Ha Ha Tonka (opening for Robert Randolph & the Family Band); October 13, 2011; Barrymore Theater
When I booked my trip out east I originally thought I would be able to do five shows with the band and then head home while they headed south for a series of dates with Jill Andrews. Well, I didn't get to stay as long as I wanted, but they didn't head south either. Instead I found myself at the merch table in the lobby of the Barrymore, a thousand capacity venue that is one of Madison's oldest theaters, just five days after I had left them in Columbus. The boys had given up the four shows with Andrews when Robert Randolph offered them the opening slot for four dates in the Midwest.
The crowd wasn't as big as it could have been, some blamed the Primus show also in town, but it was still pretty cool to see them on the big stage in a theater where I have seen so many great shows. I managed to duck into the theater for half their set, but was content to stay at the table during Randolph. It's not really my thing, so I was surprised to hear that HHT has played with them many times. Though it wasn't reflected in merch sales, the crowd did seem to dig them, and that certainly can't hurt the next time they are in town on their own.