In fact, it was just upstairs, where a nineties party was happening for free with a near empty dance floor. Did you hear me, ladies? EMPTY DANCE FLOOR. And here I thought the evening would go perfectly. The friendliest bouncer ever greeted us upon entry, as did the nicest bartender!
But one speed bump followed another that Friday evening; after the gaggle of giggles came an excessively long soundcheck from Hoots & Hellmouth, a band I had previously seen at a BBQ restaurant. Not sure if that was the venue's fault, or the band's, but you would forget they were an opener with such an in-depth check. That being said, H&H once again put on a hell of a show, albeit over the chatter of dozens of the disinterested. I'm chalking this talking up to Friday night crowd on H Street.
Then the venue randomly emptied, and Missouri-based band Ha Ha Tonka came on, bringing their brand of Ozark folk rock to a somewhat more attentive audience, although a highlight of the set--an acoustic version of Hangman--was drowned out by familiar chatter. Ha Ha Tonka fits the niche of what my ear's been tuned to lately: Americana with a rock edge in some parts, soul in the others, and a mandolin. And the standouts from the album also stood out live: The Humorist, Usual Suspects and Death of A Decade... if I have to pick a few.
Really, I woke up humming their songs the next morning, which for me is a mark of an all around good time. See the scorecard, and a fun youtube video, for more on the show and the band.