded himself. The result was a shower of blood on the audience. Ultimately, GWAR proved themselves masters of metallic satire, and the crowd loved them for it.