Carmen the Cactus/The Josh Harty Band; July 12, 2009; The Frequency
The Sunday night Frequency show has been somewhat of a dead zone in the club’s schedule. It has to be a pretty special band to lure a crowd out at the end of a weekend for what is sure to be a late show. It certainly isn’t the situation you want to come into as a touring band, especially one that just endured the mind-numbing drive from Fargo and saw their drive time lengthened by four hours due to a fuel truck spill on the Interstate in the Twin Cities. They were originally slated to play second, but were pushed back to last when it became obvious they weren’t going to make it. For that effort they played to a crowd so small that at one point they went around the room and had everyone introduce themselves. At least they were able to make light of having only four people in the audience, and one of them was the sound guy.
It wasn’t exactly my thing, but there was no way I was could leave with the crowd that small and when even the guy who invited them to play spent most of their set in the other room. They had their moments, and the end of the set was certainly more enjoyable as they trimmed down the jammy tunes that dominated the first half of the set. I’ll admit I was suspicious from the moment they took the stage in shorts with a six string bass. “Are they a jam band?” I questioned Blake Thomas as they started playing. “I don’t think so,” he replied, though as the first song stretched close to the ten minute mark, he amended his answer. “Maybe they are a jam band,” he admitted. As is usually the case, they were all great musicians, and probably really nice guys.
Of course the main reason I had come was to see Blake play with the Josh Harty Band, a bit of a misrepresentation since Blake actually sings half or more of the songs. Featuring the same line-up as the Classic Tawnies, they play their original songs while Chris Sasman keeps rhythm and Louka Patenaude plays sweet solos on his somewhat ridiculous looking, but amazing sounding Ibanez guitar. I see Blake play these songs all the time, usually once a week, but it is always nice to hear them get the band treatment. I’m glad I went, as much to hear them as to give a little support to a band that really needed it after a bad day. Hopefully their next visit to Madison will go a little smoother.
The Josh Harty Band
Carmen the Cactus