I woke up on Saturday morning, made some coffee, and checked in on the internet. One of the first things I saw was an Instagram post from Darren Hanlon saying he’d left New York City at 3:00 a.m. on a bus headed for Fort Wayne, Indiana. He was still on that bus while I was lounging about in my front room with a fresh cup of coffee. That decided it. If Darren Hanlon was willing to spend 15 hours on a bus to Fort Wayne, then I could drive the seven hours (round-trip) to see his show there.
I planned my route, packed a bag, and drove to Fort Wayne, Indiana.
I got to the B-Side at One Lucky Guitar at around 5:00. As far as I can tell, the B-Side doubles as the conference room for a design firm called One Lucky Guitar. That’s why the name is such a mouthful. The conference room angle makes it sound like a makeshift venue, but it was actually a very nice place. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a music club that featured my choice of five clean bathrooms. They also had free cupcakes…and a velvet Bruce Springsteen painting. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I had three hours to explore Fort Wayne before the doors opened at 8:00. I checked out a couple record stores and looked for a place to eat. The highlight of my explorations was seeing some girders.
I went back to the B-Side. I took a picture of the “marquee”.
Then I went in and saw that the people running things had more than made up for their marquee with their concert poster. The poster shows why it’s a good idea to combine a design firm with a music venue. That’s got to be one of my favorite concert posters ever. I especially like the cat down at the bottom left and how her tail hangs over onto the white.
I found a good seat right up front and waited for Darren to come down from the One Lucky Guitar workspace into the conference room.
I didn’t have to wait long. Darren came on down, picked up his acoustic guitar, and began playing “Title Fight: Heart v Mind”. That’s got to be one of his oldest songs, so it was a nice surprise to hear it. I’d never heard him play it live before. There were a few other songs–both old and recent–that were new to me in a concert setting. I guess I’ll just go ahead and share the setlist.
Main set: – Title Fight: Heart v Mind/Electric Skeleton/Folk Insomnia/I Waited For the 17/Butterfly Bones/Scenes From a Separation/Punk’s Not Dead/Home/All These Things/Fear of the Civil War/The Chattanooga Shoot Shoot
Encore: – When You Go/Elbows
Now that I count them, I see Darren only played 13 songs. That doesn’t sound like many at all, but he also told stories about free pie, What About Bob?, a punk rock house, the new album, playing for school kids, Spooner Oldham’s question, scary Australian movies, etc., and his songs–like this poorly-crafted sentence–tend to have a lot of words in them. Some of the songs like “I Waited For the 17” and “The Chattanooga Shoot Shoot” are quite long. Those two were both highlights for me. I also enjoyed “Scenes From a Separation” and getting to hear a version of “Fear of the Civil War” without the saxophone bit.
The low points of the evening were all audience-related. There was a loud, boorish woman in the back who interrupted Darren’s stories and mocked his accent, and a dude up front who thought his outdoor whistle was an indoor one. I probably wouldn’t have been bothered by the whistler if I hadn’t caught his wife recording me with her cell phone before the show. Whistling is generally a happy thing and should be encouraged.
I bought a poster after the concert and had Darren sign it for me. It looks like he signed his name “Darn Hanlon”. I got a kick out of that. I didn’t get a chance to really talk to him as the whistler and his wife were bogarting the talent. I ate a free cupcake and drove on home. I got back at a little after 1:30 a.m. It was a good trip.