j d malone at the blinkin’ lincoln in philadelphia pa

on sunday, during our only rehearsal for saturday night’s blinkin’ lincoln show, i told the guys in j.d. malones’ band that “i was prepared to be pleasantly surprised, but i wasn’t expecting to be…”. based on the manayunk factor, added to the list of people who were already clucking about the place up front, i had made up my mind that it was going to be the third installment in the Grape Street Series – the first being the grape itself, obviously…but when the grape decided it was too cool to be on grape street anymore and moved into bigger, decidedly less friendly and generally douchier quarters on main street, most of the regulars migrated to the dawson street pub…where many of them were already established as dual citizens.

now, though, there’s the blinkin’ lincoln – the aforementioned third installment.

tommy geddes and jim miades at the blinkin lincoln
tommy geddes and jim miades at the blinkin lincoln

the BL was opened by russ, a longtime dawson patron…i’m not sure what the specifics of the story are, but it’s up on ridge avenue – a respectable distance from the pretentious arrogance that permeates main street manayunk, but not so far removed from it as to avoid it entirely. it’s a new endeavor, so there are still a few loose ends (beer and soda being served from kegs and 2 liter bottles, things like that), but you can tell that russ’ heart is in the right place. russ has always had a genuine love for music, and that’s what’s driving this for him. he’s not in there because he sees a void in the philadelphia club scene (which there is) or because there’s an assload of money to be made in running a live music venue (which there isn’t).

the one modus operandi that the BL has embraced which i’d love to have seen go down with the grape ship is the way that shows are run.

and yeah, i realize that they didn’t invent it, nor were they the sole practitioners of the multiple band marathon bill…but enough already. by the time a band takes the stage at midnight, the night has gone on too long. but – then again, if you’re intent on running your nights that long, then chances are pretty good that you’re much more of a bar than a music room…no matter how hard you might try to pretend otherwise. the BL, like the grape, is/was a bar first and foremost. period. it’s a bar that loves music, but it’s a bar.

with tommy geddes at the bar
with tommy geddes at the bar

but – what’s a bar without a bartender? and the BL is blessed to have one of the best in my longtime buddy jake carlin, who will be the best reason to play the blinkin’ lincoln for as long as he’s there. jake is one of those guys who, whether he’s even aware of it or not, gives off such a great vibe that you’re just happy to be around him. he’s also a musician, so there’s opportunity for shop talk, and he’s a good match for russ on the enthusiasm scale. between the two of them, there’s a lot of passion for this place…and i can see why it’s contagious. my hope for them is that it actually materializes into something tangible over time.

the band took the stage at midnight or so…long after i’m already typically on the road home from a steel city show, or something of that endeavor – and it was well after 2 am when we left the club. the show itself was fun…for the band, anyway…i had someone at the edge of the stage after the first song asking me to turn up, and – well, that simply wasn’t going to happen. i was bummed that the room couldn’t hear the band the way the band heard themselves on stage, but if we were to start turning up on stage, it would’ve turned into mush, and no one would have benefitted from that. also, the soundman didn’t approach me once to ask me if i needed anything, if i had anything to go into the PA, nothing. so – no microphone on the amp, and no input for any of the acoustic stuff…which meant the dobro simply took up space all night, and i played the banjo through my guitar amp.

and, yes – it sounded lovely. 🙂

j d at the blinkin lincoln
j d at the blinkin lincoln

the thing i took away from the gig, above the comraderie and the musical experience, was that those axe commercials are apparently more grounded in reality that i would’ve ever thought. that whole bit about women’s behavior being altered by deodorant seems a little outlandish on the surface, but tom goss’s girlfriend shannon was very happy to see me when she walked in the room, and after she jumped on me when she spotted me, i was suddenly very happy to see her, too. later, i gave dani a hug and felt a strange snapping sensation against my chest and realized that i’d broken her bra when i put my arms around her.

now, i’ve heard of guys undressing women with their eyes, but i never would have thought it possible to actually pull that off with your mind. who woulda thought that your humble musician buddy tom was actually a jedi in training?

the force is strong with this one. 🙂

would i go back? sure. i wouldn’t make it a habit, but i wouldn’t mind going back sometime, under the right circumstances. they’re on the right track.

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