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"Be Hear" at SUMMIT PUB
For average Joes & Jills, a weekend nite out at an old-fashioned beer joint like the Summit Pub in Puyallup is the cat's meow... since I gave up on the swilling of suds many years ago, I don't hit such places very often these days - unless, of course, one of my favorite musical groups (like Cara Clarke's "Be Hear") is performing! I arrived a bit early (about 7:45... the band wasn't slated to start until 'round 9:00pm)... the word for this fine little slice of home is "quaint".... no dark-lit corners for jazz hounds to hide in here... bar tables right down the middle, with pool tables just inside the door - if you don't like socializing with folks, don't go to the Summit, 'coz you won't have a lot of choice... it's intended that way, I'm sure. The 2 main tables in front of the stage were labeled (something like) "Viagra table" & "Wanderer's table" (that's not exactly right, but I did get a kick out of the name signs for the tables). Waitresses were very friendly (especially compared to some of those in certain downtown bars in Olympia) & accomodating... free coke refill, a killer plate of nachos with jalapenos that just never quit, & if I'd had beer drinking in mind, I'd have had a grand old time (& probably a couple of DUI's afterwards). Somehow, I didn't feel like my "smooth jazz dude" long coat image fit the aura, but nobody made any big deal over it.
The drummer (Kevin Christensen) is already at a table chatting with the keyboardist (Jeff Wallace) when I get there & mark my spot & bassist Steve Bartlett (& his wife Jan) soon roll in (Kevin & Steve are pictured at left (from an earlier gig at the Summit Pub)... soon after, Stefan Aguon - lead guitarist & composer for "Be Hear" - stops by on his way in to setup (that's him in the pic on the right)... he hasn't played here before, so we talk a bit about the differences between their normal playspace (another favorite of mine, the "Blue Bottle Cafe") and here. Significant, but even though it's not the same aura, both are friendly! I talk a bit more with Kevin, too, & find out that he's been playing this bar for close to 15 years, does some drum workshops here and also is the owner of the "Puyallup Drum School"... cool, & a very personable guy, to be sure!
Cara rolls in just before startup time (just a couple minutes before 9) and has little time for a whole lot of chat... got to get up to the stage & get her soundcheck, over to the bar for a lil' glass of wine (she DIGS 'dat wine) & other setup stuff in general. The guitars, drums & keyboardist lead off with one of my favorite tracks from the group, "Goin' Fishin", with Steve singing lead & just POPPIN' that ol' bass... if I didn't already know him as Steve, I'd probably think I was listening to Johnny Guitar Watson or someone like that. He's definitely got that PHUNKY bass sound down & will have a bunch o' folks up struttin' on the dance floor (that's one thing really nice about places like the "Summit Pub", too - there's space aplenty for dancers, & after a couple of pitchers, I've no doubt it gets pretty jammed up! Cara makes her first song "Tell Me Somthing Good"... takes just a moment, but after only a few bars, she's POWER singing, I mean RAWK'in' the joint. Some of the folks give her hand after she closes that one down - which means she's got their attention. She just ROLLS with that SOUL, people... if you ever get a chance to watch Cara with this group - don't miss your chance!
When they roll into another standard for the group (& one I think will be on their upcoming CD), "Made Your Move Too Soon", they really have the crowd's attention. Cara told me she wasn't sure the band "did all that good" on this gig, but I'm telling you - any group who can hold the attention of footballers & Saturday night boozers has a SOLID going for them... the addition of Kevin on drums to the "Be Hear" lineup has changed the dynamic quite a bit, & what I first heard in their little trio startup in Yelm is rapidly coming to be something YOU will want to hear... so get up off your duff & - BE HEAR!
Till next time...,
p.s. - our thanks to Jan for all the pics!
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