Road Movie at Hotel Cafe

I saw my first live concert when I was in third grade – Elvis at the Jackson Coliseum. Even a third grader knows Elvis is hot. Then in junior high I would become a concert fiend – KISS, James Taylor, Gino Vanelli, Dan Fogelberg, Rush, Yes, Journey(twice), Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffet, Prince, REM, The Gogos, Willie Nelson, and more. Once I was able to drive (at fifteen in Mississippi), in addition to the big arenas, I would hit the road to see artists like B.B. play at a blues festival, Dr. John at a crawfish Festival, or risk my neck going to some old juke joint dive to see a great show band like the Houserockers with Big Daddy, or catch a bootleg performance of REM at W.C. Dons. I have danced on bales of hay, picnic tables and bars to some really awesome music, sometimes holding a cocktail and a cigarette. Post cigarette cessation, living in New Orleans, it was always a party – Tip’s, Bourbon Street, and House of Blues had just opened when I first moved there. I saw shows with the likes of Bob Dylan and N’dea Davenport of the Brand New Heavies, and the ever uplifting Gospel brunch, Dave Matthews at the Jazz Fest.

I love me some live music with a tight band and great songwriting. If there’s a groove – I’m groovin’ to it.

The first time I saw Sean Galuszka play was at a place called Anastasia’s Asylum, a now defunct cafe / coffee house in Santa Monica. It was all you would expect of a Santa Monica coffee house – surly condescending service, uncomfortable busted up Thonet chairs, and was small enough to create a plethora of awkward manuvers to achieve eating and sitting. I can still see Sean in the “loft” that was designated for performers, a sort of bird’s nest about twenty feet up so that you could sit with your neck craned in the awful chairs to watch the show.

But none of that mattered, because he rocked! He wrote his own songs and rearranged others’ works into terrific interpretations. He played his a** off, that guy. It’s been almost a decade since that show, and I’ve remained a big fan. Seeing him live reminds me of seeing REM in the 80’s – great songs that make you want to dance, make you want to get in your car and drive and sing along. He’s come a loooong way since the days of Anastasia – now he plays venerable Hollywood institutions like Hotel Cafe and the Foundation Room at House of Blues. It was there that I danced around with the Critter, still in the belly, and the kid already has rhythm at eleven months.

Check him out – Elvis wants you to…

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